I love LinkedIn and definitely recognize its value. But, see too many questions about starting businesses that are way off the mark. Too “what if” oriented and too academic. For many of us, starting a business was a visceral experience. We didn’t calculate and plan to the extreme: we just did it! It was a “need.” We worked eight and a half months without a day off, from early morning to late into the night! When I started my company, people would ask me, “what if you fail?” And I would reply, “does Muhammad Ali ever enter the ring anticipating failure?” I saw myself as a champion too. I couldn’t fail, wouldn’t allow it!
My business plan was based upon behaviors. I got up early every morning and ran three miles. It was self discipline and important to have a lot of energy. Right off the bat it was the behavior of a winner! I identified how many phone calls I had to make to set a certain number of appointments and then how many appointments I would have to make to actually close sales. Then I would simply dial the phone and execute. And the sales came, as they always did when I worked for other companies.
Other clients got laid off, bought a machine, put it in their garage and started making products for one customer. That customer grew, they bought another machine, another customer came along and 20 years later they have 15 machines, 35 employees and many customers. Another decided not to relocate and started a small company to compete. He has gone from three employees to 50 over the years. There are many stories like that. These are they “everyday entrepreneurs” you don’t read about.
That is the “real” experience for the vast majority of small business owners. For whatever reason, they didn’t believe they had any other choice but to go into business for themselves and failure was not an option. I remember asking a client many years ago why he went into business for himself and he replied, “Because I’m fundamentally unemployable. I can’t work for anyone else.” That answer was brilliant.