If you’re not making money or raising money, then you do not have a business. But, so many people who want to enter entrepreneurship just don't get this...
- Having some lovely branding is well….lovely.
- Having a cool website that generates zilch is a waste of time and money.
- Having lots of irons in the fire – with no results is folly.
- Having no clear business model that makes money or can with finance – is just an exercise.
- Producing products with little or no margin is vanity.
- Exciting investors with talk of amazing stuff, then failing to follow through is Walter Mitty stuff.
- Being active on Twitter – just for the sake of it, is just causing you repetitive strain injury.
Real Entrepreneuring® is about taking action to raise money and/or make money to create something that others want. Whether that be a product, a service, something to eat, to wear or to play with is immaterial. What matters is that it has value and you know how to squeeze that value out. Or at least you learn how to and get smarter as you go.
So why do so many entering and indeed in the throes of creating and growing a business not seem to get this?
There are those who live in what I call the Entrepreneur’s Ale House. A place where they talk all things entrepreneurial. A place where they, with others, feel cool and comfortable with the jargon of start-up and scale-up. They use terms like skin in the game, unicorn, sweat equity, prototyping, crowd funding and the like. They talk about well-known entrepreneurs in their local ecosystems as if they come over for dinner with them every Saturday night. But, they don’t do much more than that. In many instances I wonder how this grouping copes with bills and money to eat? Yet, if you look for them they are right in front of your eyes. Standing at the bar…
Then there are those who belong to loads of membership organisations and entrepreneur help clubs. Again, talking a good game and rubbing shoulders at events and dinners with those who would pontificate and amaze these avidly blind members of their clubs. You can spot these guys as well… the usual suspects at events. Like me you may have wondered how they also feed themselves and pay the electricity bills?
The chat from these groupings is always good and they’re driving forward their businesses. But, in reality its hot air and ego and vanity and they cannot get the car into gear to drive up the hill.
Meanwhile in an incubator, co-working space, accelerator or elsewhere there are those who take a more serious attitude to business. Those who want to make it big and know that to do so takes effort. Those who realise the value of a dollar and who will go the extra mile to make sure they convince an investor of this. Those who work out the margins needed to make a living and then some. They make themselves attractive to others – not at the Entrepreneurs Ale House, but to those who matter: customers, stakeholders and finance folks. Their lexicon is grounded in reality, gritty, inspiring and they are always learning. They know it will be years until real success in the business, but they are prepared to learn and feel uncomfortable in the process. But, I would suggest that is where the real character of the entrepreneur is built. Tough conversations, hard days and nights, living with chaos and a world where there are no certainties. They have scars – sure. But they go back into the arena day after day.
So, for anyone who wants to really create something special in business – you know you have to be raising money and making money. You know what that means…. staying out of the Ale House. Good luck and I hope one day you will help those who really want to get there also… in your own way.
What kind of entrepreneur do you want to be? Share your thoughts with me on Twitter @GoDo_Today