I have a magnet on my white board that has the proverb “just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly…”. I started to reflect today on the number of times we move into various phases throughout life… both personally and professionally
At birth, we are squeezed out of this warm, comfy womb into a world of bright lights, loud noises and everyone physically picking us up, hold us and taking us where we need to go. We are totally dependent on others to care for our every need. What a shock it must be to be a newborn and have all of our senses thrown into overdrive immediately upon entering the world outside of our mothers’ bodies. Now think about how “birthing” a new business creates much of the same shock to our senses. We have the phone ringing off the hook with vendors trying to sell us business products and services. We are dependent upon family and friends to help us take care of the business. We are thrown into a world that most of us have never experienced before…
As we become toddlers, we are becoming independent. Our little legs carry our curiosity from one place to the next as fast as possible. We learn how to talk and are then able to communicate our needs… we babble when we are happy… we complain when we are dissatisfied and we get frustrated when things don’t go our own way. We get downright mad when our parents try to control us because all we want to do is experience life with total abandon at this age and we have no clue when we are putting ourselves into harms way. Does that sound like any entrepreneurs you know? The very fact that some people become entrepreneurs is driven by their wish to not want anyone to hold them back or tell them what to do or how to do it. The problem with being so independent as an entrepreneur in business is that we may make decisions that could unintentionally put ourselves or our businesses in harm’s way.
Adolescence… hormones… emotions… When we are in our adolescence phase, we are being fueled by the heart vs. our heads. We sometimes make irrational decisions or hang out with people who may not be the most positive influence on us because we want to be accepted by our peers. We are being educated both formally and informally through teachers, coaches and peers. When we are looking at small business, the years between infancy and maturity is its’ adolescence time… the time for growth and knowledge building. It is the time when a business owner needs to surround him/herself with good people who can give the proper knowledge and skills to help the business grow into maturity.
In life, we keep moving along as we mature… we create partnerships through our relationships. We give birth to our children. We go to school to learn. We work in careers that hopefully bring satisfaction and financial stability to our lives. There are times in our lives where we decide to move down a different path… maybe we split up our partnerships… maybe we choose another life passion to fulfill.
Businesses go through much of these same transitions… businesses create partnerships when the entrepreneur realizes they need to be dependent on others to help them serve their customers. Businesses give birth to new products and/or services. Businesses are built to work to create financial stability and for most entrepreneurs… we want more than stability… we want our businesses to be wildly successful!
Unfortunately, many times small businesses die at an early age (40% by the end of the first year) because the leader (s) do not anticipate the stages the business will go through and how they need to nurture “the baby” until it reaches maturity. Business owners need to learn that they have to change personally and professionally in order to adapt to the changes the business will be moving through during its various development phases. I have a few thoughts to think about if you are an entrepreneur or looking to become one:
- Surround yourself with people smarter than you are. Find people who can help you drive your vision to reality. If you are not a financial wizard… find someone who is. If you cannot manage yourself out of a paper bag… find yourself a great manager who knows how to get things done.
- Keep educating yourself. Read books, attend conferences and take classes that will give you the knowledge and education you need to be a successful business owner.
- Do your due diligence when creating new partnerships. Make sure you are partnering with someone/some business that has the strengths, background and moral code that you are looking for to move your business in the right direction.
If you are interested in learning more about my Small Business Development Course, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit my website at http://www.patcoach.com. We will find a class day and time that will work for you and your business!
Yes, just when we think we are done… something changes and we must unfurl our wings and take flight!
Are you an entrepreneur/small business owner? What stage of life is your business currently in?