An Entrepreneurial Manifesto – Part Two

Based on the volume of blog comments, last week’s MMWU clearly hit home with readers. My intent was to reinforce the one sacred and magnificent absolute that every entrepreneur owns – they are in control of their destinies. I presented a no-compromise entrepreneurial manifesto that included such noteworthy points as: Don’t squander the opportunity, stop whining, never get too full of yourself, surround yourself with talent, honor and respect your followers, and that it’s all about the dream.

Entrepreneurs do control their own destinies. But too often, their thinking and behavior get in the way. They hold back when charging forward is the best and logical option. They fail to manage the inevitable stress that accompanies business ownership that leads to self-doubt and feelings of isolation. They get too engrossed in emotional attachments that cloud their thinking and ability to make and execute the best decisions for the company – their dream.

In order to truly control your own destiny, here are my no-compromise additions to my entrepreneurial manifesto:

  • Change first: As a leadership and business consultant, I’m hired by a leader to fix problems. That usually translates into “fixing” everybody else to achieve the results and outcomes the leader wants. After assessing all of the intricacies of the situation to see where the breadcrumbs lead, the source of the problem almost always is the leader who hired me. And getting leaders to change their thinking and behavior is about the toughest part of the work I do. Even when leaders acknowledge their contribution to the problem, getting them to accept and embrace change is like a persistent game of arm wrestling. To live the entrepreneurial manifesto, leaders must not only embrace change, they must live it and model it every day.


  • You are not your company: The company is your dream – your creation. You invest money, blood, sweat and tears into your company. But, the reality is that it is your company – your company is not you. Consider this: If entrepreneurs strike out on their own to control their own destiny, why do they get stuck in their own companies? By stuck I’m referring to being consumed with work 24/7. I’m referring to the micro-management where your leadership tentacles are plugged into every facet of the company. I’m talking about the inability to let go of the controls and lead. Lastly, I’m talking about how owners who become “their company” compromise its value when it comes time to sell. Without the founder, the company is lost. You are not your company.
  • Lead your emotions: You cannot lead without making tough and unpopular decisions. You cannot please everyone. You cannot compromise the integrity and security of the company to avoid damaging personal relationships. You cannot accept mediocrity while fighting to take your company to the next level. You chose to be an entrepreneur. You chose to be a leader. Do it with integrity, respect, compassion and purpose. Making the right decisions for your company is hard when you allow your emotions to rule your thinking and behavior.
  • Do what others will not: You want to be the best? You want to blow away your competition? You want fiercely loyal customers? Then you must do what others will not. It’s one thing to set high standards of performance, it’s another to achieve and consistently maintain and refine high standards. Getting to the next level means climbing a steeper grade. Too many stop when the going gets tough. That’s accepting “average.” Being an entrepreneur means pushing the innovation envelope in all that you do.
  • Push forward when you think you can’t: If you’re a regular reader of my MMWU, you know my passion for road biking. Last week, I did a 68-mile fund-raising ride with my friend Mark through the magnificent scenery of Connecticut’s countryside. As the day wore on, the heat climbed well into the 90s. About a third of the way into the ride, we entered a stretch of relentless hills – many with steep grades that turn your legs into rubber and sap your energy. After an hour or so of this torture and sweltering heat, I was close to throwing in the towel. I wanted to stop in the worst way. I kept pushing forward. It was hard. Really hard. As we headed south toward Long Island Sound, the terrain leveled out. I got my second wind and finished the ride. Mark and I did our high-fives. It’s the same in business. Pushing forward when you think you can’t almost always takes you to a better place. When you quit, you never know the taste of victory.
  • Keep it glowing: Your dream of creating and building a company must be kept glowing as brightly as a silver trophy. It’s why you became an entrepreneur. It’s why you risked everything. It’s why employees were captivated enough to follow you, some for many years. It’s why customers buy from you. There will be those times when the going gets tough and the obstacles appear insurmountable. It’s in these times when you need to keep your dream glowing bright. Dreams can become dusty, tarnished and dented. It’s your dream that keeps you and company pressing forward. It’s always about the dream.

You are an entrepreneur. You control your destiny. Seize the opportunities. Break through the barriers and roadblocks. You know they’re not really big enough to stop you. It’s what entrepreneurs do.


3 Responses to “An Entrepreneurial Manifesto – Part Two”

  1. August 3, 2011 at 5:37 pm

    Fantastic, I was absolutely inspired, I enjoyed it so much that I had to read and re-read ” An Entrepreneurial Manifest” several times each time more motivating and reinforcing. Thank you Neil for sharing this information it will more then just help me grow my business but also enrich my life. Best in Life -Salvatore

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