ENTREPRENEURIAL AMBITIONS IN REVIEW ( The First of Two Articles on the Subject)
I just finished reading an article in the WSJ (Monday 11/26/18 edition, sec. R1) covering a very interesting topic on how entrepreneurs build both business and personal relationships based on their management disciplines.
This is a topic dear to my heart as it speaks to the first chapter in my book on entrepreneurship (Entrepreneurial Decision Making) and how an entrepreneur interacts with both his/her spouse, friend’s family and/or business associates, and how co-mingled the inter-action is and how success or failure depends on the effectiveness of that interaction.
The WSJ article, as in my chapter, speaks to partnerships, and, ironically enough, those partnerships include the business side as well as the personal/marital side, as either or both can make or break a marriage and/or a business association, respectively.
What the author, independent of my work, discovered from research, is my “war cry” there is nothing that replaces battlefield experience, yes textbooks and classroom learning is critical but, not always, essential, especially in the trades (mechanic, machine operator et al). However, as an entrepreneur, one must be equipped to handle both business as well as personal relationship, especially the latter since unfortunately, if the business goes bad so does the marriage; likewise, if the relationships with employees, vendors, customers is rocky so will that effect the business.
An entrepreneur’s biggest threat is not start-up funding or cash flow, since both will eventually be solved, it is usually the business model which was probably flawed from the get-go, but how the start-up entrepreneur/founder deals with his/her business partner(s) and their personal partner.
So, in my book, I recommend that every would-be entrepreneur take a battery of psychological tests; such as, the Myers Briggs personality inventory test, to determine his/her potential for success or failure. These tests are critical and worth the time and money to save, not only, the agony of a potential loss of money, spouse, friends, family and at large financial contributors, but also, yourself by virtue of the necessity of required bank guarantees, government fines associated with compliance issues and even personal bankruptcy.
I know of what I speak having been in banking related businesses and executing Writs of Replevin (taking possession of the borrower’s personal assets including homesteads, cars Jewelry et al) to repay debt. It is much easier to enter-into a loan than exiting same without having to offer up an arm or leg or your third child (figuratively speaking). You as a newbie or start-up entrepreneur need to arm yourself with as much ammo (pertinent data) as possible, including those test referred to above and a savvy business consultant (priceless) as well as the right partners, including a potential spouse, but all too often the spouse is already a marital partner and did not sign-up for the risk their partner is about to undertake, putting added pressure on the spouse wanting to start a business.
I could talk for hours on being involved in marital spats with the entrepreneur’s spouse on such subjects as co-guarantees on bank accounts, asset pledges and related liabilities, not to mention, and I won’t, personal issues. My office has experienced everything from complicated refinancing strategies buy/sell or M & A issues to divorce.
It is funny, though I am not trying to minimize the importance of the WSJ article, these writers uncover the revelations as reported in the article as if it is new news, when, in fact, it is old news with just an update; nevertheless, the entire topic needs focus to save some poor individual or family a possible lifetime of recovery from a failed business or marriage.
FYI: I made many of the mistakes I warn others to avoid before I was a business success, even though I am an academic the real test was how to survive my failures and live to fight another day!