The Entrepreneur’s Dilemma

Posted by Tom LarsenSep 19, 2013 Marketing, Operations, Organization, Planning 0 Comment

To be an entrepreneur, have enough conviction to go through the tedious setup steps, create promotional materials or products, bank accounts, email accounts, etc, is to wear many, many hats. Administrative, financial planner, designer, marketer, sales person and plenty of others. That effort and capability develops a certain understandable confidence that the entrepreneur can do it all. If not all, then at least most.

But, in reality, there are only 24 hours in a day. No one can answer phones, send emails, work with new vendors, handle shipping, move sales forward, develop marketing calendars or invoicing or whatever else is going on, all at the same time. But, having started one’s own business, it makes perfect sense that the founder can do everything. The real question is should they do everything?

The founder’s role is a unique one. It took vision, intestinal fortitude and likely perseverance to create the inertia required to get out of the blocks. Now, with the business starting to run, many entrepreneurs cave to the “somebody has to do it” approach and they try to do everything themselves. At that decision (or non-decision), the momentum moving forward stops and becomes reversed. Why? Because all the things that go into running the day-to-day activities of a business are the result of yesterday’s efforts. They don’t require vision, intestinal fortitude or perseverance. They typically require a completely different skillset.

For the business to thrive, the momentum can’t stop when the startup gets started up. Many entrepreneurs get caught in this trap of capability. Instead of tasking out the day-to-day activity (it would take too long to train someone), they take on a new role – small business operator.

The small business operator becomes a boutique or artisanal business in no time flat and the entrepreneur can’t figure out what happened. They’ve been working 12-hour days, 6 or 7 days a week for months and the business isn’t really growing. What’s wrong?

The successful entrepreneur with a growing business puts her focus on tomorrow. Developing that new widget. Creating that new marketing campaign. Extending the sales reach of the enterprise. That’s the founder’s role. Focus on tomorrow and let others handle today.

Which way are you headed – small business operator or growth business visionary? It’s a choice you may not have realized you have.

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