“But why, some say, the moon? Why choose this as our goal? And they may well ask why climb the highest mountain? Why, 35 years ago, fly the Atlantic? Why does Rice play Texas?” – John F. Kennedy, Rice Stadium, September 12, 1962
We’ve explored the “what” and “how” of starting a business, but we’ve only scratched the surface of the age-old question: Why?
Richard Branson said recently his entrepreneurial spirit was born from sour grapes but he channeled it to bring an enriching experience to people. I can attest to the growing of a spirit of entrepreneurial zeal growing out of sour grapes, or, more appropriately, pure, unadulterated rage at being treated like dog crap by my last boss. On a particularly tough month, he said to me, “I guess you and your wife’s baby plans are on hold.” That was it. I looked at him and saw and empty chair. I told him I’d have my stuff out of his office in a week. I took that rage, and built a law firm that’s trained some fine lawyers and has done some pretty crazy things in the service of our clients.
“If you can improve people’s lives, you have a business,” Mr. Branson said. That’s nice. That’s sweet. I prefer to think: “The most dangerous man alive is one with nothing left to lose.” Or, as my brother Aaron might say: “You gotta make rent.” So, lets look at the why you should start a business rather than just dust off the curriculum vitae.
Having superior knowledge in a field is good, but it’s not enough — nor as important — as forging relationships. So, building on your need to connect, here are some more reasons to start a business.
You can manage
Branson’s right. Willingness to engage with people needs to be the cornerstone of your inspiration. You have to be motivated by more than just money or social media impressions — your business needs to make a genuine, lasting impact in order to succeed. Not just on your clients but on your employees and partners as well. The ability to connect and manage are skills you either have or don’t have — if you have it, it’s an edge when going into business.
You are good with Excel
Whether you’re a seller or service provider, organization is key. You need to be able to communicate with accountants, lawyers, bankers, employees, and clients. When talking to investors – don’t give them multimedia presentations, give them spreadsheets. That’s what they want. They want to see that you will be tracking the in and out of your business and watching their money. A bank will, too. Tracking the ins and outs is paramount to a successful business — small or otherwise. For some reason a lot of my peers don’t see this as a priority and are dead wrong.
I have two client companies — one is very passionate but doesn’t have their statements in order. The other one, which is not high-flying, accomplishes their goals better, cheaper and faster, because their Excel spreadsheet is always updated. Who would you give your hard-earned money to?
Next week we’ll discuss more key reasons to launch a business.
Feel free to contact Brinen & Associates for advice about starting your small business.