Eric Wright

The Achilles Heel of Starters

Just having come through Nashville, I was surprised to see how many young aspiring country western artists were plying their craft and hoping to be discovered in the airport venues.
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How to Avoid Paris’ Arrow  

Just having come through Nashville, I was surprised to see how many young aspiring country western artists were plying their craft and hoping to be discovered in the airport venues. I’m sure their aspirational dreams are as big and bold as many of the entrepreneurs in our area who are trying to leverage their unique idea, approach or product into a crowded and competitive marketplace.

Entrepreneurs and artists are a courageous and hearty lot, but like invincible Achilles they all have a vulnerable heel. Which, surprisingly they don’t need an adversary like Paris to hit; they often shoot themselves.

Many Hats, But One Fit

It is the nature of entrepreneurialism that whoever owns the vision and is committed to its realization will have to wear a number of hats, so says Code School’s Gregg Pollack. This happens because there are things that simply have to get done. Scott Sims of Victory Tailgate commented, “My reputation and the future of my company was dependent on the product I put out the door and no one owned that responsibility like I did.” So, he did it himself, for a while.

As the company scales, the entrepreneur will strangle growth unless he or she lets it go. Most of us can do almost anything, but we do relatively few things well and only one or two things extraordinarily well, while enjoying it. Staying in the sweet spot of our ability, maximum productivity and personal satisfaction, while giving others opportunity is imperative.

Nothing Fails Like Success

Because the entrepreneur, by necessity, has to play many different roles and those actions brought a certain measure of success and reinforcement, one can assume they are experts in everything.

It is a universal experience with doctors, accountants, attorneys, but most of all with marketing professionals, to encounter people who seek them out for advice, but know more than they do. How many times I have heard, “My nephew is a wiz with computers, and he built my website,” which is like thinking your nephew who likes to tinker around with cars can build you one.

Think about it; few business owners would be caught dead driving a car that costs less than $3,500. But they think they are geniuses when they get a website, which is their primary marketing vehicle and their storefront door to the world, for less than $3,500.

Ignore the Man Behind the Curtain

There is another common denominator I notice with successful entrepreneurs and business leaders. The ones we feature this month are incredibly bright, industrious and confident, but they are a pretty humble lot as well. Unlike the Wizard in L. Frank Baum’s classic, who hid behind the curtain so everyone would believe in the “Great and Powerful Oz,” authenticity and transparency is the hallmark of their leadership.

It was great advice; “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain!” If someone is hiding behind a curtain, whatever the curtain is, there is a reason to ignore them.


This article appears in the December 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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