Small Business—Big Mission
The skills necessary to start a business are the same skills that will choke the life out of its growth. An organization stops growing when it reaches the limits of the owner’s know-how. Starting a business is different than growing a business.
We need startups. In fact, we need more of them because only 20% will eventually become reliable businesses. Yet we invest nearly $40 billion dollars annually in startups: $30 billion from venture investors and another $10 billion from friends and family supporters. There are two forces that create this dynamic between a startup and a functioning organization:
Attraction is a powerful force. Something new is infatuating. A new semester in school always has a start-over expectation that this time will be different than the last. A new car draws you to drive it even if you don’t need to go anywhere. In the business world, we are drunk on “new,” and a start-up hasn’t yet woken up to the hangover. The force of NEW will not go away, but it will distract us from the important work of helping the surviving businesses continue to grow.
The second force is business-owner inertia. If an entrepreneur is fortunate enough to build a real business, the aftermath can become overwhelming. Customers with high expectations, employees who need nurturing to develop, bankers with covenants, and investors impatient for a return often erode the energy of the business owner. The original flame of the business goes out and growth goes out with it. A business owner must make the important transition from managing things to leading, developing, and inspiring the people within the firm. The relentless focus on the day-in and day-out details of a business is necessary to be successful when starting a business.
The longer a business owner remains the administrator of all activity, the central figure for all important decisions, the longer the organization will remain tethered to the owner’s capacity and eventually stop growing. This often leads to the owner returning to behaviors that worked for them when they started the business. They try harder, get tougher on their people, cut costs and return to “the basics.” This is the doom spiral for a business owner and this reinforcing cycle claims thousands of businesses a year.
Moving Business Forward
The work of creating new jobs falls to the business owner who has survived the labyrinth of the startup. These entrepreneurs have created successful organizations in the same business climate as the 80% of startups that failed. If we help the business owners who want to continue to grow, but literally don’t know how, The Reignite Group can help to create real job growth.