When you started your company so many years ago, it probably seemed like it was going to be awesome. You see the “enviable” lives of entrepreneurs who build and sell multi-million dollar or even billion-dollar companies, repeatedly. They take vacations whenever they want to, have staff to do everything and “do what they love so they will never have to work a day in their lives.”
It was kind of like that with my older kids when they decided to move out…freedom to do what they wanted, when they wanted, etc., dominated their thinking.
In both cases reality struck one day. While the kids just moved back home (Another story. Oh, Lord. Pray for us!) and enjoy life (I don’t think they will ever leave!), as an entrepreneur, you had two choices: give up or get going.
The life of an entrepreneur is not only hard, at times it is difficult and perhaps one of the most challenging feats people will face. You find out that when you are on those vacations, there is a chance that you won’t be making any money and the problems that were there when you left may have multiplied while you were out!
One day, you may even find out that the business that you have spent so much time and energy building in order to sell has no value outside of your customers…because you are the business.
So the question is: how does an entrepreneur get to that million-billion-dollar-take-multiple-vacations-and-pay-the-grown-kids-to-go-away lifestyle? Or, perhaps, success has a different meaning or definition for you. In either case…how do you get there?
The short answer is: you have to plan for it. You need to look at what the “end zone” of your company is going to be, and you have to create a plan to get there. Very few people reach their goals by accident. No sports team has ever simply stumbled into their respective championships. So, it is reasonable to suggest that in order to reach your goals, you have to plan for them.
One of the problems a lot of entrepreneurs face (along with my kids) is figuring out what success looks like. So, if you don’t know if you are going, how do you know when you have arrived? You don’t. You end up stumbling along a very unfocused path and arriving nowhere very quickly, perhaps with the audacity to wonder why.
Another challenge entrepreneurs face is hanging out with other people in the same situation in hopes of finding answers to their problems and earning more business. Unless this group shares the same vision for their organizations, you are likely going to go nowhere. Sure, some people in the group may talk about how they’ve built their book of business through a particular group, but because it worked for them doesn’t necessarily mean it is going to work for you.
The answer to the long-term problem is to treat it like it is a long-term challenge that must be overcome. You’ve got to nail the vision that you have for your organization down – put it on paper, write it on the wall, tattoo it on your forehead, or whatever and build a plan to get there. You’ve got to be relentless. You have to reach for it every day. You’ve got to hunt for it like you are hunting for food, fight for it like you are trying to breath and crave it like you will simply die without it.
Look at anyone who is at the top of their game – be it an athlete or an actor, and I will show you that their path to getting where they are wasn’t handed to them. They had to work for it – never losing sight of their goal. It isn’t just talent or knowledge or experience. It is leveraging all of one’s assets to get to a single point.
Let us know: What motivates you? How will you build your company? What does the future look like? What obstacles are you facing and how will you overcome them?
As you ponder these thoughts…will you step up…or step out?
We look forward to hearing from you.
Rick Meekins is the Managing Consultant at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Our entrepreneurial multidisciplinary team works with clients to develop differentiating solutions and provide direction focused on lasting, strategic results. We exist to help our clients CREATE | DESIGN | BUILD extraordinary businesses.
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