Obstacles: The Entrepreneur’s Snack ~ 2

talacre mono 4Seasoned entrepreneurs are like pro athletes. They have the same attitude to obstacles and difficulties.

Athletes have an unusual intimacy with difficulties.  They expect it, utilize it and thrive in it. An Olympian isn’t shocked by grueling hours of training. Their minds are at home with the drill. They actually like it.

When I asked a basketball coach about this attitude, he told me that athletes understand that obstacles are one of the primary ways of being and staying the best. So they gladly embrace it.

As entrepreneurs, this way of thinking could serve as a strategic mental poise. Success or failure may never be easy; let it sink in. Mr. Cohen knew this going into Russia and he was ready to ride it out.

My favorite thing about obstacles is: who you become afterwards. Challenges don’t just make you stronger, but also, your skill level rises – sometimes astronomically.

Can you imagine the amount of experience, learning, exposure and wealth that George Cohen gained after Pushkin? The businessman that he was before the project was nothing compared to the entrepreneur that he became.

Obstacles: The Entrepreneur’s Snack

ObstaclesGeorge Cohen is a Canadian businessman. And that’s a big deal!

In January 1990, the first McDonald was opened in Pushkin Square, Moscow and that was a historic event in the former communist nation and Mr. Cohen did it.

For 12years, he worked on this crazy idea and his board thought he had gone mad. The political and diplomatic twists were excruciating and unbelievable.

When he finally got the Russian government to agree three years after Gorbachev got into power, setting up was a logistical nightmare in a city that was used to food shortages and endless queues. Potatoes were flown in from the United States. It was an insane undertaking.

But the move was revolutionary.

On that cold, grey morning when McDonald’s Moscow first opened its doors, Cohen’s dream came alive. That day, 34000 people were served and the initiative changed the Soviet service culture. Now, there are more than 300 McDonald’s across the former Soviet Union. Talk about a delicious story!

The business mind is obstacle-ready, especially in the reality of massive uncertainty. In entrepreneurship, obstacles are normal – comes with the territory. Cohen knew it.

Is Success Enough?

SuccessEnoughMore than ever, the world appears confused about the workings of success. What used to mean success has lost its broad appeal. Now success is subjective and everyone seems to have a valid argument.

In February 2010, aged 40, the renowned fashion designer, Alexander McQueen, took his own life. He had attained global success in a tough industry. Why would he want to commit suicide?

SIDENOTE: Let me quickly add that not every successful person is unhappy and I don’t believe that success is the road to unhappiness either. You can be successful and happy.

However, is success enough?

One element that’s increasingly in demand in the recipe for success is contentment. It is your ability to realize and confidently affirm that you’re enough in the context of all that you’re achieving, have or haven’t achieved.

In a culture that defines success as constantly doing, being and having more – with no clear marks and the goal post always moving – each person needs an acceptable measure to help keep their sanity.

For me, contentment is that measure.

Is success enough? That doesn’t quite matter. The real question is: success or failure, are you enough?

Ideas Don’t Rule The World

Message in the windowThoughts are common. Also, they’re not special. Don’t be confused. I’m not saying they’re not important; they are. But you find them everywhere; like oxygen, ideas are free.

Furthermore, an idea cannot change anything. Yes, I said it. They say that, “Ideas rule the world”. I do not agree. I’m yet to find an idea that ruled the world. Ideas are mental suggestions.

As a dreamer, I began to enjoy the power of ideas when I realized that:

Only DONE Ideas rule the world!

If your idea is not done, it cannot rule. Talking about it doesn’t count. Only done ideas rule!

At the risk of sounding like Nike, stop waiting for your idea to be perfect and just do it!

We postpone learning as we wait for all to look ideal. Step out and get it done. An idea in raw form is more powerful than an undone one.

Are you going to try? If you will, then your idea has a chance of ruling the world. Your thoughts need some fresh air, let them come out to play and let’s see how it goes.

How To Attract, Keep and Deploy Great Talent

GreatalentAs a consultant, I’ve worked with organizations that knew how to attract great talent, but unsuccessful in keeping or putting them to good use.

So, how do you keep good people? Here we go:

  • STRONG VISION

Great talents want to associate with organizations that won’t waste their time because the company knows why it exists. Beyond making money, the company serves a higher, meaningful purpose.

  • GROWTH

To retain brilliant guys, this is huge! You have to create a positive growth environment. Your space must promise and deliver on growth for good people to stay.

The absence of growth means that the organization is beneath the individual’s capacity and that’s not motivating.

Folks will leave a job with great pay because they know that they will not grow there. They’re looking for much more, not just money.

  • RESPONSIBILITY

Great talent wants to fly – always! It’s natural. This individual is constantly seeking higher levels and pushing the limits. Otherwise, boredom sets in.

Creating an environment that’s full of worthy challenges and trusting good people to take them on is fantastic use of their energy. It means they’ve been deployed right!

A Simple Approach To Strategy For Startups

DoorwayIn my freshman year of college, I took a class called Business Organization and Leadership, taught by a Harvard trained Belgian professor. He taught us that STRATEGY is defined by these three simple questions:

  • WHAT ARE YOU SELLING?

According to the sign on your door, you sell shoes – but what are you really selling and is the message clear? What experience does your business give? What feeling do folks enjoy when they encounter your business? This is the basis for your brand essence.

  • TO WHOM?

Who is your service or product designed to serve? How well do you know them? How much effort do you put in trying to connect with them? Now, buyers expect the seller to effectively connect with their values, concerns and needs and in this case, good connection means healthy sales.

  • WHY SHOULD THEY BUY FROM YOU?

“If people walk past your shop to buy from the shop down the street, then they must be doing something right”, professor Du Jardin would say. In essence, there’s a good reason why the other guy is making sales and you’re not.

Effective Entrepreneurs Have a Growth Plan

Urban-DilemmaGrowth is the elevation of consciousness; the art of increasing one’s awareness of life. The business of birthing, sustaining and evolving ideas requires that the entrepreneur grows from stage to stage.

Effective entrepreneurs are proactive about growth. They think about it, plan for it and spend on it.

The master coach, Anthony Robins, works with the best minds in global business that pay him up to $1million/year for just one thing: GROWTH. With Robins’ help, they constantly elevate their consciousness which in turn reflects in their steady business progress.

How alive are you? What’s your level of consciousness? Are you sleep-walking through life? What’s your growth plan?

Start where you are. You could read a good book monthly, sign into a coaching program, join a mastermind group or establish key relationships that would expand your scope.

The idea is to find anything positive (a system you engage with consistently) that breaks the cycle of mediocrity and enlarges your vision of yourself.