Business ownership and being an entrepreneur is about “I am responsible”. At times, this is interpreted as “I have the total freedom to do what I want.”
Success stories rarely include major failures along the way, the proverbial blood spilled, families splitting, health failing and people harmed.
The difficulties can be avoided if they did not have a syndrome that prioritizes theirr hunger for freedom.
My response to those wanting to start a business or become an entrepreneur "Avoid the Freedom Syndrome”
The Freedom Syndrome:
- I want to try anything I want based on my ideas (gut feelings) without anyone getting in the way.
- I want to express my thoughts and feelings in any way I like and expect 100% cooperation (obedience) from my employees, family, friends, investors.
- Instead of being required to follow rules, I want to make rules, set guidelines and be the exception to external rules.
- I want to make decisions based on how I feel emotionally. (excited/fun/happy or sad/mad/resentful)
- I don't want to share my ideas, strategies and plans. When people help, they must trust me.
Those with "The Freedom Syndrome" or more likely to see high turnover, low morale, inconsistent results and undependable.
Who is a savvy entrepreneur?
You can tell which entrepreneurs have savvy because they will:
- Ask for input before buying a mouse trap company.
- Have a support system to help them balance and resist negatives inside their head.
- Know to live by the calendar. Create a plan and stick with it, even when distractions and “new opportunities” look shiny.
- Build a strong foundation with systems and teams.
- Re-evaluate the plan once a quarter, semi-annually and annually to allow the team to adapt schedules and improve skills.
The reason entrepreneurs fail is very likely not based on incompetence. Many are geniuses. It is because they have “The Freedom Syndrome”.
They believe that going into business gives them a license to make judgment calls and ignore important principles. While technically this is true, there are serious consequences which can grow like cancer; invisible and incurable.
Very difficult decisions can include:
- Firing or hiring advisors (or utilizing them better and holding them accountable)
- Adding or firing an advisory board
- Letting staff go
- Terminating or not renewing leases
- Eliminating products
- Cancelling services
- Increasing prices (or decreasing)
- hange schedule (including number of hours)
- This one is particularly difficult as so many entrepreneurs blend personal and business schedules.)
- Reducing volunteer work
- Selling equipment
- Changing personal relationships with employees
- Sharing too much or too little with customers and clients
- Decrease being reactionary and be proactive
- …and the list goes on.
“I want my cake, to eat it and have other people bring me more cake automatically”.
The new world of media is sure to shine the light on those who make it look easy. It is easy to forget that Superheroes had to start from scratch.
Everyone loves the idea of having more freedom of choice. Unfortunately, taking too much freedom when owning a business offers only short-term happiness.
Here are resources to break free from "The Freedom Syndrome":
- John Mattone University offers: "Intelligent Leadership Program" here >
Use a buddy system – Have a trusted advisor, coach, key player toss spaghetti against the wall with you weekly.
- Use Skype, Fuze or other tools here.
Set up a free advisory board
- Follow the steps in this book.
Understand your Core Value Index and hire/collaborate with others who provide balance
- It takes 10 minutes, costs nothing and priceless. Find it here.
Send yourself emails on a timer and read them as your own customer/client/staff.
Make a monthly / quarterly calendar and stick to it.
- Put new opportunities and ideas on “idea board” to discuss/consider at the next meeting. Here is an AWESOME online idea board software tool. You can use “TheBrain” as a mindmap. I have used it for years.
Sharpen your “Perspective Taking” which is more valuable and effective than empathy
- Read “To Sell is Human” by Daniel Pink here.
Begin with the end in mind and prioritize First-Things-First.
- Read “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Managers” by Stephen Covey here.
Without a mission, the fight is to get through the day/week/month vs. fighting for a purpose.
- Watch this video about "mission".
With a new mindset, new tools, new knowledge... you are no longer the old you. It is a new adventure. You have a fresh mind, heart and perspective with no commitments other than to create success.
Freedom to choose includes choosing how to get input and how to balance your best skills with the best of what others can bring to the mission.