by Tim Henningsen on November 21, 2012
Every year around this time I reflect on and give thanks for the amazing experiences I’ve had, the people I’ve met, and the things I’ve learned. And most importantly, the people I have in my life for ongoing support.
This year is very different for me, as it probably is for most first-time, full-time entrepreneurs. It’s been said that being an entrepreneur can sometimes feel like the most exhilarating yet loneliest of experiences. Opportunities abound at every turn. What will you choose to do? It’s ALL up to you to make it happen for yourself. You’re tech support, billing, accounting, sales and marketing, and senior management all rolled into one. There’s no punching in, punching out. You’re just punched.
So, in celebration of entrepreneurs everywhere let’s give thanks for these uncommon things that make us unique and are helping us change the way the world works.
Bottom line thinking, top line intent
Entrepreneurs spend money with purpose. We know where and when to find the free coffee in town. If it’s not free, we’ll find somebody we can buy coffee for in our network. Travel? Strategic at all costs. I can remember many listless nights traversing the country in airports backed by a corporate machine that would catch me if I somehow fell off a cliff. Not so for entrepreneurs. When we take a business trip every hour, every dollar goes to good use and we stretch it like no other. Conferences? We relish the opportunity to be in the middle of the action, but we might even go badgeless sometimes. Office supplies? Tomorrow. It’s demo time.
The entrepreneur has no clothes
Ok, not really but here’s the point. Same clothes, every week. Some have uniforms. We pair down our wardrobe to only the essentials and the best. Our style is uniquely ours and the process is repeatable. Like how we build products. Here’s the thing. Just as people are used to hearing our well-rehearsed and polished pitches, they can also handle our same clothes. We don’t care, and we know nobody does either. We are clean, neat and dress for the occasion. This allows us to focus on what’s important and move at ludicrous speed.
We don’t always “under-promise and over-deliver”
Our time is precious. YOUR time is precious. We find that taking on too much will detract us from a supreme focus. To stray from this could mean a poor execution or in some cases no execution at all. This popular mantra can sometimes bite back. The mindset of under-promise risks setting the bar of excellence way too low. It downplays the level of effort involved with the project. We end up telling ourselves it will be easy to finish when in fact things begin to pile up. The result could be a potential over-promise and under-deliver disaster. To avert this, we understand that what we choose to START is just as important as what we choose to deliver. No promises, just honesty.
Unabashed learning, sharing, dot connecting
Your critical feedback is our next great invention. It’s really that simple. We do customer validation better than anybody. And since curiosity isn’t killing this cat, whatever we learn to fail at just makes us stronger. We meet creativity often by recognizing patterns and connecting the dots. Maybe it’s a networking situation where we’re trying to bring high value to the experience. Or, we’re coming up with new ideas by relating our past experiences to each other. We’re also not afraid to share and socialize our ideas when appropriate. For if they weren’t so great, we’d surely hide them and they would never see the light of day. If somebody thinks they can match our passion for an idea then game on.
The Make It Happen People™
If entrepreneurs were a brand, this would be their trademark tag line. In the dictionary next to our name and picture is a caption that reads “We got this.” I had a co-worker once say there are two types of people in this world. The make-it-happen-people, and everyone else. By now, it should be obvious that even the most experienced entrepreneur is not hanging tens in all these categories. The point here is to celebrate the fact you’re headed down the right path. Keep pushing forward. And if you find yourself falling short in any of these areas, no better time than now to reboot and start anew.