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TECH TALK: Entrepreneur’s Enigmas (Part 5)

January 17th, 2003 · No Comments

Work-Life Balance

Perhaps the biggest enigma facing the entrepreneur facing is how to spend time with his family. More than a dilemma, it borders on guilt. Most entrepreneurs are taken up with a single-minded focus to making their venture succeed, and for this they sacrifice their personal and family life. Their always-active brain keeps thinking of work even at home. Is there a way out?

My recommendation may not be universally acceptable, but it is this: the entrepreneur must involve his spouse at some level in the venture. The spouse can be a great counter-weight, the balancing factor, and can provide a sounding board at all times. Of course, there can also be differences of opinion which can make things difficult, but the one factor which I feel is above all else is that the spouse is the only person in the entire venture with no axe to grind, thus leading to an honest and realistic assessment of the situation.

Head and Heart

On the one hand, numbers and facts. On the other, gut and instinct. Head vs Heart. Logic and Reason pitted against Intuition. What does the entrepreneur go by? It is a very difficult choice, indeed. Writes Thomas Stewart in Business 2.0:

People who make decisions for a living are coming to realize that in complex or chaotic situations — a battlefield, a trading floor, or today’s brutally competitive business environment — intuition usually beats rational analysis.

Situations in which rules supply all the answers are becoming an endangered species, in business and everywhere else. Command-and-control management went out with tail fins. Risks are both greater and less predictable. As companies outsource, globalize, and form alliances, they become more interdependent — simultaneously competitor and customer, drastically increasing the complexity of their relationships. More and more, all you can do is admit that you simply don’t know and go with your gut.

In a world where decisions have to be made quickly, continuously and without having the complete picture, the entrepreneur must learn to trust his gut. It may mean, at times, going against conventional wisdom. Others may call it risk-taking. But for the entrepreneur, it is just another day at the office.

Calling it Quits

Most ventures fail. As a corollary, most entrepreneurs fail. The odds that an entrepreneur will have to call it quits are probably 99 out of 100. Of course, the natural optimism in most entrepreneurs makes each of them that they will be that singular exception! But at some point of time, the entrepreneur must come face-to-face reality if things are not going well. This is the hardest and most difficult part accepting that he has failed.

The reason quitting is not easy is because it goes against everything that the entrepreneur has dreamt of so far. Failure is something most entrepreneurs dont even consider they feel if they think about it, it may actually happen. So, they wear blinkered lenses. This becomes their blind-spot. And when reality stares them in the face, it is too late because theyve not seen it coming.

Entrepreneurs must realise that success and failure are two sides of the same coin. Failure can be a great teacher if and when they choose to think through the venture and their actions. If anything, failure can make entrepreneurs even more determined to succeed they have little else left to lose, and so much more to prove.

The entrepreneurs journey has many stations but no destination. It is a continuum. A few of the stops may be suffixed with disappointments, but that in no way takes away the joy and thrill of the ride.


Tech Talk Entrepreneur’s Enigmas+T

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