For the past few years now we have been speaking at universities that teach entrepreneurship in one form or another. The reoccurring question regularly asked by millennials aspiring to become entrepreneurs is: How do you prepare for the unknown?
This is a great question because it is the most unnerving part of entrepreneurship and distinguishes it from a 9-5 job. Sure, a job may seem stable and dependable, but if the entrepreneur who hired you suddenly goes out of business, then you are suddenly unemployed. The millennials saw what happened in the recession when their parents were laid off, so they don’t put a lot of faith into their own security with the big corporations like their parents did. They’d just as soon take their chances on their own and at least have some say over the risks involved. We salute them for this! We love working with millennials, because they’ve got guts!
Still, we can hear the anxiety in their voices. We have asked ourselves the same questions. But what do you do about the unknown? How do you prepare for it?
Yes, you are entering a dark and creepy tunnel, but with the right tools you can be ready for just about anything. Just like a sea captain doesn’t know what to expect out there on the unpredictable ocean, but he is prepared with training, relies on standards, adheres to principles, and uses tools to get safely to port.
For entrepreneurship, we like to say you need a hard hat, a compass, and a flashlight to get through that unfamiliar tunnel.
The hard had is a set of attitudes that keeps you positive when the unexpected pops up or falls out of the sky. It’s really how you think of the challenge by taking the 10,000-foot view. The fastest way out of the box is straight up! Up there you can see the other folks that are effected by the same dilemma, discover your natural allies, and look for an elegant solution that solves more than one problem. If you take this big-picture approach, the pop up ghosts aren’t so scary.
The flashlight is to see your way down that dark tunnel and to light up the challenges and opportunities in front of you. Illumination can help you better understand what’s going on. It doesn’t solve anything in itself, but it does give you a better idea of what’s ahead. Illumination reveals the various parts of the challenge, making the solution more discoverable. What is that flashlight exactly? It’s research, asking questions, learning from your mistakes, and it’s the confidence that you get when you can see what you are faced with.
The compass is the set of guiding principles that act as the standards you rely on when making decisions. These are the business philosophies that you believe in, and the principles that build the foundation of your company. You carry these standards with you into the unknown, giving you the confidence to handle just about anything. The main guiding principle is put yourself in the other person’s shoes. From that position, you can discover what others want out of the situation, and once you know that, you are more prepared to get their attention, cooperation, and ultimately their support.
Fear of the unknown can paralyze you. The more you prepare yourself for it, the less scary it becomes. So for Halloween, we offer the millennials a real “Ghost Buster,” the Entrepreneur’s GPS. Check it out! And Happy Halloween!
Who We Are
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.
Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.
They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.
Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.
To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact email@example.com.