In my previous post we discussed the role of an intentional Community to lasting, entrepreneurial success. Again, I referenced back to my franchise days to find the second cornerstone.
As a potential franchisee investigates their new opportunity, he/she goes through a rigorous due-diligence process. In the world of independent small business, this concept is virtually unheard of. Some do some research and others not at all. There are no standards and few expectations of due-diligence. Hence, our Entrepreneurial Readiness programs. We help potential business owners arrive at the right decision-before they commit. Through Readiness, our clients learn about entrepreneurship, connect with a new and necessary network, build their “competitive best” business model, create startup strategy and, most importantly, begin to transform from employees to entrepreneurial leaders.
Readiness is a concept that is near and dear to my heart. It should be. It’s my specialty within The Legacy Center. Here’s how I approach Readiness with a new client: It’s like preparing a garden for new planting. The garden though, has not been used in many years. In fact, it’s been labeled something from its glorious past: butterfly garden, herb garden or vegetable garden- just as my clients have been labeled engineer or marketing professional or whatever their title was.
The first steps in preparing the garden are to rip off the old label, test the soil and inventory the resources. We need to see what “ingredients” we have to work with. Everyone’s soil is different-this is what I love most about working with my eclectic client base. Every story is a new one! As the client does the inventory, they begin to see that they are much more than whatever their past position labeled them as. This is where it begins to get exciting!
What can we create with the ingredients at hand?
We carefully pick and choose our ingredients for this very special soil mixture. Soon, an idea pops up (it always does). Are we ready to plant it yet? No. We need some more information. This is where we dive into creating the potential business model. No decisions are made yet. Lots of questions are asked. Options are weighed. People are connected. Research is started. The future business owner learns.
Did you catch that last part? The future business owner learns. They are immersed in entrepreneurial activity and mindset. They begin to think and act like a business owner; taking accountability, being creative, seeking opportunity, adjusting when necessary. They learn new skills and re-purpose old ones, e.g. marketing within an international company is NOT the same as marketing a local small business. They identify what skills are necessary for them to have or….not, e.g. bookkeeping. EVERY business owner needs to have the books done. We should all know something about it. But, we don’t have to do the bookkeeping (thank goodness!!).
NOTE: As we identify “ingredients” I guide my clients in the use of positive psychology findings such as building from strengths; awareness of but never an emphasis on overcoming weaknesses; seeking opportunity rather than being overly concerned about threats (such as competition); building and leveraging entrepreneurial, curious and growth-mindedness as opposed to stalling in the ingrained employee mindset, and much more. Rather than constrict our options we open them up-just like a flower in spring!
Very soon, we identify the seeds of one or two business models. We plant them, nurture them along and watch to see what grows. One will be more viable than the other if we’ve planted two. This is the one we move into startup!
Startup is another part of readiness. It’s the “checklist” stuff that needs to be done. I’m losing energy just writing about it! Thank goodness for our accountants and lawyers who help DO the startup. At this point, as trusted advisor to my client, I’m still in creating, teaching and advising mode. Is this going to fly? Are we on the right track? What else should we be considering?
The primary goal of Readiness is to be prepared to make a decision. Through most of the checklist phase of startup there is still time to reconsider. Maybe a great job offer comes along or someone hears what you’re up to and wants to partner with you or you simply decide this life isn’t for you. Yes, once you’ve stepped into startup you are more than likely committed but it’s not too late to turn and run, change things up or decide to take more time.
Why am I telling you this? I’ve seen many false starts. Approaching both the initial exploration AND the subsequent startup as part of Readiness will help you to lay a solid foundation on which to grow your business. Your soil will be richer, your seed stronger, the plant that grows will be healthy, productive and long-living.
You will give yourself a huge competitive advantage if you pay attention to YOUR Readiness!
I wish you much success!
P.S. I tend to get excited about this topic! Let’s continue with DEVELOPMENT in a second post!