Like many other general courses, Entrepreneurship is also difficult to define and certainly, much more difficult to teach. Some time ago, I discovered that just because you know it, doesn’t really mean that you could teach it.
I discovered this when I was trying to teach my young brother skating, though I am good at it, I know how to skate. But unfortunately, I made it miserable for both of us. Later, my friend took him and within one day, his skating was significantly better than I had ever seen.
Now, of course, I argued that it was the compound result that finally broke through, though I knew it wasn’t. It was really because my friend could skate and could teach skating. I could just skate!
Some can be entrepreneurs, whereas some can mentor & teach entrepreneurs.
On that matter, I’m actually way better at teaching entrepreneurship than I am at teaching skating; that I can both do and teach. I’ve learned a lot over years about entrepreneurship. There have been stages where I’ve been happy, miserable, stagnant all through my entrepreneurial journey of 7 years. But I’ve learned over the years, and I’ve paid some significant tuition to learn, that there are general principles applicable to teaching entrepreneurship, defining it, and being a mentor to an entrepreneur.
Rule #1, & the Most Important: Entrepreneurship, (if you’re looking to build a business) is All About Generating Cashflows
In the early stages, it’s about minimizing cash outflows while you use the runway provided by your investors or your own resources. This foundation eventually helps in reaching the breakeven point and then meet profitability.
Think of your business as an entity, a living organism whose sole job it is to produce cash and carries no other purpose than that. Cash is how you pay back your investors, your employees and yourself as well.
Don’t get blinded by those shiny INC 500 highlights, speaker events, accolades, PR interview or press releases. Never believe your own press releases. Don’t lose sight of the fact that your business is there to generate cash and not lose it.
Rule #2: Stay Out of the BIG details
In mentoring entrepreneurs, there’s a fine balance between keeping focused on the BIG picture and being involved in the details. The devil is always in the details, and you have to bounce between the two, sometimes spending very little time in between the transition.
A warning message, which speaks along the rule: Learn how to let Go!
The last thing you want to do is hire good, competent & smart people. Then engage in a daily tug-of-war with them. The opportunity cost of you spending your time working on things of minor importance, when you’ve employed (and are paying with cash, your so-called limited resource) someone else to do it, is HUGE.
At the end of the day, your job is to sell the vision and to keep the team focused on the vision. Further, over time, you slowly & gradually, let go of the details, not just in concept, but emotionally as well. This way you build a sustainable system called by ‘your-company’.
The Final Rule:
When you’re Seeking to find/become a mentor or improve your company’s Most Valuable Asset (YOU), is to look for the good general rules, and transform them to apply in specifics. Eg, Yes, my general rule is cash is priority one.
Niche is what builds value, not the Generalities.
So this was a fundamental process of entrepreneurship, a very few specifics to help you translate from one company to the next. The challenge for you as the person in charge is to account those general principles, the generality that mentors and motivational speakers provide and translate those generalities into a specific action item.
Entrepreneurship, fundamentally, is about taking a great idea that will fill a perceived need in the marketplace and setup and efficient way of filling it.
That’s how you receive good mentorship. That’s how you become a good mentor. That is what entrepreneurship is all about!