I’ve often struggled with the notion of what should and shouldn’t be mandatory when training entrepreneurs. I’ve decided that nothing should be mandatory. If you have to make someone do something, they’re not really ready to be their own boss and run their own enterprise. Why? Because in business, when you’re the entrepreneur, no one is going to stand over your shoulder and make you do things. If a person can’t motivate themselves, they’re not ready.
Being an entrepreneur is like running a marathon. It is a challenging endeavor which requires commitment, focus and motivation. And yet, like a marathon, it’s a totally voluntary endeavor. No one can make you run a marathon – no one can make you become an entrepreneur. If you asked a marathon runner if their training regimen were ‘mandatory’, they’d likely look at you like you were a fool. ‘Mandatory? No. 100% necessary – absolutely.’ There’s nothing mandatory about a proper marathon training regime. You could easily show up for a marathon one hundred pounds overweight, never having run a day in your life, and wearing high heels. It’s your choice. But one choice will lead to success (completing the marathon) and the other failure (being forever known as the guy who had a heart attack while wearing high heels at the marathon).
When training would-be entrepreneurs, design your program with this notion in mind. Self-motivation is crucial. It’s a hard thing to train and coach people on. It’s certainly not impossible, but the first time someone asks if something is mandatory, give them the marathon speech; the second time they ask show them where the door is and wish them well somewhere else.
This week I was a Curbside Consultant at the Launch of FastTrac to the Future, an entrepreneur development collaboration between TechTown, The Kauffman Foundation and the New Economy Initiative. Bizdom has received grants from the New Economy Initiative and Kauffman, so we’re tangentially part of this.
The final event of the day was a panel on ‘Entrepreneurial War Stories’. It featured the inimitable Patrick McInnis (CEO of FatHead), Jane Sydlowski (AMI Strategies)and Randal Charlton (former CEO of Asterand). The stories were great, as were the lessons. At the end, the moderator asked each of the three for a couple of tips for entrepreneurs to survive and succeed as entrepreneurs.
- Control your control freak
- relinquish control
- don’t relinquish accountability
- Culture matters
- you create a motivated workforce when you focus on people and help them achieve their dreams
- Money will be tight
- but get going on the least amount of money you can
- Leverage existing resources
- there’s much more in place around you than you realize
- Consider ‘No’ a ‘Yes’
- you’ll experience more ‘no’s’ than you know
- don’t accept ‘no’
- Show up for yourself
- share your story with pride
Great tips one and all.
I’m always looking for straight up lists of how to do things. And this one is great, with my personal favorite being #18.
18 ways to improve your body language at Personal Development with The Positivity Blog:
18. Keep a good attitude – last but not least, keep a positive, open and relaxed attitude. How you feel will come through in your body language and can make a major difference. For information on how make yourself feel better read 10 ways to change how you feel and for relaxation try A very simple way to feel relaxed for 24 hours.