The Illness of Entrepreneurialism

For fun:

  • Take an ordinary piece of paper; roll it over a pencil just enough so that you can slip the pencil back out
  • tape it so that it remains in that shape
  • Cut one end at an angle, and then nip each side of the angle cut with your scissors
  • Gently suck air from one end

If you’ve done this right, it will make a cool flutter horn sound, to my ears far exceeding the charm of vuvuzelas used by South African soccer fans.

My Dad showed me how to make this toy back when I was probably in the 5th grade.  I made a bunch of them, and sold them for a nickel apiece to classmates on my bus – at least until my customers discovered that it wasn’t so difficult to knock-off.

I know that I also went on to sell rubber dog toys, flower seeds, chocolate bars, and just about anything else that I thought I could entice someone to buy. I was, and suppose still am, an entrepreneur.  It’s in my DNA. It’s probably an illness.

A copy of Carol Roth’s “The Entrepreneur Equation” recently found its way into my library. Loved it. Recommend it to anyone with any hint of my disease. The book is a gold mine of that wonderful type of no-nonsense advice you might be lucky enough to get if you have a savvy entrepreneurial friend that will go out for cocktails with you.

When Roth writes something like the following, you feel like you’re getting the goods for someone that is in the know:

“Now that we have gotten into trouble from listening to the feel-good stuff, I believe we are more ready and willing to hear and accept a reality check. I don’t know why so many advisors don’t give reality checks:; maybe because the advice is uncomfortable to give and receive, maybe because then they can’t take their ’37 Secrets to a Successful Business’ book and supercharge it a couple of years later to be the ’39 Secrets to a Successful Business- with Two All-New Ground-breaking Secrets That Are Critical to Your Success’ and so on. For whatever reason, most don’t deliver, like I am doing here, a reality check that says, “Hey, 90 percent of you probably shouldn’t own a business”

It used to be, in the early part of the 20th century, that entrepreneurs had quite a few resources for learning how to become better business people.  Despite the fact that business schools were just starting to ramp up (they weren’t even teaching something called “marketing” yet!) – Civic organizations like the Rotary Club played a much larger part in business education.

The Rotary was, of course, focused on service.  But meetings were often accompanied by talks on things like “the Metaphysics of Business”, “Playing the Game of Work (Unique Methods to Increase Efficiency in Business)”, and “Shakespeare as Salesman and Advertising Man” – all articles from the July 1914 ‘The Rotarian’.  Where, today, do entrepreneurs get this type of information today?

In online marketing, we have a lot of resources – we have Blog World, Sobcon, OMMA, etc.  But strictly speaking, regional entrepreneurs don’t have the resource available to them.  This is why John Mallen is providing his COMPAS Workshop next Monday (May 16th, 2011), here at DragonSearch. John has over 40 years of experience in business, and brings a lot of knowledge of “old school” communication to bear on his experience with new media.

We’re also giving some workshops here in Kingston – focusing on the basics of online marketing, web, Google, and the Google ad system. Our small business training will be taking place on June 2nd and June 23rd.

Entrepreneurs, as Carol Roth points out, do have a rough go of it, and most will not carry through.  If in our communities we create more opportunities for businesses to become better, they will create more value not only for themselves, but for our collective communities.  If you’re reading this, and you are at all in any position to make these types of events happen, consider this encouragement. If you’re a nascent entrepreneur, please look around – there are more resources available than what you might know of.

Do you have any favorite entrepreneur resources?  Please share here!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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