Many entrepreneurs suffer from ‘Entrepreneur’s Disease’ or ‘Founder’s Disease’, the inability to let go any aspect of your business, for fear of losing control.
The disease manifests itself uniquely in each individual; some might display more of one characteristic and less of another. The problem is nearly always fatal. It may take one year; it may take twenty years: eventually it will take its toll and claim the life of your organisation.
It’s heart-breaking to think that the person who loves the company the most is the one who is most likely to kill it. As an entrepreneur myself, I am very aware of my own tendencies to display these characteristics, and, like a member of AA, there’s nothing wrong with falling off the wagon once in a while, as long as you keep working your steps and get back on top of the beast that is trying to ruin your company.
The beast that lies deep within you.
The reasons we display these characteristics are different for each person, but mostly can be put down to a combination of insecurity and pride. Some business owners might justify this by saying that it’s the early stages of their business and it’s imperative for them to stay on top of every aspect of the new venture, but the truth is that this disease is not your friend.
Those characteristics you pride yourself in are the bane of your business, and are to blame for the trouble you keep getting into.
Some of the symptoms of someone suffering from Entrepreneur’s Disease are:
Patient won’t take advice from anyone.
Patient knows everything.
Patient always has a reason why the advice is invalid and should be ignored.
- I’ll do it myself:
Patient works themself to death.
Patient refuses to delegate.
Patient doesn’t take holidays.
- I know best:
Patient hires ‘yes men’ that won’t question them
Patient hires staff that are inexperienced
Patient has all the answers to every question
- Can’t say no:
Patient has too many great ideas and can’t say no to any of them
Patient can’t prioritise so the team run around trying to do everything at once
- I’m never wrong:
Patient refuses to admit they might be wrong.
Patient is reading this right now and thinks, ‘Luckily this doesn’t apply to me’
There’s no cure for Founder’s Disease, but there are things you can do to manage it. Just remember it’s going to take a lot of commitment to manage these weaknesses that are undermining your success.
Patient needs to say ‘I have the best team out there, I can’t do it without them’ at least three times a day.
A study was done years ago by Harvard Business Review on the oldest and most successful companies in the USA, and the character trait they found most prevalent in the CEOs of each company was humility. CEOs said that it was their amazing team, management and staff that led to the success of the company and took no credit for themselves.
- Let your staff fail:
Patient needs to say ‘Why don’t you give it a bash, shout if you get stuck’
Your staff will learn through their mistakes, they will also feel a sense of ownership and responsibility that comes from being trusted.
Patient needs to say ‘Maybe this strategy isn’t working for me anymore, maybe I need to change something in my life to see a different result this time’
Are the same issues coming up in your business time and again? Maybe life is trying to tell you something? Maybe it’s not everyone else: maybe it’s you.
- Ask for help by Delegating or Outsourcing:
Patient needs to say ‘I’m not sure, what do you think?’ at least three times a day, and not to the mirror!
It’s impossible for one person to have all the skills and abilities required to run a business on their own. Inevitably, you will neglect one or more areas that you have no prior experience or affinity with.
Making your money work for you
One of the areas I’ve seen many entrepreneurs battle with is marketing and sales. Most business owners are experts in their line of work, whether it is machinery or human behaviour, they know who their customers are and what they need.
The challenge they face is how to find more customers and how to reach them cost effectively.
This isn’t the 80s, a time when budgets were unlimited and champagne flowed. These days businesses have to turn every marketing cent over twenty times before committing it, and then they can only afford to spend on channels that show a definite return on investment.
Outsourcing your sales and marketing might seem far-fetched, but many successful entrepreneurs and established businesses are doing just that. By bringing in a team of highly trained professionals, the business owners can focus on what they’re good at (which is running their businesses) while the marketing team can focus on what they’re good at (which is bringing new business).
Digital channels can be very effective ways of reaching new customers without breaking the bank, and the nice thing about online, is that everything is measurable, so you know just what your marketing money is doing for you.
Outsourcing sales is also fairly new to most entrepreneurs, but has provided excellent results for those business owners who admit they don’t like selling, and who happily engage with a company to find leads, qualify them, meet them and close the sale on their behalf.
Doing everything yourself is so ‘nineties’. These days entrepreneurs are asking for help, from outsourcing their HR to outsourcing their accounting, and now marketing and sales.
There’s no shame in standing on the shoulders of giants. Focus on what you’re good at and let the experts support you in growing your business.
21 Inspiring Quotes About Success, Persistence And What It Means To Be An Entrepreneur
Leaders of companies big and small share the mindset it takes to achieve your dreams in the face of all obstacles.
True, being an entrepreneur can be exhausting, lonely, frustrating and terrifying. But it’s worth every drop of blood, sweat and tears when you are pursuing your passion, turning your dream into a reality.
In an ongoing series called Real Entrepreneurs, we pick the brains of founders and leaders about what it is like to have every decision big and small rest on their shoulders and have compiled their thoughts on what it takes to succeed on the long, sometimes crazy journey of an entrepreneur.
The Mindset Strategy From The “Rock Star” Coach Can Turn Your Beliefs Into Results
William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths shares his mindset secret to ongoing entrepreneurial success.
William Badenhorst, a Director of Global Strengths, is a coach to the coaches. His “Rock Star” attitude along with the deep driving desire to help others find their true selves formed the fabric of a highly interesting and entertaining interview.
The rolling thunder of his voice brought forth quote after quote, quip after quip and wisdom after wisdom. As a “peak performance coach” to professional athletes, celebrities, entrepreneurs and corporate career orientated individuals, William believes that knowing who you truly are as an individual is the catalyst for lasting growth and useful change in business and in life in general.
