By Andre Belanger
Entrepreneurial success depends on a few basic principles along with a balance between the heart and the mind. The heart of an entrepreneur inspires the passion and spirit of every venture. The mind verifies and ensures that the venture can realistically succeed. Following are the 20 principles that govern the heart of an entrepreneur.
1. Greatest Skill of an Entrepreneur
The greatest challenge entrepreneurs have is in developing the ability to ask for HELP.
I consider all the skills we teach to be important. However, I firmly believe that knowing when and how to ask for help is the most critical. Many ventures have been lost because of vanity, shame, and numerous other emotional grounds for avoiding this measure. While this powerful word is essential for any entrepreneur hoping to survive in the business arena, few incorporate it as part of their success model until it is too late. Put ego aside. The true test of success is not in the profit of a venture, but in its ability to survive the test of time. Statistics confirm that each year less than 5% of the ventures begun survive more than 12 years. I believe that businesses succeed because of my pro-active use of this powerful word.
As no one has all the answers to the numerous dilemmas that an entrepreneur faces, the critical nature of having this skill is evident. Without it more dreams will die and potential may never be realized. Humble yourself enough to ask for HELP and know that one day you will be asked to give it.
2. Principle of the Ladder
Over the years, others have learned through trial and error lessons that have taken them to a certain point. They have climbed a figurative ladder. Instead of fighting, why not take what others have done and raise it to higher levels? Then, allow others to take what you have done and challenge them to achieve even higher rungs on the ladder.
This lesson still needs to be emphasized as one of the most important concepts for entrepreneurs
to master and learn.
Sadly, in my teachings, I have seen similar mistakes being committed over and over again. Entrepreneurs continually use only trial and error strategies in their businesses. However, if an entrepreneur adopts the first concept of help and incorporates the expertise and knowledge gained by people who have climbed the ladder before them, the potential for success is far greater.
Every community possesses a wealth of knowledge. Tap into the lessons of your entrepreneurial elders, those who have gone through it before you and survived. There will be plenty of pitfalls unique to your venture to fall into. By adopting the ladder as part of your business philosophy, you will learn pro-actively.
3. The Mirror
“Anything you do, you do for the person in the mirror. Share with others if need be.”
Too often, people create business plans, marketing strategies, and financial proposals to please someone else. They might be written by “experts” using pre-defined models and methods, yet they are not designed for the entrepreneur and are often discarded or filed away. Every plan, every strategy should reflect your uniqueness, your ideas, and your vision.
I use the mirror to test any new idea, concept, or plan before attempting to convince anyone else. It’s easy lie to other people, but if you lie to yourself, you are cheating yourself. Buy a small mirror, put it up in your office. When you need to convince someone of what you are doing or going to do, look into it, and state your case. Does it feel real? A real business plan or strategy is created for you and shared with others; it becomes a “living plan.” Sadly, most plans and strategies do not measure up to this standard. Change this with a mirror.
4. Take Risks – with Parachutes
Being an entrepreneur means accepting certain facts as conditions. The first and most important condition is that of risks. It is easy to lay blame on anything that comes to mind as the reason for our state negates what entrepreneurship is all about. There are risks in all decisions we make, and as such, it is important we take a realistic approach to ventures. If someone states that there is no job security, or the venture undertaking is risky, a realistic approach would be to incorporate these facts within an approach.
Many entrepreneurs begin their ventures based on passion, but passion does not create success. It is the first step, and often holds a venture together, especially in the “valleys” of its progression.
The analogy I use in teaching this principle is as follows: An entrepreneur who undertakes a venture is like someone standing on the edge of a 200-foot cliff. There is a time that a decision has to be made, either to jump or to back away. Life is continually filled with times where we have to make decisions that map our destiny. You stand tall, look down, and if you are passionate enough, jump! In our society, entrepreneurs are jumping each and every day. Each knowing they are unique enough, each knowing they have the answer, each believing – for many all the way to the bottom! Each year, bankruptcy increases, and each person began their venture believing in the vision. But vision and passion is not enough! I believe in taking the leap, but my father made sure that when I leapt, I did so with a properly packed parachute.
