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Posted: April 25, 2011

From entrepreneurial vision to profitable reality

You can do it -- but not alone

George Tyler

Question: Can you become a successful entrepreneur?

Answer: Yes, but you can't do it alone.

Entrepreneurs begin by creating a vision. The vision states what your company does, why it is in business and what it will achieve. From this vision, a company strategy emerges. It describes the actions the company will take to make the vision a reality. Your company's future pain and success is a function of 1) whether your vision serves the needs of the marketplace and 2) how successfully your company implements its strategy.

Michael Gerber, an entrepreneurial leader and author of the popular E-Myth series of books, says company founders begin as "Three-people-in-one" - entrepreneurs, managers and technicians. At best, trying to be all three results in stagnation; more commonly, it results in business failure.

Entrepreneurs Live their Vision

The entrepreneur guides and nurtures the vision of the company. Many times the entrepreneur and the initial brand are synonymous. An entrepreneur sells everyone on their vision of the future. They sell their employees, customers, prospects, suppliers, alliance partners, bankers, investors and anyone else remotely involved in the success of their venture.

In my experience, when an entrepreneur spends 70-80 percent of their time crusading for the business, the company's revenue grows. Conversely, if the entrepreneur spends only 20-30 percent, the company begins to slide into financial ruin.

Today's entrepreneurs must understand their strengths and create alliances that can compensate for their weaknesses. One cannot do it alone. Some insightful company founders realize that although they developed the company's vision, their on-going role is technician. For example, Edwin Land wanted to be an inventor, not run the company. He found others to lead his vision for the Polaroid Corporation.

Managers measure success

Companies need managers. Managers lead a specific function within the company, e.g. sales, accounting, marketing, finance, IT. Managers compare past performance to strategic goals to determine their function's success. Sales managers establish the parameters that will be tracked in sales reports. For example, the manager will measure indicators such as the number of leads generated, closure rate, actual sales, customer retention, and new customers.

The accounting manager reviews the accounting numbers generated by the bookkeeper to determine the company's financial performance.
Typically, entrepreneurs are not suited to be managers; they do not have the patience to spend on details nor the time for endless meetings. In fact, many entrepreneurs resent the misuse of any time when they aren't living their vision.

To an entrepreneur, sitting in a meeting that tracks marketing results or IT indicators is analogous to driving 100 miles per hour while looking in the rear view mirror.

Technicians do the physical work

The technician performs the actual work of the company. For a software company, the technicians are the engineers or support people. For a manufacturing plant, the technicians are the workers on the factory floor. The wait staff and the cooks are the technicians for a restaurant. Many entrepreneurs start their careers as technicians. Once they have created the vision for the future, they leave the details to other managers and technicians.

Running the Mobius Strip

The vision starts with the entrepreneur, who brings his ideas to the marketplace and creates the business relationships that will make the vision possible. Selling the world on this vision is the goal of the entrepreneur. Sales are a scorecard of the entrepreneur's vision, strategy, and leadership.
In the beginning of the company, the entrepreneur performs all three roles.

As sales increase, the entrepreneur is dragged into the details. They find themselves performing the manager's job, or the technician's duties and losing focus on their entrepreneurial role. When the vision isn't being sold to the world, the company stagnates. Entrepreneurs who find themselves being overwhelmed by details and who are not ready to hire employees to do the manager's and technician's roles can benefit from creating alliances.

How many entrepreneurs have missed their son's football games, or daughter's soccer games? A dilemma emerges as the entrepreneur sells the vision, manages one or more functions and works the floor. Vacations become a fading thought. Blood pressure rises. They run on a mobius strip. Every day, every month, all year long they find themselves traversing an endless loop. They are busy, but not making progress toward their vision.

Implementing the Vision

The smart entrepreneur realizes that he or she needs assistance to implement the vision. In his best selling book, The 4-Hour Workweek, Timothy Ferriss recommends outsourcing many tasks. In other words, do what you love, and find others to do the rest of the work.

To avoid the Mobius strip, entrepreneurs must identify the problem; resume being the visionary; and find people to conduct each required role. Learn to tap into your inner strength and use the power of others. Sick people go to a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Similarly, entrepreneurs can consult with advisors who will review the symptoms, diagnose the problem and recommend a cure.

Insightful entrepreneurs learn the power of strategic alliances to realize their vision. Alliances can be found anywhere your customers live, play and work.

Find an experienced advisor or group of advisors - people who have been there, done that. Then tee Entrepreneur can maintain the vision, create the ideas, lead the crusade and become the catalyst for the future. This increases sales, aligns the company to its vision and makes the competition irrelevant. Success goes to the entrepreneur singing the vision to the world.
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George Tyler, a serial entrepreneur, has developed the only consulting practice that focuses exclusively on strategic alliances and the implementation of the powerful Alliance CompassTM to accelerate global revenue growth.
Having spent over 25 years developing alliances, George created the Alliance Compass to help companies serve their customers with strategic alliance partnerships. Using his assessment tools and the Alliance Compass, companies form strategic alliances that increase their business. His experience in marketing, sales and management has lead to successful strategic alliances for hundreds of companies.
George has started several companies that grew because of well-designed strategic alliances and partnerships within Fortune 500 companies. His alliances have spanned the globe. As an award-winning speaker, he has spoken to audiences around the world, and provided guidance to large and small corporations. Call today for help in growing your company.
Contact information: George@3rdEagle.com, LinkedIn.com/GeorgeTyler, Twitter@GeorgeTyler, 303.482.7583

 

George Tyler, a serial entrepreneur, has developed the only consulting practice that focuses exclusively on strategic alliances and the implementation of the powerful Alliance CompassTM to accelerate global revenue growth. Using his assessment tools and the Alliance Compass, companies form strategic alliances that increase their business. His experience in marketing, sales and management has lead to successful strategic alliances for hundreds of companies. Call today for help in growing your company. Contact information: George@3rdEagle.com, linkedIn.com/GeorgeTyler, Twitter@GeorgeTyler, 303.482.7583, http://www.3rdEagle.com

 

 

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Readers Respond

Nice summary explanation of the 3-in-1 role of the start-up entrepreneur and how the owner limits or frees the company growth. I might also suggest the entrepreneur determine how, and in what way, s/he impacts the business, manages complexity (which is primarily a function of managing relationships and never goes away, whether outsourcing in the Ferriss tradition or growing organically by creating jobs), and knowing clearly what the business needs from the owner. By Trina Hoefling on 2011 04 25

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