Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Entrepreneurial Tip #1 - Inspiration is a core value

Face it, getting up and going to work is hard enough when you have a solid paycheck coming in every two weeks like clockwork, paid vacation, health, dental and life insurance, 401k matching, etc. etc.

Imagine for a moment being an entrepreneur. Your life savings is safely ensconced in the company you've been building for 2 1/2 years. You haven't taken a salary for that same time and you know the meaning of the word "highly leverage" first hand.

What gets you out of bed every day?

Being inspired.

I know it sounds a bit loopy (as my friend Jane from Australia would say), but it is true.

True entrepreneurs (or serial entrepreneurs as we're often called) are known for having an "idea a minute". So we live and breathe inspiration. If we are smart, we couple ourselves with one or more detailed oriented people that can actually execute one or more of our ideas, as we frequently are bored with the execution phase once things are moving along smoothly.

In corporate life, inspiration is not generally a core value and often "inspiration squashing" is the sport of the interminable meetings and conference calls. Unconstrained brainstorming is rarely tolerated without 10 reasons why the "new, new thing" won't work.

Try a slice of inspiration tomorrow morning with your toast and coffee. For a whole day (ok, a whole hour if you can manage it), take everything off your desk. Sit quietly for a few minutes (or a few seconds for the ADD folks in the bunch) and just dream about what you would do today if you could remove all constraints.

Constraints usually entail:

  • Money
  • Talent
  • Time deadlines (quarterly SEC filings or profitability expectations)
  • Other resources
  • Competitive reaction
  • Naysayers within your group or leadership team
  • Current pricing models
  • or STATUS QUO in ANY CATEGORY
Just for that hour or that day, ban those things from your thinking and think about being:
  • Well funded
  • Growing profitably
  • Being strong and an industry leader
  • Truly differentiating your offering
  • Expanding your current products to new untapped markets
  • Building momentum in both top line growth and bottom line results
  • Having the right talent to get it all accomplished!
This is the right fodder for strategic plans. When you read a plan, you should get excited. It should make you get out of bed and RUN to work, even if you weren't going to receive a paycheck for the forseeable future!

We may be an undisciplined bunch, but having been in Corporate America for the first 18 years of my career, I can tell you with great assurance, we have way more fun! And the BIG secret..... we get more done with WAY less, much faster.

Inject some entrepreneurial spirit into your company today.

Chicke Fitzgerald
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