I’m just catching up with the news around this year’s Olympics in London and thought that I would blog about inspiration you can get from the game that applies to an entrepreneur’s world. Problem is that many are doing that already. Come to think of it, business is a lot like sports.. where you engage in the game of solving your customer’s pain, offer them something unique, sell, build relationships, lead and try to gain your sanity by aiming for a work-life balance. Sometimes, it makes you think that radical thinking is the only real thing that separates a good business from a great one. While many of the benefits far outweigh the challenges every business owner face, it makes me wonder why only a small percentage of companies are truly great. What is great..?
What Makes a Great Startup CEO
Being CEO has more than a touch of glamour printed on your business card. It’s more than that drive to innovate that moves the usual CEO to becoming a great one. S/he is a keeper of the vision that’s larger for everyone to understand and I’m talking long term here. Just take a look at how giants like Apple, Facebook and Google all started as startups.. and the great leaders that pushed everyone to put the pieces of a huge jigsaw puzzle together in building something larger than life. Have they known that they will become a phenomenal success? Of course, not! Only movies got spoilers for that and for the rest of us who work hard to make this vision a reality, it takes passion, determination and extremely low levels of tolerance for stress that makes you wonder if we’re some sort of a sadomasochistic herd ( no pun intended ). Yes, everyone wants to have our job because we are insanely successful, we can take off whenever we want, got lots of time to party around and so on. I hate to break the bad news to you.. but the real scenario is far from the myths that surround an entrepreneur’s life. I can work 18 hours or more in a day or two just to keep things working for my clients. I may not be building the next breakthrough in the name of tech, but the harder I work, the more results I see. Great CEOs are always excited to control their own destiny.
Do You Have What It Takes to Build a Great Business?
Most of us online are already well connected. You got the expertise and the contacts. What should you do next? In my years of competing in the consulting business, I have learned that there is a fine line between being unique and being useful. What differentiates you from the rest doesn’t necessarily mean that it is something of value to your customers, and focusing on benefits alone can turn your business into a boring brand, something that looks like everyone else. Where do you draw the line? While you may disagree with me on this very opinionated post that you should not focus on revenues, your sensitivity through active listening will just help you pinpoint the real root cause of the problem. In a world where the fast beats the big, time is quintessential. As Bill Gates said, “Your most unhappy customers are your greatest source of learning.” Consequently, it is of no coincidence that the world’s greatest leaders ( even the infamous ones ) are great communicators. Truth is, your clients won’t really care how much you know until they know how much you care about their problem. Creating this culture of caring into your business will pave the road to greatness.
Managing Your Mind: The Great Barrier to Your Success Reef
The biggest challenge that you will face before you become a great CEO is facing the doppelganger of your restless mind. How many times have you doubted your performance? You think you’re doing a great job and yet, you feel bad. What’s wrong in this picture? The only way for you to become a great leader is to be one. No amount of management training can really prepare you for the job of running a company. And even if you think you know what you are doing in an era where everyone is involved in the new way of doing business, things can go awfully wrong. When it does, you may add more injury to the pain by taking everything too personally or not personally enough. Where do you really step in? Is being great a lonely job, after all? I’d say that there will be plenty of times when you feel like quitting and if you succumb, you wouldn’t know that you’re only a step away towards success. Fear is irrational and it’s all inside your head.
Can you keep your focus on your roadmap? That’s something for you to ponder on this summer..