Much has been said about the countless hoops that entrepreneurs must jump through to get funding and register a business before they even get to run it. And yet little advice is offered on the softer issues, including overcoming the emotional toll that a new business can take on its founder.
Whatever the reasons for this, it doesn’t have to be that way. Successful entrepreneurs have a lot to offer other self-starters in terms of advice on how to overcome the personal difficulties and setbacks of a start-up business, and are often only too happy to give back.
Go it alone – with a partner
One of the most important lessons any entrepreneur can learn is not to carry the burden of a new business all on their own. The most admired technology businesses today – Microsoft, Apple and Google come to mind – were founded by partners, not sole entrepreneurs.
Or someone who can play the part
A single-founder business can conceivably succeed on the strength of a singular, undiluted vision, but all indications are that ‘duo’ businesses tend to be stronger and last longer. For this reason, even if you are a solitary founder-CEO, you might benefit from having someone who can fulfil the role of a partner.
Find someone who is also a businessperson and has the skills you lack. Your accountant is a good candidate – he or she knows everything about your business and can give valuable perspective without any risk of exposure. As a business owner in their own right, he or she is sufficiently senior to be offered the role of financial director in your business, should the chemistry be there.
Or even just a mentor
If skills are not what you require, it may still be helpful to forge a close bond with a mentor – not necessarily someone with strategic advice pertaining to your specific business, but someone with the perspective that comes with general business experience.
Many business experiences are universal, and a sympathetic ear from an experienced person may be all that’s needed to get you through a seemingly endless series of troubles.
Or a partner in life
Married couples or other close partners must accept from the start that entrepreneurial endeavour is taxing on the founder’s time and emotional fortitude, and can greatly influence the dynamics and finances of the relationship. Especially at the outset, there is very little separation between business and personal life.
All good things come to those who hunt them down
Every modern singleton knows the truth – good things don’t always come to those who wait. Sometimes you have to strategise.
This applies just as much to business partners – entrepreneurs looking for partners must use their networks, attend entrepreneurial events and generally have an open mind if they are to find the right partner.
When they do, and the chemistry is there, the benefits are innumerable. Among the biggest is overcoming the tendency of single founders to be controlling and struggling to delegate. Apart from the heavy toll this takes on their personal time and productivity, they’re also not likely to attract self-managers in their recruitment drives.
For many reasons, it’s best not to walk the journey of entrepreneurship alone.