Sep 4, 2014

Work On the Business, More than You Work In the Business

In his book, E-Myth, author Michael Gerber warns that most entrepreneurs get caught up in working in the business, rather than working on the business. 

There’s nothing wrong with working the 40-80 hours per week – so long as you’re working on building marketing channels, hiring and developing and mentoring your team, innovating and coming up with new products or services, or seeking additional working capital to grow.  All of these activities qualify as working on your business. 

But the sad reality is that most business owners work in their businesses and become a cog in the wheel, basically creating their own self-made prison. 

Hopefully you became a business owner because you valued freedom.  If you’re the company’s top salesperson, or the only one capable of fixing this or that, then in those moments you’re no longer an entrepreneur/business owner working on the business as an independent object.  You’ve become a technician or a manager working in the business. 

As you prepare to sell your business, you’ll want to be sure that you’re building the business, working on the business, and not just in it.  Sure there will be times when you need to roll up your sleeves, set an example, and scrub the toilets.  But the systems and the people working within those systems, need to be built and developed by you. 

Feb 12, 2014

Entrepreneurs: The Greatest Force for Good in the World

 "...people throw rocks at things that shine..."  -- Taylor Swift

Entrepreneurs are the greatest force for good in the world. 

Not the well-meaning politicians. 

Not the scientists or the artists. 

Nor the educators, athletes or celebrities.
And sure as all hell not the blood-sucking lawyers.

By definition, an entrepreneur is one who identifies unmet needs in the market, and then finds a way - typically against the odds of habit, naysayers and his own empty pockets - to forge ahead anyway to fulfill those needs. 

Being an entrepreneur is therefore the most selfless and self-sacrificing voyage one could endeavour upon. 

The stigma in society is just the opposite: namely that greed drives entrepreneurs. 

Entrepreneurs are therefore the target of much ridicule and protest by the masses of mediocre, day-dreaming, lottery-playing socialists.

Thank goodness for the few establishments that still embrace the mantra and mission of the entrepreneur.  Thank goodness for the few who hold up the entrepreneur as one worth emulating and learning from, rather than targeting him for his follies and missteps. 

It's an unfortunate truth that being in the limelight of success after coming through the hard-fought, lonely, less-traveled road of the entrepreneur makes one a more attractive target for attackers and critics.

Let us celebrate the spirit and the role of the entrepreneur.

Jan 10, 2014

My Favorite Books from 2013's Readings

My recommended reading list from my 2013 reads:

The Fountainhead, by Ayn Rand

Fiction.  This book is woven with Rand's philosophy that the human spirit and the power of the one - the individual - eventually triumphs over the jealous masses and faceless institutions.  Written half a century ago, it's still a timeless classic with a message that shows that the independent mind - the one who's truly made up his mind and set his course, cannot be deterred in spite of the mindless masses of jealous souls who look up with awe and greed.  The book's message is more relevant now than ever. 

The Slight Edge, by Jeff Olsen

Nonfiction.  A personal development book with the philosophical mind-set to "start with a penny" in every aspect of life.  Small, daily disciplines -- applied consistently -- win out over the big leaps every time.  Inch by inch, life is a cinch, yard by yard is very hard.  A reminder to show up, be consistent, be patient, measure your progress, and to let compounding do its magic over a long period of time.  

Lonesome Dove, by Larry McMurtry

Fiction.  A 1985 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel (also a wonderful mini-series staring Tommy Lee Jones and Robert Duvall).  The book explores the characters Captain Call and Gus McCray and their difficult journey herding cattle from Texas to Montana during the 1800's.  The two cowboys are complete contrasts, yet the best of friends.  McCray is lighthearted, a wrangler and a joker who tends to enjoy life no matter how difficult the circumstances may be.  Captain Call is a workaholic plowhorse with an uncanny ability to persevere and press forward with a single focus.  I love the characters in this book - which explores the heartache and challenges of the early "entrepreneurial" cowboys of the young America.

How Will You Measure Your Life?  By Clayton Christensen

Nonfiction.  I checked this one out after hearing Christensen give a lecture on the topic during a TED talk.  The Harvard Professor and author of bestselling "Innovator's Dilemma" explores the reasons why those who've so often found "success" as defined by the world's standards, end up miserable after several years or decades.  Filled with personal examples and analogies, Christensen gives us some clues as to what's really important and how we might consider re-framing and measuring our life in the context of the things that really matter.

The Cure for the Common Life: Living in your sweet spot, By Max Lucado

Nonfiction.  Not sure about the dogs on the couch cover, but a good read nonetheless.  Using a gospel perspective with references to the Scriptures, Max shows the reader how to live the life God meant for each of us to live.  

The Last Lecture, By Randy Pausch

Nonfiction.  This book is based upon Professor Pausch's last lecture that he gave to students before he was lost to cancer.  There are many gems of wisdom in each of his various chapters that help us to get a glimpse into the fragility of life and the things that really matter in this world.

Loosing My Virginity, By Richard Branson

Nonfiction.  This autobiography by Branson takes us on an entrepreneurial adventure.  I really enjoyed learning more about the way this multi-billionaire, serial-entrepreneur developed his daredevil philosophy to try everything at least once.  Funny and crazy stories of a guy who truly lives life on the edge.