Last week I attended an excellent forum of entrepreneurs sponsored by the OSU Business Builders club. The entrepreneurs excelled in their messages of practicality. Yes, practicality. Not stories of how to become rich. Not stories of how they were the ideal model of businessmen.
It got me thinking about the Arnold Fitness Expo, which is running today in Columbus, Ohio. This world-scale event began as a body-building competition. Body-builders are the exemplar of focus on muscle development. As we nowadays view entrepreneurs as the exemplar of focus on business development.
With the inspiration of these world-class body builders, the Arnold has evolved into a celebration of a wide range of sports activities that contribute to physical fitness. The competitions function as an inspiration for thousands of attendees to become fit.
Now to business builders. Rather than look at the practical messages of these entrepreneurs as guidance only on how to become entrepreneurs, perhaps we should take a cue from the Arnold and view their messages as guidance on how to be fit businesses even for those who don’t aspire to the extreme fitness of entrepreneurship.
These are their messages. I don’t view them as unique to entrepreneurs, but rather how to have a healthier business career and personal life.
- Everett Taylor: don’t go it alone, always have someone else closely involved. There are no silver bullets or magic formulas. Hard and persistent work is always necessary. Have a team which shares your passion yet brings skills and perspectives that balance your own rather than look for people that are your reflection.
- Danny Ortiz: business has bumps; life has bumps. Passion for what you do is what gets you past the tough times.
- Roger Blackwell: Most businesses fail because of Too Much Capital, which allows their businesses to get bigger without necessitating the validation that what they do meets the needs and wants of customers. Make sure that what you do is valued by someone other than yourself.
- Jason Fried: no matter how smart you are or how perfect is your execution, success will always involve some luck. If you are successful, have the humility that luck and help from other people were a part of your formula for success.
Practical advice for everyone, not just the body-builders/entrepreneurs at the apex of physical/business fitness.
Allen Proctor, President & CEO
Center for Social Enterprise Development