The Entrepreneurs Curse is something that I myself suffer with, as have many of my clients and past employers. If you’re a budding startup or entrepreneur, I’m sure the scenario I’m about to describe will ring home with you too.
But first, let’s think about about what makes an Entrepreneur. An Entrepreneur has drive, ambition, determination, dedication and will to succeed. They’re willing to make personal sacrifice, working 20 hour days for weeks on end.
They’re also visionaries, capable of conceiving new products/services, new ways to advertise and new audiences to target. And they want to get everything in place as soon as possible — and rightfully so.
But at some point, all of what makes an Entrepreneur who they are, ultimately becomes their curse. Let me explain.
At some point most if not all Entrepreneurs try to do too much. They have too many ideas, too many visions — and they want it all to happen yesterday!
They envisage what it would be like to have the ideas turned into products and services that produce great results. And that is fine, it’s important to have a vision and know where you’re going. But far too often this vision blurs how to actually deliver and achieve it!
This also leads to neglect of existing ideas and services.
A more common way of describing the curse is ‘the shiny new penny syndrome’. It’s when a new idea/service comes to mind, and suddenly all focus is driven towards delivering that — as soon as possible!
And sure, the new idea might be the best idea since sliced bread — but, wasn’t the idea last week also like that? And the week before?
An entrepreneur and their team may be driven, motivated and determined to succeed — but even they can only do so much. In an ideal world, they’d be able to deliver on every great new idea and service the world with outstanding products and services.
But in reality, they can’t do it all. But that’s the problem, Entrepreneurs always try to. They want to turn their latest idea into reality, whilst also working on everything else. This ends up leading to poorly delivered new ideas, stretched employees and awful customer service.
I’ve been fortunate to witness this curse first hand as an Entrepreneur myself, as well as being an employee trying to serve an Entrepreneur.
As an employee, you become so stretched trying to deliver so many things at once. Far too much becomes expected of you, in the same time you had before. You have too many things to work on, that the only way of possibly trying to achieve it all is by doing them fast — this leads to human errors, mistakes and a lack of world class quality.
This is not the fault of the employees — they want to do their best, but they’re limited to what they have available to achieve it. They become the jack of all trades, but master of none. And this serves nobody — not the Entrepreneur, not the clients, not the employees.
Entrepreneurs must fight this curse and urge to do more — and instead focus on delivering what they have today. Once that is running perfectly, they can now start thinking about what’s next, and arrange for the resources and time to be available to create it.
Sadly some Entrepreneurs never beat this curse, and ultimately their business fails and their ideas stay exactly that. The key is realising and creating balance — knowing what can realistically be achieved, and holding off on new ideas until they’re really ready.
Or, if the ‘shiny new penny’ is truly ground breaking, slow down or stop other work to free the team up to deliver. Don’t try to do everything!