from Forbes.com Zine 02 June 15 enhanced by Peter/CXO Wiz4biz
The best part of being an entrepreneur is: 1) having the independence to make your own decisions, 2) the flexibility for a better work / life balance, and 3) personal satisfaction from driving change. But nobody said it would be easy. The road to business success is filled with challenges & frustrations that most aspiring entrepreneurs never even imagined.
In my role as Advisor to Startups, I try to prepare them for the inevitable bumps in the road ahead, as well as to provide practical guidance on how to build & maintain the traction needed to survive & prosper. Of course, experiences & failures are the best teachers, but I find that learning from other people’s experiences is a much faster & less painful approach.
Best Books on Building a Business: 1) “Traction: Get a grip on your Business”, Gino Wickman, a similar experienced Business Consultant and author of “Entrepreneurial Operating System” – which outlines 5 common frustrations that we both hear from entrepreneurs, as follows:
1. You are the Boss, but you don’t have Control. You don’t have enough control over your time, investors, the market, or your startup. Instead of controlling the business, the business is controlling you. By definition, the world of startups today is one of rapidly changing unknowns, where the inputs you receive will often conflict. It’s very frustrating.
2. Everyone has their own Agenda. You continually get frustrated with your team members, customers, vendors, & partners. They all have their own objectives & priorities, and don’t seem to listen, understand you, or follow through with their actions. You only expected that kind of a challenge from your competitors.
3. Persistent Profit & Cash Flow shortages. Simply put, there’s usually never enough profit or cash. Even when orders are clearly on the upswing, you need more funding to cover Inventory & lagging Accounts Receivable. Then there are the Expenses you never could have anticipated, driving down margins.
4. Constantly bumping your head on the Growth Ceiling. No matter what you do, you can’t seem to break through and get to the next level. Your growth has stopped, and you feel frustrated & unsure what to do next. You never have the time & resources for International expansion, acquisitions, venture capital investors, or going public.
5. Conventional Strategies don’t seem to work for you. You have tried all the popular initiatives & quick-fix remedies, including social media, search engine optimization, & content marketing. None have worked for long, and as a result, your staff has become numb to new strategies. You are spinning your wheels, and need traction to move again.
Back to the Basics: My first answer to all these frustrations is to step back and focus on the basics. Every great business is made up of a core group of key components. Gino outlines 6 of these in his book as the “Entrepreneurial Operating System” [EOS] for success:
· Vision – Communicate a compelling image to everyone describing where you’re going, and how it’s going to get there.
· People – Surround yourself with great people. You can’t build great without help. It’s having the right people.
· Data – Define a handful of key metrics to free you from managing, egos, subjective issues, emotions, & intangibles.
· Issues – Constantly provide updates & direction on the challenges & obstacles that must be overcome.
· Process – These are key element of your business. Each must be documented clearly and refined regularly.
· Traction – Entrepreneurs gain traction by executing well, with focus, accountability, & discipline.
Conclusion: There is no magic here, and none of the 6 key components is rocket science. In my experience, entrepreneurs who are highly frustrated in their startup have overlooked or have dropped their attention to one of the 6 basic business components. Learn from the frustrations of other entrepreneurs, or you are doomed to relive their pain. Put your EOS in place, and you too can trade in your frustrations and join that select group who enjoy making their own decisions, achieve their work/life balance, & enjoy the personal satisfaction of their dreams.
Comments: Do you any from your Startup experiences?