Yesterday I had an amazing blessing. To think that a young man about to turn 30 would come to my home office to ask for guidance was both humbling and scary. He is not your “average Joe.” No, he is charismatic, smart, driven, caring and searching. He, like many of us, reached the point where he was searching for deeper meaning in his business life; he was teetering on the moment when he was going to determine his true career path – corporate life or entrepreneur. He has all the potential to be an amazing entrepreneur and I know he will be.
As a Dad who works from home, I sometimes have the opportunity of my seven year old daughter, Faith, being at home while I am working. The other day she made an observation that hit me deep “Dad, you don’t smile as much when you’re working.” It got me thinking that evening – what would business be like through the eyes of a seven year old. I thought back over the past three years on situations I have dealt with as an entrepreneur that closely mirrored those that Faith has dealt with at school. I came to the following conclusions:
There Frank Lopo and I were at Einsteins over a bagel and orange juice having a fantastic business philosophy conversation when we reached a topic many entrepreneurs find difficult to discuss. Both Frank and I agreed, it’s one of the hardest pills to swallow as a business owner – letting go to move on.
We have worked with numerous non-profits over the years. One issue we see that the majority have in common is that they don’t operate like a business. Many times, the founders of the non-profit are what we call ‘technicians,’ folks with a fantastic skill set in a particular field; but, are not always business savvy.
I fail everyday. I fail to keep my cool and composure. I fail to stop and see the big picture. I fail to stop failing.
I’ve heard it said “failure is not an option,” “failure is for the weak,” “only the strong succeed,” etc. They are all wrong…to a point. One thing I have learned about failure, as an entrepreneur, is that if you aren’t failing, you aren’t working hard enough. If you are a person driven to succeed and place 120% and then another 120% into what you are passionate about, you will fail. Failure is part of the learning process, it’s part of being an entrepreneur. To stop working hard and striving for improvement is the true failure; but, there will be plenty of small failures along the way. So, to dispel the myth that failure is in total a horrible outcome, here are three lessons I have learned from failure.
I see daily discussions regarding scalable business models. A reoccurring point I see when the discussion of scalable business comes up is the immediacy of growth. I understand that growth is necessary, but there is one issue that seems to be missing from the scalability conversation – sustainability. It is important to remember that unadulterated growth without a sustainability model can cripple a business let alone possibly destroy a business.