Entrepreneurs: Stop Chasing The Jam Tomorrow!

I am lucky through my marketing consultancy to work with a lot of people who I call entrepreneurial in spirit. Whilst I used the term ‘entrepreneur’ in the title, my definition of that term is someone who has a very successfull and profitable business and has probably already sold another.

There are many other people who I call entreprenueurial in spirit. They have a business, it is going quite well, but something stops them from making it as successful as they need or would like it to be.

Usually it is one thing, and this one thing needs very strong handling or it causes problems on an ongoing basis. It is their very ‘entrepreneurial spirit’, which, whilst embraced by our media at the moment, is often responsible for stopping so many businesses from reaching their true potential.

Malcolm Gladwell in his excellent book ‘Outliers’ (although his book ‘Blink’ is by far my favourite for business owners), makes the observation across many areas of sport, business and leisure, that most people reach their full potential after 10,000 hours worth of experience.

I have been running my marketing consultancy for nearly 10 years now, working as a marketing consultant for at least 40 hours a week, say 46 weeks of the year to allow for Bank Holidays etc, which means I passed 10,000 hours around five years after I launched. It will be the same for most people. Isn’t it interesting then that businesses are widely quoted as successful after five years on the basis that if they survive that long, they are likely to be around for a much longer period of time than those failing in the first three to five years. Coincidence or applied science of Malcolm Gladwell’s 10,000 hours principle?

So what is the problem with the business owners who I regularly meet who have this ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ but do not fulfill their potential?

They have too many ideas!

They have so many brilliant business ideas which they know will make them wealthy beyond their widest dreams that they never buckle down and make their main business successful.

I have seen this with accountants who chase a new big idea (jam tomorrow), failing to ensure that they have enough clients to pay the bills now (bread today), and with consultants who come up with excellent website ideas which can make them rich beyond their wildest dreams, but fail to win any consultancy business month on month to pay their bills now. I have seen it in every business sector that exists, and it is very sad to see.

I believe that I have ‘entrepreneurial spirit’; I have a list of business ideas I am interested in as long as my arms and legs, but I lock them away, focusing on my current marketing consultancy to ensure that that reaches its’ full potential.

It is only by focusing on your core business, getting that working to full capacity, and then automating the marketing of that business so that the leads keep coming with or without your input that you can create the income you need to then allow you to explore some of the other opportunities.

Do you jump from one exciting project to the next, neglecting your ‘bread today’ income in the process? Do you chase the ‘next shiny big and bright idea’ that is going to make you rich one day, yet ignore the work that is paying the bills right now?

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