As the new year nears, everywhere you turn, there is a call to make goals. I am not against goal setting but I think there is a crucial step missing in that the rush to set new year goals. Reflection and Evaluation. I looked at my goals set at the beginning of 2016 and evaluated my lessons learned and whether I could mark them as achieved. I can say that this year I did not make a single check mark and this has been a wonderful thing.
I found that my goals were off base. Oprah once said God can dream a dream bigger than you ever imagined. Boy, did I find that to be the case! After 3 false starts in the beginning of this year I literally said Jesus, take the wheel. I committed myself to allowing a force higher than myself to order my steps. In the end, I, have much more than I ever thought I would. Here is a small sample of what has been done. I have been able to help others achieve their dreams. I coached several people through the process of cancer. I spoke to and encouraged several young people. I launched 4 new ventures and I am ready to make my first sizable financial exit. I supported more than 40 small businesses personally.
As I turn to 2017 I am seeking that same guidance. I am setting the following goals:
Tell me what your goals are for 2017!
Who you will work with in the end will be much more important than what you work on!
This is one of the hardest lessons that I have learned. I spent years thinking and crafting the what. I carefully identified my talents and potential of areas of growth. I went to classes and seminars, and in the end I had two businesses nearly fail because I had the wrong team.
Building your team is not merely finding people who you like or who want to be in business. These people must share your goals, commitment, work ethic, and truly believe in the vision. There is no magic formula to identifying your team however there are some things I have learned through trial and error.
Be sure you utilize the SMART method:
S - specific, significant, stretching
M - measurable, meaningful, motivational
A - agreed upon, attainable, achievable, acceptable, action-oriented
R - realistic, relevant, reasonable, rewarding, results-oriented
T - time-based, time-bound, timely, tangible, trackable
Carefully listen to potential team members feedback. If their initial reaction is to change your goals, then they may not be an optimal team member. Instead listen for feedback like how they would execute the stated goals or how they may be able to help. An absolute deal-breaker for me is when a potential team member tells me something is impossible. I do not believe in impossible only in yet to be done.
We all know people who talk a good game. In the end, you will need to execute a strategy not just talk about it. Pay attention to true participation. Participation is much more than being a sounding board or brain-storming. Both of those tasks are important but execution trumps all.
I have failed my instincts several times but my instincts have never failed me. There have been several occasions where my instincts have said nope but I thought “I’m being pessimistic” or “Maybe this time it will be different”. Each time the final words to those experiments were “I should have gone with my first impressin”. If you don’t feel comfortable don’t move forward. Walking into any relationship with doubts is a bad way to start.
Deciding on a team is the most important decision you will make for your business. Getting along is not the same as moving along.
Don’t confuse personality compatibility with business compatibility.
Reading tip: Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap...And Others Don't
By Jim Collins
Self-confidence is step one no matter what level of business you want to engage in. Once you master yourself then it’s time to begin writing your OWN business story. I have a confession to make while I am an entrepreneur I don’t believe every should be one or if they chose a different path that they’ve missed out on some great journey. Nobody would tell everyone to be a doctor or hairstylist.
You must define what it means to be successful in business.
My story is very simple I could land amazing jobs but soon became bored once I had learned the system and wanted to make improvements but quickly realized I did not have the power to overhaul someone elses business. I needed to have a voice. This meant one of two paths be CEO or run my own company. My definition of success meant that I needed to have the power and decision making abilities to try new things. If I chose CEO I would still be working within someone else’s framework. It would be their story not mine. It is important to me that I write and rewrite my own story. So, I chose entrepreneurship.
It is important to write out the reasons you think you want to be an entrepreneur. Hint: be a millionaire is NOT good enough. Be your own Boss you say… that’s only the beginning of a reason. What are you willing to do to be your own boss?
I suggest every reluctant entrepreneur ask themselves what is their definition of success.
The answer may shock you and it may not fit other people’s definition. In case it really needs to be written: YOU DO NOT HAVE TO BE AN ENTREPRENEUR! If you love your career great. If you are happy with a 9-5 work situation super! If you enjoy regular paychecks wonderful! I firmly believe that there is dignity in all work and all paths.
Take some time and write your definition.
Here is mine:
suc·cess by Shante
1-The start, development, and subsequent liquidation of several businesses.
2-Using my talents to change the lives of others, by providing employment, empowerment, entertainment, and delivering products that will improve quality of life.
One of the myths that gets forwarded is that is that to make it in business you must be GENIUS. We all have heard the Oprah, Steve Job, Zuckerburg, Einstein, Bill Gates stories retold. This leads lots of “regular” people to believe that they need to be extraordinary to start, own, or run a business. Well you do, but not in the way that most people think.
Let me take a step back, I was afforded a magnificent education having been labeled very early as academically gifted by the public-school system. I went to Science and Math focused schools, was in the International Baccalaureate Program, earned a Chemistry degree in 3 years, a Doctorate in 4, and then a MBA. By most people’s assessment I was a “young gun” destined for great success, but I did not feel that way. In a chance business development meeting, around 2012 I met someone who completely changed my life. He transformed my life with three simple words, YOU-ARE ENOUGH.
This person did not know me, this was our first-time meeting and frankly he was getting pawned off on the new guy because other things came up. We met talked business and then he asked if I was open for lunch. I said yes and then he said it YOU ARE ENOUGH. Those words hit me like a ton of bricks. While outwardly I had achieved many things, I was missing one key ingredient SELF confidence. I was good, damn good, but I needed others to tell me that because it was not sure that I believed in myself.
When I got back into my car all I could hear were the words YOU ARE ENOUGH. I realized that was the missing ingredient. Me. I had to realize that I am the only one who needs to believe in me. I had to believe that if I never won another award or moved up in a company, or was never on the cover of a magazine I WAS ENOUGH.
To my fellow self-doubters I pass on this wisdom. YOU ARE ENOUGH! Right now, where you stand, as you are today no matter what the circumstances YOU ARE ENOUGH. You don’t need a college degree, or a PhD, or a MBA or a title, or even a stack of money, YOU are enough to make a change, to take a step, to conquer the world. YOU have everything that it takes to make it. Understand you have everything inside of you, ALREADY, to do whatever you want!
Just repeat to yourself (like I do daily) YOU- ARE-ENOUGH! And remember to quote a rap lyric “Confidence has no budget”!
All the articles I read about entrepreneurs or entrepreneurship they read like this way: it scary but do it or I had a great idea and BAM I was off to the races.
Often other than a quick nod to the “uncertain process” no one now “Full-time” entrepreneur speaks to the real concerns and fears that many have. As if jumping out the window when you have idk A LIFE is not worth taking the time to talk through.
This series is different. As I continue my journey down the road of working for myself I will speak directly to the fears and anxieties I had (and still have) about walking the tight rope without a net.
I am a reluctant entrepreneur but that does not make me any less a successful one!
Dr. Shante Williams is a serial entrepreneur who started slow and in the shallow end of the business pool. She has worked in Biotech, Big Pharma, Green Energy, and Academia