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The Entrepreneurial Disease

Article | April 14, 2019

The entrepreneurial disease is real, pervading a healthy entity and making it slow and weak. Here’s how to avoid it.

The phrase seems like an oxymoron. On the one hand, you have a positive word like entrepreneur, representing a forward-thinker, someone who paves their own way in life and doesn’t let obstacles get in the way of their dreams. On the other hand, you have the word disease, defined loosely as a disorder of structure or function in a human being. Yet the entrepreneurial disease is a very real thing in business, pervading a healthy entity and making it slow and weak.

You may have pulled out all the stops, trying different business turnaround plans to help your promising idea take flight. But sometimes, those forces are out of your control and the wise decision is to stop, re-assess, and move on.

Two Opposing Forces

Many entrepreneurs share the same disease. On one side, entrepreneurs have the incredible ability to pursue an idea unwaveringly and to pursue a mission overcoming all obstacles. They believe so deeply in what they’re doing that nothing can stop them. This is what makes an entrepreneur great. No barrier, no defeat. They are determined to make a venture, idea or project work because they believe in it.

  • The good side: this incredible commitment, willingness to sacrifice, and
    deep-rooted understanding that victory doesn’t come without suffering,
    sacrifice and hard work. That’s the beauty of the entrepreneur: total and
    absolute commitment.
  • That being said, this incredible commitment to succeed is sometimes
    self-defeating. There comes a time in the entrepreneurial rollout of a
    business where one must decide whether this can work, whether it’s
    worth pursuing, and whether objectives can be achieved.

The good side says yes, while the realistic side says no. Perhaps you don’t have the capital, or maybe you don’t have the equipment or the right expertise. Perhaps you’ve run the numbers and it’s just not a good idea. You decide to end it. Those are words that few entrepreneurs can swallow.

The Power of the Entrepreneur

As an entrepreneur, you’re in a class all by yourself. The Harvard Business Review puts it best: being an entrepreneur is something far different than what most people think. It’s not about behavior, it’s not about the business type and it’s not about the title; rather, it’s a personality trait.

One of the inherent personality traits or skills of an entrepreneur is their ability to kick that can down the road endlessly, bobbing and weaving, sacrificing endlessly just to stay afloat. Quarter by quarter, year by year, you hang on to keep the company going no matter what.

You’re hanging on by the skin of your teeth, not taking a paycheck, living off your family’s money, borrowing money from friends — doing whatever it takes to make it another day.

However, if you logically look at the situation and know in your heart that you’re wasting time and resources, then stop it, kill it, walk away from it. It’s not defeat; it’s a viable decision. It’s a decision that only the smartest entrepreneur can make.

Shutting down a failing enterprise is not about admitting defeat; instead it’s about realizing something’s not going to work no matter how much money you throw at it and making the wise decision to stop wasting years of your life for a no-win situation.

But too many entrepreneurs get tripped up by this fundamental concept. They see it as quitting or giving up. The opposite is actually true.

Make no mistake: every good entrepreneur faces moments of defeat where they think they can’t handle something but they push on anyway. They ultimately win and it’s that fighting spirit of the entrepreneur that carries them to the finish line.

Recognizing the Dichotomy

The smart entrepreneur can understand the dichotomy: they know when something’s worth fighting for and when they should just walk away and go back to the drawing board.

In the end, the entrepreneurial spirit cuts two ways:

  1. It will bring you success in light of impossible odds
  2. It will drive you into oblivion as you search for that success when it just
    isn’t going to happen.

The smart entrepreneur can identify when the mission is no longer viable when it’s time to cut their losses and get out, so they can live to fight another day.

Do you suffer from the entrepreneurial disease? Need help making crucial decisions about your business? Contact Second Wind Consultants to request a consultation.

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