There are three components to any venture and plan. They compose the acronym A.S.K. – ASK and you shall succeed!
Attitude: Passion abilities.
Attitude is often the only ally an entrepreneur has, especially in the downtimes. Attitude has allowed me to battle numerous barriers. But attitude alone is not enough; sadly, over-positive attitudes is one of the main reasons for business failures today.
Skill: Application abilities. Attitude may be the heart of an entrepreneur, but without skills, they don’t survive long. An entrepreneur must master administration, operations, marketing, and ownership in their venture if they are going to succeed. These skills are critical – to understand each area is not enough.
Knowledge. Understanding abilities. An entrepreneur has to understand every aspect of their own venture, for it is not within the strength of a venture that eventual failure arises, it is within the weaknesses.
We are in a society where judgments prevail. Much is said about what a successful business is, what it looks like, acts like, and owns. There appears to be consensus that 2% of the population have the “success,” they are considered the winners in our society.
It is not the idolizing of the 2% that has me concerned, is the acceptance by the 98% that what they are, who they are, and what they do isn’t deemed good enough. In our society we place labels everywhere – slow kids, handicapped, obese people, happy, sad, abused – the list is endless.
Growing up, I felt the eyes of society as I was labeled. I was not that good in school, not popular, not overly tall. In fact if the labels were true, I shouldn’t be doing what I am doing today. What I have come to understand, and was continually challenged by my father, was not the labels given, but the acceptance of a label and the boundaries that are associated with them.
My father was concerned that if someone said I was slow, I would accept it and use it as an excuse. Too often labels create excuses that are used as justifying a current state. Yes, there are principles critical to succeeding in any venture, but even though labels are used on many who want to become an entrepreneur, it doesn’t mean they can’t succeed. It means modifying approaches, becoming more creative, or working that much harder in achieving goals.
My father was kind, but strict in my development. He stated that others have a right to their opinion, but I didn’t have to accept their opinions as fact. How many of us have not even attempted a dream because someone said it was impossible? Here is a fact for every dreamer: Every single invention and creation is going to be challenged. Will you rise to the occasion?
Everyone has shortcomings, and sadly society tends to point them out first before pointing out the positives. I get frustrated with many of the labels provided me, especially cultural ones, when I do workshops. I have, as my father has taught me, adopted a very simple philosophy in coaching entrepreneurs: Help Everyone Realize Opportunities (H.E.R.O.s).
You are going to be challenged, that is part of what being an entrepreneur is about. Those who should be supporting you may not. Those whom you feel should be your allies may not. Part of the fortitude of an entrepreneur is not to prove others wrong, but to test your own resolve. I believe you need to create your own set of standards, your own 100% model, and map your own progress.
6. Face the Truth – and Deal With It
The great North American pastime cannot be part of an entrepreneur’s mindset. It may be the toughest of the H.E.R.O.’s principles to master. What is it? Fantasies and dreams. Each day we dream of what we would do if we won the lottery. What will happen with the next contract, how we will do things differently – if only. If only – a phrase I have heard over and over again. In one of my early contracts, I was asked to clean up the administration system of an auto dealership. On the first day with the office administrator, she showed me a very unique filing system. She stated whatever she couldn’t do today would be deferred to a tomorrow file. With all due respect to everyone studying this material, we all have created a “tomorrow file” of some sort.
Ventures are built on dreams, but survive based on realistic strategies and systems. Problems don’t go away, if left alone they only get larger. Use the analogy of a cancer cell – it begins with one and spreads. This is a very simple and straightforward principle, one that needs strong fortitude to deal with. One of the greatest weaknesses of entrepreneurs is their reluctance to budget. It is through budgeting that the venture, once started, communicates to its owners what is happening. Many have told me the reason for not budgeting is knowing where one truly stands. It is better, I guess, to differ and hope tomorrow’s lottery purchases will make it all better. Sadly it doesn’t work this way for the majority. It is time to deal with the issues and pains of your situation on a daily basis. I was once was asked if a business can run devoid of problems. I responded by saying yes … when it dies!
“Tackle the challenges of each day, plan for the gifts of tomorrow, and understand the lessons of yesterday.” It is the H.E.R.O.’s pledge, adopt it as yours. It’s far easier to put off what needs to be done to the future, but sooner or later you are going to have to deal with your situation.
7. Learn Less, Apply More
There is a wonderful saying, “Knowledge is power.” I firmly believed for many years in this concept.
I spent many hours studying, taking notes, and learning, until one day when a mentor of mine, Dr. Raymond Hebert, a man who challenged many of my early principles and concepts, challenged me on this one. I recall one day sitting with Dr. Hebert, quoting experts, noting what I had learned, in order to impress him. After enlightening him, he paused and asked me to show him what I had done with all this new and impressive knowledge. I was stunned. For years, I invested heavily into books, audiotapes, and videos, strengthening my knowledge, preparing. I told him of the “knowledge is powerful” principle, and looking me straight in the eyes, he stated, “Knowledge is important, but what you do with it is truly powerful.’
With that comment, I adopted the “learn less and apply more” as part of the entrepreneurs’ principles. In workshops and presentations, I see many note takers, people diligently jotting down every idea, every concept, making sure all the information is understood. These same people nodding in approval of the valuable information learnt. Yet, statistically, I heard that the majority of these note takers don’t apply what has been revealed!
It is time to stop taking notes and apply what you learn, it is time to stop note taking and become a note applicator. It is stated if we only used 1% more of the technology available now, how improved we would become. It is stated if we use 1% more of our mind how much smarter we would be. It is stated if we improve 1% per month how much our bottom line would increase. Each of these statements has an action component attached to it. The graveyard is filled with unused talents. Learn as much as you can, because entrepreneurs require constant knowledge to survive in our changing economy. More importantly, act on what you are learning, apply something each time you learn, and that 1% could be yours.
8. Upstream Management
We have all heard this statement: “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.“ I am a great believer of prevention as a business principle; in fact the entire H.E.R.O.’s program is built around this philosophy. All the components presented in the H.E.R.O.’s program provide the foundation so that the opportunity to deal with situations earlier can result in less stress to the entrepreneur, especially in the early stages of a ventures life.
The H.E.R.O.’s model for management principles is based on a river. I describe it as the “River of Health.” At the top of the river the waters are clear, at the bottom, the waters are polluted. The earlier a problem is detected the better, and it can be done by developing systems throughout an organization. We are all part of a system – be it society, economic, social, or family. Every entrepreneur can create models that allow for early detection of bottlenecks before they become a major crisis.
I break down the river into two separate management concepts. At the top system, bottlenecks are “challenges.” A health analogy is a person is getting a cold. What can they do to prevent it from getting worse? At the bottom of the river, the bottlenecks are “crises.” What can they do to get better now? At the top we have time to minimize impact, at the bottom we don’t, so we have to solve the problem.
In any venture, systems should be developed and created to address how to effectively manage challenges and crises. This is done through the creation of policies and procedures – how and why something is done. It is important that as an entrepreneur you develop upstream management concepts and principles so that the cost and pain of dealing with polluted situations are minimized.
We are a society (economic, health, education, politics, etc.) that speaks of prevention and its value and importance. Sadly we have not yet adopted the principles and models as a lifestyle to verify and authenticate prevention as a model.
Here are a couple of tips for you to consider.
• In your bank account have a positive balance of $100 and up.
• Always have two bank accounts, one a reserve, the other a working account.
• Map out your plans before implementing them. Never come out with a “new” concept without minimizing bottlenecks.
• Take courses before you begin any venture and take time to set up.
• Prepare for your next job while you have one.
• Plan for retirement, keep the oil changed in the car, brush daily, eat well, etc.
Ignorance may be bliss, but sadly these and other upstream principles have too long been ignored.
A successful entrepreneur develops and acts on upstream principles, an unsuccessful one doesn’t, and once in polluted waters, wishes they had.
9. Look for the Gnome in the Forest
In my workshops I ask attendees to look at a picture and identify what they see. They identify the trees, shrubs, describe analogies of life, death, and spirituality. However, in the bottom right hand side of the picture, I note the outline of a gnome (if one looks closely enough they can see beard, nose, hat, cheeks). People look closely and agree there is something there. I then shut off the overhead and quickly turn it back on and ask them to identify the first thing they see. For the most part, the majority see the gnome.
What this principle illustrates is that we have to bring out the gnome in us so that others can recognize what makes our venture, our very selves as special. It is interesting a world that promotes and teaches conformity, yet we are attracted to those who are different. The battlefield called advertising continually explores showing messages as unique and different as possible.
Dreams are an entrepreneur’s playground, and the more one invests in endless possibilities and challenges current concepts, the greater the potential benefits and solutions appear. The mind, as stated in the previous principles, is important in analyzing and applying dreams, but the time dreaming, researching, and playing with ideas and concepts is just as important.
Entrepreneurs often speak of uniqueness, yet have a hard time showing it. Look at most resumes today – what is unique about them? Look at job descriptions, do they truly help you maximize your position?
Every venture, every person is different and unique, and it is critical and vital that this is explored. The question we ask is, “Why me?” Why should someone hire you? Why should someone do business with you? Too often the answers are the same as everyone else: best price, best person to do the task. But when we put this automatic response aside, often people are dumbfounded for an answer.
Entrepreneurs challenge not only what is happening around them in coming up with a unique approach, but also in explaining and describing why they should be chosen first.
Bring out the gnome in you and let the world see it. It will create curiosity and that is the first step in getting clients for your business.
There are over six billion people on earth. Each year an estimated one million people enter the self-employment game. In many entrepreneur books, there is much ado about being secretive and not sharing your ideas for fear that someone will steal it.
An entrepreneur has an idea, but doesn’t let anyone know about it because someone might take it? Entrepreneurs must accept the fact that sooner or later their idea will be borrowed. What is the surest way to succeed? Include as many people as possible in your strategy. Imagine if you had six billion people talking about what you are doing? Word of mouth marketing is by far the most effective model today. Why then, would one adopt a mouth-shut concept?
Arguably it is often stated that until ready, letting others know about your idea could do more damage than good, especially if some unscrupulous person got hold of the concept. Chances are though, by hiding it from that small percentage of people whom would steal the concept and idea, you are also hiding it from someone who could be of tremendous help to you.
Earlier on in my journey as an entrepreneur, I recall a meeting I had with a person who owned a business consulting company. He was referred by Dr. Ron Inward, my father’s best friend and an early mentor who guided me in the critical first steps of development as an entrepreneur.
During our meeting this gentleman pulled out a map of my 40 Business Issues™, and I got angry because the secret was out! My mind immediately went into thievery, thinking, “He is going to steal my idea.” Later, I shared my fears with Dr. Inward. He asked then whom should the work be shared with that could best assist, and I couldn’t come up with any names other than the so-called completion. Fact is most of the people who you need are often those we consider competitors.
An entrepreneur has a greater chance to succeed if they assume the risk of letting as many people as possible know about their idea. The more people who know what you know, of the solutions you provide, will tell others. Which also means providing as much detail as possible to people so they can effectively share with others. I call this the Circle of Influence™. The more you share, the more you let people know about what you do, the more bragging you do, the greater the opportunities.
Protect your product as best as you can, but don’t be afraid to let the world know. Secrets don’t help entrepreneurs, bragging does. If someone is going to take it, they aren’t concerned with legalities.
Also note, the more who know it is your idea, your concept, the less likely someone can get away with stealing it. This doesn’t mean it won’t happen – it happened to me recently. However, as Dr. Inward rightly told me during our sessions together, “They can always take what you have, but they can never own it, because it was created by you and your father.”
11. Be Real
We are in a time where negative and positive approaches have never been more polarized. Negative thinking, words, and approaches have evolved as the “bad.” Words such as “problems” have been replaced by “challenges.” Even though the situation is the same, it has a new word. No, is not good. Maybe, can’t, and other good words have become “negatives.” Positive statements such as “unlimited potential,” “you can do anything you want to,” “being part of a team,” and one of my favorites, “pro-active,” define who and what a person is.
One of the greatest weaknesses today is the over-positive approach to everything. Many people are positive they will never be ill, lose a job or contract, their business will fail, or someone close passes away. The “live today as your last” has become one of the worst mission statements I have ever seen. Our personal and national debt has skyrocketed because of “living in the moment.” A small percentage of people can retire comfortably, thousands are carrying high mortgages, high credit card debt, and taking incredible risks due to what I believe is the curse of negative thinking.
Now don’t get me wrong – I am not stating positive thinking is wrong – it has helped me through many situations and battles. But I am also a huge supporter of negative thinking. I believe one of the most powerful attributes of an administrator is negative thinking. The relationship I have developed with many people I work with is my “negativity” counseling. Many of the people I have coached thank me for challenging their concepts. A statement I have become well known for is, “I will talk you out of your venture, but you talk me into it.” In between is the realistic approach.
This principle states there is a balance between the two insights. Neither is good or bad. Both need to be part of the entrepreneur’s mindset. I like the word “problem.” It is a good word, often stating the seriousness of the situation. Quite frankly, it is often important to understand, not hide from these situations, especially if you don’t want them to recur. I like “unlimited possibilities,” building dreams that can, if managed effectively, can be attained. Positive insights allow for creativity at its best, negative insights challenge them with “what if’s.” One of the major dilemmas and weaknesses of business plans is their lack of commitment to what ifs. Most small business entrepreneurs don’t develop “what if” plans, winging along, fueled by positive insights. Many spend their paychecks, not putting anything aside, feeling that the future will take care of itself, or they’ll deal with tomorrow when it comes.
On the other hand, someone who constantly complains, constantly lives in the negative insight, doesn’t do themselves or those around them any good. Negative people are not happy or fun to be around and can do serious damage to any entrepreneurs dream.
It is once again time to bring balance back into our way of thinking. Use “no” when you believe you cannot, use “try” when an attempt is being made, say “help” when you need it, challenge your problems. Can’t and won’t are good words; they create balance in entrepreneur approaches. And in our economic situation, balance will take you much further than either negative or positives alone.
12. Instant Success is a Minimum of 10 Years
On January 16, 2001, the Barrie Public Library held a ceremony opening up the “billion dollar library,” a resource library that was first envisioned in June of 1980. It took 16 years from concept to creation, and along the way, every one of these principles carried the project to its fruition. Entrepreneurs cannot follow today’s “instant” model that people are so addicted to. We are in a society where we want high returns for little investment. It just doesn’t work that way. An entrepreneur accepts paying dues, and the length of time it takes may be much longer than anticipated.
From the first time I made the decision to join my father in his quest of the 40 Business Issues™ project, he told me that would take time for it to come to, but believed it would eventually. He also made sure I mentored with a number of his friends and colleagues so that I would be prepared to undertake the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
Patience is a close ally of any entrepreneur. In the first stages of any venture, the energy has to focus on education and marketing, as you are a stranger in the game and attempting to prove your value can take up to five years or even longer, depending on the uniqueness and timing of your product or service. There isn’t a single entrepreneur, famous or otherwise, who hasn’t or won’t pay their dues. It is part of the success equation – everyone needs to apprentice. There is a universal price for success and it is, and will always be, “time.” Those who accept and plan accordingly survive, those who want instant anything get disappointed.
13. Pay Attention to the Clues – Listen
There are clues all around us. The problem I see with many entrepreneurs is they are so engrossed
in their venture they are not paying attention to what is happening around them. In our community, our cities, our workplaces, our country, the clues are all around us as to what is happening. An entrepreneur taps into these clues, investigates, and plans around them. No job suddenly disappears. When I was laid off many years ago there were clues everywhere, I just chose to ignore them.
My father’s greatest strength was his ability to listen to what was happening. He developed a curiosity that allowed him to pay close attention to every detail and he would adjust accordingly. One day I was sitting in the office, looking outside the window, and I saw my father sitting on a chair near the highway, watching the traffic go by. I went outside to see what he was doing, he told me to get a seat and join him. I did, and for approximately 15 minutes we both sat there, me staring at him, him staring at the vehicles going by, and the drivers staring at both of us! Frustrated I got up to leave, and as I was standing, he asked what I saw with the cars going by. What I hadn’t noticed is he had his left hand in his pant pocket and he was holding a counter. While he was sitting there, he counted the number of vehicles that went by. Over 300 cars went by in the time we were there and no one noticed the business. He was right; people were driving by, not curious about the sign or what the business was they were passing.
To this day, I have learned to pay attention, listen to not just what is being said, but developing my instincts, honing my intuition, studying personality and vocal tonality, as well as economic points and activity within my area, community, district, etc.
Successful positioning of any venture demands close attention to current situations and ensuring strategies that compliment exist. Don’t get caught off guard – stand back from your position and observe. There is no safe and secure time. It is at the most successful economic periods that one should be preparing themselves for the next downturn.
It is stated positioning is critical to the long-term survival of any venture. By listening and learning to what is happening around your venture will allow you to prepare your venture to truly deliver what is needed.
14. Dedicate Prime Time
Being an entrepreneur requires attention. What is prime time? In the media industry there are peak times during the day where there are more viewers, and strategies are continually being developed to attract the greatest share of viewers in these time slots.
We are in an age of entrepreneurship where the workplace is quickly becoming a part of the economic profile. People are being left more and more on their own and expected to do more accordingly. Entrepreneurship skills are not only for the self-employed. However, those who are self-employed and those employed both have to begin dedicating time into developing their skills, knowledge, and attitude on ongoing bases. Many do, but is it when they are tired or when distractions are high and numerous?
The first commitment I made to myself after my father passed away was to admit that I needed more education. I knew that during the day I would be distracted and allocating time during the day for education and training would be frustrating. So I booked two times of the day, one in the morning and one in the evening, to develop materials, hone skills, and prepare the foundation my father left me. I made a commitment to allocate two hours, five days a week for a total of 10 hours/week for my personal entrepreneurial development.
You might say as an entrepreneur you do that, but in prime time, what are you dedicating yourself to developing and learning? Being an entrepreneur, I have learned, and is very important for you to understand, you have to know every aspect of your venture, all of them! I believe you need to master every issue that can impact your business. Often we differ these to “experts.” I believe it is important to have a team of experts be part of your venture, but in your venture you have to be the expert in all fields. It doesn’t mean you have to perform all the functions of your venture – your accountant is still the best person to do the taxes, your lawyer your contracts, your agent insurance policies. However, you need to know and understand what they are doing in regards to your venture. I have rarely seen a business fail due to its strengths, but have seen numerous failures in weaknesses. Business failure is often associated with the phrase, “I didn’t know.”
Take prime time, not just to improve your primary skills but also to tackle the weaknesses head on! Take on the frustration with learning something new every day about your venture, about your job. By doing so, by dedicating 10 hours a week to your venture, developing, creating during times when you have the most energy, will not only let you battle the hills and valleys of being self-employed but also enhance your skills of employability.
