Six months ago I started this adventure as an entrepreneur, with full confidence in what we were undertaking but with fear of the unknown hidden behind the high expectations of success. The reality of what has happened since we launched is so far removed from what I imagined, but in a good way. After years of learning, being mentored and honing my craft, it is like someone suddenly took away the safety features, removed the speed limiter and boosted my engine by a few hundred horsepower. Living your dream gives you a hunger I have never felt before and an unwavering commitment to perfection. I had heard the horror stories, and before making the leap listened to the fear mongering about the perils of starting your own company. Now I realize that the risk and danger isn’t whether you have the ability to be successful, it is harnessing that power, that freedom and making it around each lap of the circuit, at breakneck speed without smashing into a wall!
Success Brings New Challenges
For a while it is pretty simple, you are running on this euphoric energy and drive that building your own dream gives you. It is you, a handful of partners and your proven expertise that is easy for a potential client to identify with. Then you start to succeed, you start to see strain on capacity and competitors start to take notice. We went from zero to a hundred in 3 months, hit capacity in month 4 and are poised to add 2 fulltime employees before reaching 7 months in business.
That shift from founder led activity to managing resources to deliver services changes everything. No longer can you rely on that raw power and drive; you have a whole team behind the scenes that needs to be managed properly in order to succeed. Just maintaining the pace isn’t good enough though, you have been on pole positon, leading the race and winning – now you need a winning team and have to shift your focus to trust in others and their expertise to deliver the results. It is your employees competing against the employees of your competitors. Who can lead their team in the right way, to gain that next slice of vital market share?
I look around the town and see lots of great sole proprietors, brilliant in their own niche and with good solid businesses. We leverage their deep expertise as part of our post placement service offering, but I understand now why they remain sole proprietors, it is a race they can win time and again because as a business owner, it is personal to them.
The magic for me and the ultimate prize is winning the bigger races and moving up to the pinnacle of your field – becoming a true market leader. I look at my industry, I look at my career and to the organizations for whom I have worked. I always appreciated their support, their guidance and felt rightly proud to work for them. Only now though do I see just how difficult that race has been for those running those businesses. So here’s to all of you who lead your respective race and I tip my hat to those at the very top of their field. I hope you keep reading my rambles and I’m looking forward to sharing my stories with you when we graze up against the proverbially wall, and hopefully when we overtake that next competitor and push on towards our ultimate race!