His intense eyes and energetic hand gestures emphasized one of his core beliefs and that is that we all are nothing but our very own beliefs.
“Everyone is focused on Results”
Everyone is always focusing on the outcome – the results they want. But what creates results? Let’s do some reverse engineering. In order to achieve RESULTS we need to take ACTION. And in order to take ACTION we need to make a DECISION. To make a DECISION, we need to think about it – THOUGHTS.
The interesting thing about humans is that we do not create our thoughts, we can only control them. So what does create your thoughts? Your BELIEFS creates your THOUGHTS. So ultimately your BELIEFS creates your RESULTS.
“You don’t attract what you want, you attract what you are.”
It is our very own limiting beliefs, such as for example that “I am not good enough” and “I am not deserving” and “I’m not worthy ” that creates barriers to our own success in entrepreneurial ventures and in our lives. In order to reach our limitless potential we must find and remove the self-created barriers that hold us back.
Although he loves the interaction and benefits of social media he is quick to point out that it also has created a fantasy of who and what we should be. He advises to not to adopt such fantasy as your desired reality but to instead be who you really are as an individual and goes on to quote the famous Greek philosopher Socrates:
“Know thyself, Be thyself and Love thyself”
You always end up falling back on your beliefs -whether they are empowering or disempowering. The challenge with that is that a large number of your beliefs are unconscious especially when you have not put in the work to find out what your belief system truly is.
Through his vast experience as a coach he realized that a large number of people veer away from self-awareness as they are afraid of being judged for whom they truly are.
The conversation naturally evolved into the exploration of the true meaning of the concept of faith and William’s mind grasped at a Quote from the apostle Paul:
“Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen”
He went on to explain that faith is evidence of true-self which creates certainty which in turn is equal to confidence. Confidence brings a certain state where everything flows. He calls it “Peak State”. He further advises to search for evidence of who you really are and gain belief in yourself.
Advice to young entrepreneurs
William’s thoughts on self-development for entrepreneurs are to get a Coach. If you are already in business and don’t have a Coach – get one! Begin with taking extreme ownership and responsibility of everything in your life. And when you do that you win.
Stop blaming everything and everyone around you. Stop complaining about circumstances. You are in control and it is up to you to make it happen. There are no un-resourceful people, there are only un-resourceful states. Go where you are celebrated not tolerated and love yourself unconditionally. Remove the very unrealistic expectations of what and who you should be and authentically be yourself. Believe in yourself and go all in on YOU!
Become the best form of yourself because as an entrepreneur you are the business. Play to your strengths and manage your weaknesses. You do not need a title to lead, have massive self-belief and others will follow.
Have an attitude of constant learning:
“If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room”
And then yet another quote rolled off his tongue that put me in a self-reflective mood:
“A person that shines from within does not need a spotlight”
William Badenhorst, the father, the coach, the entrepreneur and key note speaker left the author and the reader with a question of mesmerising depth:
“What if you woke up this morning with only the things that you were grateful for last night?”
Gratitude is everything!
How You Can Move From Your Potential To Your Purpose
“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff
Let’s face it, we all know that when wanting to achieve something different, you need to do something different. The challenge isn’t in wanting the different, it’s in doing the different!
Mark Twain said, “The two most important days of your life are the day you were born and the day you find out why”.
I love that because it highlights the importance of knowing that you have a purpose, and that you need to find it or design it, then live it, love it and look after it.
You have heard it said or said it yourself…”that person has huge potential, if only they would…”. It’s great to have potential but potential doesn’t equate to purpose. They are like elastics, just sitting there on the desk, and it’s not much good to anyone just sitting there. You see there is a gap between potential and purpose and that gap is called ‘The Stretch’.
For that elastic to move from potential to purpose it needs to be stretched, and only once its stretched and put round a bunch of pens does that elastic really move into its purpose. We are a lot like elastics, we need to be stretched to move from potential to purpose. The stretch isn’t always easy because we tend to get twisted out of shape when we need to do something different. However, the stretch is not designed to change who we are, just change how we are.
Here are a few ideas to help you in The Stretch.
Think about what you think about – it’s all in your perspective
Things are achieved or not achieved depending on how we think about them. Do you focus on the obstacles or the opportunities? It’s easy to see the obstacles, the key is to choose which one you going to focus on. Obstacles will always get in the way of opportunities if you let them. So, remain attentive to the possibilities that opportunity brings.
That means you need to position yourself in the way of opportunity, get in its way – make something happen, don’t just sit there! There’s a catch to this one though, opportunity never travels alone, it always comes with responsibility. Do you have the ability to respond to the opportunity? Are you taking responsibility, often we are given it, but we don’t really take it! You need to take and own the responsibility to maximise the opportunity!
Beware of distraction
‘Dis’ – a prefix meaning reversal, or the absence of action and traction refers to grip. When you get distracted you lose grip and that’s dangerous. Imagine driving, suddenly, you’ve lost traction, you are heading in the wrong direction, you may even end up going backwards.
Make sure you stick to what you need to do, create daily productive habits that will help you achieve in the long term. Grow your capacity and increase your footprint. Gain traction by repeating what works for you, that way your practice becomes repeatable and your brand becomes reputable. Don’t stop moving, its easier to change direction while you are still moving, than it is to start moving.
Things don’t always work out
Employ the “What’s Wrong – What’s Next?” philosophy. When things go wrong with people, products or plans, we can get caught up in drama. There’s no time for drama, simply define what went wrong and decide what needs to be done next to fix it. Once fixed, then deal with the doer of the wrong, but deal with them in the right way too…you still don’t need drama!
“Value isn’t in opinion, it’s in perspective” – Wes Boshoff
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