A wise man once told me this:
Life as a business owner is like walking up a escalator that is going down. To just stay in the same place you need to have momentum and energy, sometimes you slip down, other times you find yourself making a few steps of progress towards the top, but no matter how your business grows and changes you usually find yourself back in the same place eventually.
Every Entrepreneur / Business Owner has days when they get tired, want to give up and go back to working in a day job for a stable living. I know many who have done exactly that. These people claim to be happier but you can see the look of defeat in their eyes too – the opportunity was there the lifestyle just got the better of them.
Equally the web is littered with stories of why everyone should give up their day jobs and become an Entrepreneur / Business Owner – claims of shorter working weeks, freedom from “the man” (whoever that is), be your own boss bull, take holidays whenever you like and access to outlandish wads of cash to name a few of the claims!
For some people becoming what is essentially an independent contractor meets their goals. This blog isn’t for you. It’s for those of us who are employers, with growth businesses, customer and stakeholder demands, complex accounting structures, overhead staff and Big Hairy Aspirational Goals, it’s for founders who have started a journey in that direction too. This blog is for those of us on the escalator, who are slogging it out for a BHAG we can see and taste.
Business Owners are busy people
When Shane and I started out we struggled to find other business owners to network with or who were prepared to share war stories. When we hit the Deloitte Fast 50 Shane worked the room of 49 other high growth companies and asked everyone he met if they had ever paid payroll on their credit card when they started out – most laughed and said yes. It was then, year 3, we finally knew we weren’t alone.
Since then we have made a point of talking to anyone who is looking for help, answer their questions, provide our war stories and share our positive experiences. Reality is Business Owners are really busy people, we are all head down focused on our own companies, our own BHAGs. It’s hard to get well grounded help from those who have started, grown and exited companies, it’s harder to get honest advice and actionable insights. I wish instead of the obsession with celebrating startups before they have $1 of revenue, we also celebrated standups and we talked more about failure.
This blog is for busy business owners no matter where you are in your businesses lifecycle. My new plan is to post weekly, 2016 has been a tad disastrous for me so far (Shit happens) so I’m starting this series later than planned. The form may be in terms of our lessons learned or in terms of advice I have from my various advisory and governance roles or just a rant or rave about a thing that might help you along the way. Here are my first two:
Lesson 1: Success isn’t Permanent
- So Celebrate the crap out of it, quickly and with panache
- Ring a bell when you sell – or whatever your equivalent is to get that dopamine injection
- Thank your team, they all played a part no matter how small
- Be humble, Success isn’t Permanent
Lesson 2: Failure isn’t Fatal
- Failure Sucks! acknowledging failure is really really hard to do
- Deconstruct, unpick and look hard for the Lessons to learn
- Get over it! or Get Help! dwelling on failure can be disastrous
- There is always a way forward, it might not be nice, look at ALL the options
We are a funny breed Entrepreneurs, all different and taken many paths to get to this life. There is something that drives us to do it though, then drives us to carry on, then drives us to push through. For some there is a comfortable life, for others an awesome exit but for many it continues to be hard slog. We learn self reflection in this life. Happy Sharing. Vic.
Bronnie, our Pilot / Event Manager (wish we could afford for her to fly us somewhere) introduced me to www.canva.com – this is my first go, please don’t laugh too much: