Change… Because Failure is not an Option

change-course

Like a ship at sea, a business should make directional changes in a long, sweeping manner. Conversely, although abrupt change in direction may create havoc, it may be deemed necessary by the captain and navigation team to avoid what may not be apparently visible on the surface to others on the ship, but is evident nonetheless through compilation of data and viewing radar. In any event, well thought-out plans, including contingency plans must be in place and acted upon to arrive safely at a specific destination within a certain time frame, and with available resources.

However, what happens when seas are rough, or when a storm is approaching, or when an engine shuts down? It’s then the captain’s responsibility to crew and passengers, and to the ship’s stakeholders to make any and all necessary changes to ensure all interests are protected. Thereafter, when the ship is safely docked, management must review the events that took place and explore options to ensure the same problems don’t reoccur. Management must identify ways to improve performance by developing strategy and executing on tactical plans to accomplish objectives at all required intervals – short, mid and long-term.

Change requires thought and planning. As does operating a successful business. As change occurs, many within the business are exposed to decisions that on the surface appear to be “drastic or severe” and are not understood and/or agreed upon. However, what is typically not realized are areas of weakness and vulnerability that must be addressed and with the utmost sense of urgency. In many cases there are common denominators across multiple areas of the business. Most will be directly attributable to reduction in sales. Some will adversely affect profitability.

Unfortunately, financial concerns are back and now even more so than during the economic downturn of 2008-2012. But, as was the case back then, deficiencies, previously overshadowed by high sales levels are standing out once again like sore thumbs. Accepting these facts while realizing limitations and shortcomings is vitally important, but knowing what and how to improve [and change] is required. Being proactive and acting now is paramount!

Change what needs to be changed. Prioritize changes that will make the most immediate impact. Grow into the changes that aren’t urgent. But, do it all within the time frame where challenges present themselves as survival may be dependent upon the same. Change, as unpopular as it might be, is necessary to recover AND to move forward. To this end, hard decisions must be made – with absolute conviction and without delay for the good of the business and ultimately, for all within the business. Yes, change is difficult. But so is failure, and failure is not an option!

Entrepreneurship: Ideas and the Courage (Nerve) to See Them Through

“I always thought you needed to be innovative, original, to be an entrepreneur. Now I have a different perception. Entrepreneurs are the ones that make things happen. (That) takes focus, diligence, discipline, flexibility and perseverance. They can take an innovative idea and make it impactful. … successful entrepreneurs are also ones who take challenges in stride, adapt and adjust plans to accommodate whatever problems do come up.”

Steve Blank launched the Lean Startup movement. His work has changed how startups are built, how entrepreneurship is taught and how existing companies and the U.S. government innovate.

Read more…

Entrepreneurs Who Create Startup Businesses Have to Be Crazy

People who start companies are, without a doubt, just a little bit crazy. And people who start more than one company? Deranged lunatics — all of them! Why? Because it’s insanely hard! You’re signing up for a ridiculous amount of work. Your startup journey will be the wildest ride of your life.

Read more…

Poker or Chess?

Do you plan your business strategy like you’re playing chess or poker? But, before you answer, consider the following…

“Industry executives and analysts often mistakenly talk about strategy as if it were some kind of chess match. But in chess, you have just two opponents, each with identical resources, and with luck playing a minimal role. The real world is much more like a poker game, with multiple players trying to make the best of whatever hand fortune has dealt them. In industry, Bill Gates owns the table until someone proves otherwise.”

– Deep thoughts by David Moschella

Is Courage a Necessary Trait for Success?

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We never really hear enough about courage. The courage to take a risk, to stretch limits, to push forward, to go beyond, to keep moving… to make things happen regardless of the challenges in front of us.

Think about the early-day pioneers crossing the Midwest when they first caught a glimpse of the Rocky Mountains and stared at them getting bigger and bigger as they approached over a few days. What unbelievable courage they must’ve had to continue not only towards the mountains, but up into them and through them, often having to go north or south for awhile to keep making progress forward, and despite the elements of weather and resulting hardships. They believed in their dreams and as a result of their relentless courage, their goals were achieved.

The Cowardly Lion’s Thoughts on Courage

In his most famous song, the Lion muses on what it would be like if he had ​any courage (not realizing he already has plenty):

Cowardly Lion: [singing]
I’m afraid there’s no denyin’
I’m just a dandy-lion
A fate I don’t deserve
I’m sure I could show my prowess
Be a lion, not a mouse
If I only had the nerve.

Clarifying Entrepreneurship

EntrepreneurshipWhy is their reluctance to say, I am an entrepreneur? I’ve been asked that question many times. Heck, I’ve asked that question of myself on more than one occasion. It seems, at times we’re more proud to call ourselves, Founder or CEO or to say, I’m a business owner. Why is that?

Are those titles more respectful than, entrepreneur? Yet, we hear of late, we’re in an entrepreneurial economy. So, is that a bad thing or a good thing, and especially if we have a hard time fully admitting to entrepreneurship? Or, should we just be entrepreneurial in how we approach our work, whatever that truly means? 

Are we claiming to be in an entrepreneurial economy to justify the disappearance of the lifelong career at one company and this is just a way to say we need to create and prove ourselves over and over again, and forget the gold watch?

Back to the reference of being an entrepreneur… Is there a stigma of being a dreamer, always looking for something better, bigger, faster as opposed to what some believe is mundane, repetitive work with the security of a paycheck? Often I hear it’s mostly due to yesterday’s immigrant mindset of being thankful to just have a job, yet it’s that same immigrant mindset that is the epitome of entrepreneurship. 

Living our fears
…we are living our fears.

Actually, I believe it’s because of fear – fear of failure, fear of what other people think, fear of the unknown, fear of the what if, fear of starting over, fear of change… But it’s when those fears are hit head-on and the adrenaline rush of success far outweighs those fears because you know, deep in your heart that you have a deeply ingrained talent that can and will make a difference.

Does that mean failures aren’t possible? Hell no, but it’s working through those failures, those blips, those aberrations that provide experience and resiliency to improve and innovate to make the next step, the next task, the next venture successful. That is entrepreneurship. And, it’s when I don’t consider what I do as entrepreneurship, is when failure mostly occurs. Conversely, it’s when I focus on what I do as an entrepreneur, complete with that thinking outside the box and failure is not an option perspective, and when focused more on results as opposed to opinion of others, THAT is when success mostly occurs.

Yes, I’m an entrepreneur. My focus will stay as such as it is not only good for me, it’s good for my family and for those that rely on me to help them achieve their wishes, hopes and dreams! Why? Because I believe in possibilities, as without them, there are none.