Friday, September 19, 2014

Success Soup - O is for Owner Mentality



OK, I realize that owner mentality is two words, but O was tough.  I found LOTS of "O" ingredients that I would NOT want in my success soup, oligopoly, obsolete, opportunistic, ordinary and many, many more.

One of the elements that I believe is missing in business today and in the success equation is thinking like an owner.

Entrepreneurs have this one down, because they are the owner, and every day have to literally roll the dice on the future in every decision that is made.  And the many individuals that come along with the risk taking entrepreneur, deferring salary or working just for equity also understand the roll of the dice.

As these same entrepreneurial businesses take in capital, that equation shifts and even entrepreneurs and their sweat equity partners can become servant to another master.  You now take risks with someone else's money. 

What if there wasn't a fat bank account and with every decision you made, you had to risk your next paycheck, or take out a loan or borrow against your kids' college fund?

I have to admit that forcing this kind of thinking might bring corporations to a standstill, but I do want to make a point.

I believe that even in well funded entrepreneurial ventures, it is essential to still think like an owner.  This is why venture capital companies typically carve out a percentage of the company's equity for the leadership team, so that they can literally be vested in the outcome.

But I believe that even in a large company, understanding that shareholders aren't nameless faceless people just might help put things in perspective as you decide your company's future (or worse, stick with the status quo).   In a simplistic way, they are rolling the dice on you, your ideas, your products, your services.   If you are still doing the same things that worked a decade ago, you may risk losing your market position.

When your company loses money (or doesn't grow like it should), there are real people that are having to adjust their financial plans.  Kids that don't get to go to college, changes in life style, bankruptcies that are filed. 

Fail Fast?  I'd Rather Not.
For me, at this juncture in life, since I rolled the dice a number of years ago and lost over $1m of my own resources on a venture, you might be surprised that I am actually a bigger risk taker than ever before and have already put another $100k into my next venture. 

I tell the back story in one of my most popular blogs, "Fail Fast?  I'd Rather Not."
 
While I've wanted to remain self-funded, I've reached a turning point in the business where we need acceleration capital.  I have a lot of options of how I can move ahead, from strategic partnerships to raising a round of funding.  

No matter who helps fund my latest venture, I can guarantee that I will keep a set of dice on my desk and look at them every day, reminded of the fact that someone is rolling the dice not on my company, but on me.  That is being an owner.

If you are wanting to invest in a game changing venture or you would simply like to schedule an advisory call with me, go to my website and use the CONTACT tab in the lower right corner to let me know when we can speak.



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