What’s the biggest factor in determining whether a business will fail or succeed? Is it financing? Perhaps, it’s having a solid business plan? Maybe, it’s having an innovative idea or product? All of these are important, but there’s something that trumps everything. It’s you – the entrepreneur!
Every organization is indelibly marked by their founder. You can see the impact they make on it even after they’re long gone from the day-to-day management and decision making. This impact is like the grooves that a heavy cart makes as it travels its way down the same dirt road time and time again.
After a while, there’s no need to steer the cart because these grooves keep the wheels in place. While you could steer the cart out of these grooves it’s very easy for it to fall back into them again. This is like your impact as an entrepreneur.
Putting the Cart Before the Road
I guess I’m getting ahead of myself. As we continue the 20 Entrepreneurial Lessons from Creation series, we move to second verse (and lesson) of Genesis.
Even though our businesses start with God, we find ourselves with a canvas that is empty and waiting for us to fill it using the talents and vision with which He has provided us. It’s like that dirt road before the cart started traveling on it.
Where Will You Lead Your Cart?
In verse 2, God had to decide where he was going to take His creation. The same is true with you as an entrepreneur. God provides you with everything you need to start your business, but He’s not going to do it for you.
It’s up to you to take these resources and start building, but before you begin you need to have a plan. How will you implement the vision He’s given you? Even more important, how will you articulate this vision to your people?
Great leaders are able to give their people a vision of where they are going and what they are struggling to achieve. Many businesses fail because their owners either let them spin their wheels until they’ve dug their own graves or let them wander aimlessly always changing course to an unknown destination.
It’s not lack of effort from their people that killed the business. Their people were working tirelessly but couldn’t be productive. People can only go on so long this way until they become disheartened and give up. You must be able to provide them a clear vision and get them to share ownership in your vision.
How Will You Lead Your Cart?
Once you’re able to articulate your vision and provide direction to your people, the next thing you have to decide is how you will lead them. Are you willing to roll up your sleeves and get your hands dirty? Or will you be a hands off leader?
Both styles of management have their merits and flaws. Most entrepreneurs don’t put much thought into this decision though. They just do whatever comes naturally. Few ever realize what impact this truly has on their business until it’s too late. Did you notice the second half of the verse above?
Your management style is much like the spirit of your business. It moves upon every facet of your business molding how decisions are made and work is performed. It becomes the unwritten guide to how your business runs despite what’s in the policy and procedures manual.
How Are You Shaping Your Business?
We all start at that same spot without form and void (or empty). When we give serious thought to the impact that we’ll have on our organizations before we form them, then we get to choose what groves we place into the dirt road.
This allows us to grow a business that can stay true to its foundation. Much like raising children, it’s the lessons we first impress and reinforce upon it that have the most lasting impact – just like those grooves.
So how are you shaping your business? If you didn’t start well, don’t be discouraged. It’s possible to create new grooves, but the longer you wait, and the bigger your business grows, the harder it will be.