Entrepreneurs need to be challenged, and I don’t mean this in solely the purest sense. Sure, they need to feel challenged by what they are trying to achieve. That is part of the “lure” of being an entrepreneur. However, they also need to be challenged by their peers. And on a regular basis. If you are serious about changing the world, read on.
Back in my Army days, it was instilled in each of us that we were our own best resources. Your buddy was your lifeline. When you were humping through the bush with a 70 pound ruck sack on your back, and dehydrated, and about to pass out under the 105 degree Fort Knox sun, your buddy propped you up and kept you going. Your buddy watched your back at all times. Your buddy became an extension of who you are. And you reciprocated, because you knew that the level of trust had to be maintained at all time … your lives could very well depend on it.
Best of all, your buddy made you better. Better at what? Everything! Your buddy patiently counted your push-ups, encouraging you to keep going until you set a new bar of excellence for yourself. Whether it was on the rifle range, the tank gunnery range, or just normal barracks inspections, your buddy was there to keep you motivated, dedicated, and focused. And again, you reciprocated in kind.
While I haven’t spotted any entrepreneurs humping up Georgia 400 with 70 pounds of high-tech gear on their backs, being an entrepreneur is very similar to soldiering. To be a good one, you need to be challenged by someone.
I have the privilege of having an inner circle of entrepreneurial friends. These guys and gals are the ones that get in my face, and question my business model. They question my revenue streams, my projections, my business plan, my pitch, my financial model, and even my customer focus. But they do it for a good reason. They aren’t trying to ridicule me, or run me off (at least I hope not!)
Instead, they are forcing me to think about what it is I am doing.
As entrepreneurs, we expect to get challenged by investors, after all, that is their job. They want to poke as many holes in your plan as they possibly can – if it still floats, then perhaps they’ll take you seriously. However, more entrepreneurs need to be challenged by each other first.
If one of my friends challenges what I am doing, I have a choice. I can either defend my thinking or evolve my thinking. Either is a positive outcome in my estimation. At the end of the day, I want to build a great company, and the road to achieving that goes straight through the train station I just described.
If you are an entrepreneur, and you are struggling (i.e. all of you), do yourself a favor. Find your buddy. Get challenged. Conquer the world. Remember me. ;)