Understand Your Gaps & Fill Them With Talented People
Think Big, Yet Be Very Realistic In Assessing What Your Company Needs to Grow
This is the fifth article, in a six part series in which we are reviewing the six most important truths that all entrepreneurial-minded scientists and/or inventors should understand in their quest to turn an idea or invention into a home-run multi-million dollar business.
By definition, an entrepreneur thinks up big, audacious ideas and believes, with a high degree of certainty, that he or she can create a Basketball. This aspiration is essential. An entrepreneur definitely needs to wear “rose-colored” glasses and to dream big. In his or her mind, there is a basketball – the David statue within the marble (see Blog Post #1). Otherwise, for example, Fred Smith would have never started Federal Express after receiving a C grade on his business plan.
I am also certain there is a cavalcade of additional examples of entrepreneurs who succeeded when almost everyone else said their idea was not good and that it would always be a Marble. Bottom line: An entrepreneur absolutely needs to have strong convictions and the passion to turn the dream into reality.
Most important and, perhaps the most valuable advice I can give — an entrepreneur must match this intensity of vision with a deep, internal assessment of reality, i.e. have a clear understanding of what it will take to turn this shiny Marble into a company that can grow, sustain itself, and reach the vision of the Basketball. Put another way, the entrepreneur must clearly understand, without illusion or hockey-stick projection, the time commitment and work effort required, the capital investment required to support this projected work effort, and the number of new, paying customers needed to reach future growth milestones/projections.
This “internally and honest” gap assessment is critical as it frees up the entrepreneur to shed these “rose-color” glasses and see if these milestones can be accomplished alone or with the current, talented people already in the company. To reiterate from the 4th article in this series, this allows the successful entrepreneur to understand that giving up a piece of a marble is a great thing to do — to the right investors and/or the right team (or person) — in order to have the highest probability of success to meet these milestones.There should be no fear in giving up the proper piece of the company, in its current marble state, to then secure the proper talent, and go for it.
Truth #5 can be summed up as follows: An entrepreneur must think like he or she has a basketball, clearly understand and execute as a marble, and find the right, talented people to help achieve the necessary milestones to attain their vision. If this occurs, then the entrepreneur has a higher probability for success – and will, over time, achieve sustainable growth, as the entrepreneur remains grounded, realizing that basketballs simply do not happen overnight.