15. Time Out and Pause
One of the true tragedies of being an entrepreneur is the ease of getting so wrapped up in what you are working for that you tend to miss out on others. Too often an entrepreneur will become so absorbed that the reasons and purpose for the venture become vague and lost. There is plenty of stress and chaos in developing and venture, and it is important to take time out, to pause and enjoy other aspects of life.
The word “balance” has become a very popular and important component of our society. This word has various meaning for those whom have adopted it as part of their entrepreneurial principles.
For all his strengths, for all his guidance, the price my father paid for having an entrepreneurial spirit was in many ways high. There were countless times that he missed out in our lives, due to his work ethic and passion. For many years I was angry with him for not being available.
The ultimate price was his passing away at the age of 52, strong of mind, weak of body. It is often stated we have to create balance between mind, body, and spirit, and the entrepreneur not only has to understand this concept but also needs to adopt it as a lifestyle. There is an ever-increasing trend that is not being addressed within the statistics of business failures. Of the many reasons business fail, how many are due to illness of the owner? In the past number of years we have witnessed a number of businesses that have failed because the owner got sick or passed away.
A venture is important, energy and time are critical, and dedicating prime time to it is vital, especially in the two critical transition stages – beginning and first growth cycle, where statically business tend to fail. Being an entrepreneur requires fortitude and strength, and just as important in maintaining a high level of skill and awareness are time outs doing other things you enjoy.
I believe a venture requires sacrifice, but it doesn’t have to sacrifice all aspects of one’s life. The night before he died, my father stated to his best friend, Dr. Ron Ingard these lines, lines of which I hold with me to this day.
“You were right, I worked on my mind and not my body.”
The world lost a gift when he passed away. I have learned a lesson that I hope many of you entrepreneurs adopt. Your venture needs your mind, body, and spirit, but so does your community, your friends, and most importantly, your family. Don’t pay too high a price for success, for you and those around may forever regret it.
16. Courage to Make a Difference
Part of the excitement and fear of being an entrepreneur is taking a stance on what you believe and having the courage to challenge what is being done. The seed for the H.E.R.O.’s program and approach was two areas that my father believed required attention and change. With the H.E.R.O.’s 40 Issue Map™, my father believed there was a critical piece missing in the education mix for entrepreneurs. He believed a map had to be created of issues that would act as a bridge between those who have knowledge in a local community, profession, or organization and those who require education. He also believed that the training system for small business entrepreneurs wasn’t working. I recall sitting with one day and he stated that if what we are teaching is working, why does there continue to be an increase in failures? Something was missing.
In these two areas, I have undertaken the challenges, risks, and battles over the past 16 years in addressing the “system.” It continues to take courage to continue the battles. My father believed good battles are worth fighting for, and I have adopted these principles.
Note when you speak out, trouble often comes. Many situations don’t change because people are afraid to speak out, challenge, and what isn’t working goes unresolved. We have been told that many of our social systems aren’t working, yet we allow it to continue.
In regard to social issues, I have come to believe we as a people have evolved. There was a time where ignorance was bliss. We didn’t want to know what was happening – as long as it wasn’t in our neighborhood and it didn’t directly affect us, we didn’t care.
Well today, it has changed. We no longer change the TV channels when we see children starving in third world countries. We listen to the wrongs of the world. We look at the health, education, employment, self-employment, economic policies, upbringing, world events, and numerous other issues. We have evolved. We now acknowledge the issues. That is the problem, we are acknowledging, but not necessarily acting. I can’t wait until we adopt the entrepreneurial spirit of acting on what we know. It takes courage, it takes resolve.
Being an entrepreneur is very risky, and it take someone willing to sacrifice and fight. When you look at what you accomplish, as I have, seen the legacy that is being left during the process, you see the value. Nothing changes unless someone begins the process. Entrepreneurs take that step. Where others talk solutions, an entrepreneur creates and acts on them. I believe my father is proud of me for having the courage to make a difference.
Success principles 17-20 continued next week.