Recently I got this remark from one of my startup consulting clients during one of our strategy sessions.
She said; “why didn’t I come to you 3 years ago when I just was starting out?”
I replied; “Because you didn’t think it was SO necessary”.
And that’s the sincere answer. She was just starting out for the first time. She was full of her dreams and had great ideas about how her business was going to turn out.
As a matter of fact, she had sufficient technical skills than most of her competitions, after all, she was trained abroad, so why on earth would she need my help? Why should she seek the counsel of a business development consultant? Why should she pay for a strategy session?
But after the second and the third business failure, she knew something was FUNDAMENTALLY wrong. She knew she was missing something. And at that instance, she realized she was a fool for trying it out alone the second and third time.
The reason she finally came to me now for help was because she had started and failed in business 2 times in the last 3 years!
When It’s OK To be FOOLISH
A fool is an unintelligent person.
Somebody considered to lack good sense or judgment.
Actions taken without a good sense or judgment is the cause of mistakes. Mistakes are the results of unintelligent actions. Mistakes were invented to make us better humans. They reveal our foolishness [unintelligence] as humans, making us realize that we don’t and will never know it all. Mistakes and failures humble us.
Now that’s absolutely understandable if you are making those mistakes for the first time. The first time you fail or make a mistake is the only time you should be proud to be a fool –unintelligent.
But when you begin to repeat your mistakes, just as many of us do [including me] then it’s no longer cool to be a fool. Especially, being an entrepreneur. Because every mistake or failure costs you money [which can be replaced] and time [which can never be replaced].
My client didn’t fail once, she failed 3 times and only then did she realize she was a fool for repeating the same mistake twice after the first time.
Why Successful Entrepreneurs Are Better FOOLS
The difference between successful entrepreneurs and the unsuccessful ones is this; the successful ones know the areas where they are complete Fools and the areas where they are complete geniuses.
They never try to deceive themselves into thinking otherwise. They know and accept their limitations as humans and never try to fight against it. The unsuccessful ones, act otherwise.
Here’s the bitter truth, we are all fools –unintelligent in so many aspects of life. Successful entrepreneurs know this and consistently work on minimizing their foolishness by surrounding themselves with smart people.
They know that business is a team sport and the team with the best players win. To win you will need to enlist the help of A-players, people who would cover for your foolishness [unintelligence] in other areas.
And there are two ways of doing this;
- Hire employees for OPERATIONAL help [internal]
- Hire professionals for STRATEGIC help [External]
Trying to argue against this fact is the source of entrepreneurial foolishness. It’s ineffective, costly and deadly. You will end up blaming yourself!
How To Become A Better FOOL In Business
Fighting against your foolishness as an entrepreneur is in fact more foolishness. Rather, embrace it and learn how to become a better fool in business as most successful entrepreneurs do. Below are the 3 guaranteed ways successful entrepreneurs overcome their entrepreneurial foolishness.
1. Identify and Accept Your Weaknesses
You don’t know it all. You will never know it all. Wisdom lies in identifying what you know and accepting what you don’t know.
Don’t feel bad about this, it’s not your fault. It’s just nature. To ensure balance and peaceful co-existence on earth, we’ve all been unequally gifted. No two persons completely have the same gifts or talents. So get used to it!
2. Identify and Maximize Your Strengths
You are unequally gifted than most people in certain areas, it’s your unfair advantage, MAXIMIZE it.
Stop magnifying your foolishness trying to play in other people’s areas of strength when you have none. Focus on your strengths and get help with your weaknesses. Period.
3. Seek External Professional Help for Strategic Issues
In business, there two kinds of issues that will always confront you as an entrepreneur;
1. Operational Issues: these are day to day challenges of running your business. They are issues that affect your today. They are very short term issues. Operational issues is all about doing business.
- Selling/closing a sale
- Freelancing/doing contracts
- Managing your Inventory/stock
- Accepting any and every deal
- Doing paper/administrative work
- Making contacts/networking
- Pursuing more business/revenue
- Servicing existing clients/customers
- Faulty production machine,
- Delayed supply of materials,
- Poor customer feedback/experience,
- Loss of a client.
- And other day-to-day operational requirements
2. Strategic Issues: these are issues that affect the core areas of your business. Their impact is long term, they affect not only today but also tomorrow. Strategic issues is all about building a business.
- Strategic Planning
- Strategic Execution
- Strategic Marketing
- Creating a powerful brand
- Creating a corporate culture/business DNA
- Creating operational processes/structures
- Developing competitive strategy
- Developing innovative products/services
- Developing your people/employees
- Delivering excellent customer services
- Forming strategic partnerships/alliance
- Improving existing products/services
- Launching new products/services
- Research and development
The existence of operational and strategic issues in business is what I refer to as the paradox of business. And your ability to strike a balance between these two kinds of challenges entrepreneurs face in business is the cure to entrepreneurial foolishness and the key to entrepreneurial success.
Over to you
In what areas of your business are you a complete fool? [Lacking sufficient skill and experience.] And how has this impacted your business and entrepreneurial journey?
Kindly share your entrepreneurial foolishness experience in the comment section below.