Theory vs. Practical: Smart Entrepreneurs Don’t Take Sides

art1“I don’t believe in sitting in class to learn about management and how to do business. All they teach is theory. I would rather be out there doing the practical stuff,” said a young man on discovering that I was taking MBA classes. When he was done, I quietly asked him, “Why can’t you do both?”

You don’t have to do an MBA to succeed in business, but what I don’t support is the disdain that some folks have for the theories of management.

The young man would have found some of my management classes useful because at that point he could barely pay his staff and was making grave business mistakes. His disdain for theory was simply not smart.

Peter F. Drucker, the father of modern management explained that, “…Every practice rests on theory, even if the practitioners themselves are unaware of it. Entrepreneurship rests on a theory of economy and society…”

Theory doesn’t make practice insignificant. Rather, it gives people the basis to research, test and refine ideas in order to get better at their trade. Also, theories prove that results are systemic – and that’s the truth.


Fail, Learn, Do Better

29iht-melikian29-pica-articlelargeNow, blogs, books and other media reveal that the idea of failure has been embraced by entrepreneurs. In fact, some investors won’t consider your idea if you’ve not failed at something. Failure is now a badge of honor that entrepreneurs proudly display.

But what’s the point?

Has failing suddenly become fun? Do you have to fail in order to succeed? Does failure serve any real purpose? Really, what’s the point?

I’ll tell you right now (for free): failure is no fun. As an entrepreneur, I hate to fail; it’s never the goal. Winning is the preferred option – always! However, the new attitude towards failure helps the entrepreneur and this is why.

Failure is now a tool for learning. These days, little time is spent crying over spilt milk. When failure occurs, effective entrepreneurs switch to exploration (or study) mode. Yes, they feel bad, but learning begins almost immediately.

The entrepreneur engages the learning process with one purpose in mind: TO DO BETTER. Failure has no other use.

The proof that you’ve learned from your failure is better performance. Until then, you’re yet to figure out why you failed – and in that case, keep learning.

The Value of a Day

Abstract-Art-masterpieceTwenty-four hours is the equalizer – that’s all everyone gets.

At the risk of sounding cliché: our lives play out in the context of a day and the outcomes represent the degree to which we value our time.

Also, each day brings you closer to (or takes you further from) your goals. This is a negligible, but crucial fact and only those who pay attention enjoy its benefits.

So how’s it working for you? Are you getting closer to your dreams or are they drifting away?

I won’t bother you with time management rhetoric. However, I would like to help you assess the direction that your days would eventually take you. Is it a destination that you would ultimately enjoy?

The effect of a day is subtle. The days add up slowly and suddenly you’re in debt, overweight, rich, etc. It goes almost unnoticed and you find yourself asking: how did I get here?

Are you conscious or alive to your day’s flow? You don’t have to plan a perfect day, but you can be proactive in aligning your days with your goals.

Your Idea Believes in You


That’s one of the emotions that you feel when an awesome idea hits you.


At that point, you doubt you can pull it off.

But this is how it works: an idea knows things about you that you’re yet to discover about yourself. That’s why it comes to you totally confident that you can make it happen – whether you believe it or not. The idea is never in doubt.

Now, the real work is getting you to see and agree that you can make it work. The idea might succeed or fail in persuading you, but it’s not unsure of its choice.

Before an idea knocks on your door, all the resource that you need to realize it has been factored and already in place. It’s no use worrying about how you will do it because provision is sorted. All you need to do is say: yes!

Folks back down on a thought because they don’t see HOW they can do it and that’s a mistake. An idea comes loaded with resources, looking for someone who will agree to the package and run with it.

Will you agree? No more excuses.

The Price Loved Ones Pay for Entrepreneur’s Dream

LovedOnesIn modern culture, the successful entrepreneur is a hero. This person has achieved wealth despite the odds. She’s celebrated in the media and displayed as a beacon of hope.

But, she didn’t do it alone.

Many people played vital roles in her success story – especially loved ones. Folks sacrificed at every stage to make the entrepreneur’s dream come true. They’re seldom celebrated, but they exist.

The entrepreneur’s dream will put loved ones to the test. Colleagues, family and friends labor in love to help the dreamer’s idea.

Sometimes the price is high and process – exhausting, for those who have chosen to love the dreamer. Spouses and children (on occasion) get a raw deal – doing without the one with whom they wish to spend more time or sacrificing in other ways. It can be crazy.

I encourage every entrepreneur to acknowledge and always appreciate this group for their love, prayers, support, tears, encouragement, courage – and strong belief in the dreamer’s dream.

Thank them often for not giving up on you. Appreciate them for staying in your corner – and if no one will mention their name or celebrate them, you do it.

Boredom: The Key to Success

Boredom“Do what you’re passionate about and you’ll succeed”, is what you find in many motivational books. But that’s only an aspect of the truth.

I am a writer. I’ve engaged in this passion for long and discovered that passion can wane, even if you love what you do.

When this occurs, you’re left with the discipline of craftsmanship. In my case, this means having a writing schedule and pouring in the hours required to actually write – no frills or fun fair.

We live in exciting times when everything is supposed to be sensational. But the successful will tell you that a huge part of their daily work is boring, mundane and uninspiring. They still do it because they understand that mastery of the boring elements is the real success.

Largely, craftsmanship isn’t inspiration dependent. Hence, you show up to work and do a great job without waiting to (first) feel good or inspired. Usually, inspiration catches up after you’ve started your work.

In the success equation, passion is only a small part and monotony is the chunk. That’s why the greats rarely wait for inspiration – they just do good work.

Law: The Glue of Business

LawAgreement – that’s business in one word. Two or more parties agree to shared promises. Honored agreement is good business while agreement dishonored is bad business.

Previously, an agreement could be settled with a firm handshake. Folks understood the meaning of the act and society was designed to support it. These days, it’s seldom that way.

Now, people’s understanding of an agreement varies – greatly. Hence, laws have been adjusted to fit the times.

The legal system is a vital tool needed to put everyone on the same page and also, to make adequate arrangements for anyone who decides to get off the page. The law unifies understanding; it is the oil of agreements.

I’m aware that some countries have weak legal systems. It’s no wonder why it’s difficult to do business in such places because agreement gets fluid and results take time – and are sometimes hard to sustain.

Ideally, the law is designed to create order. And order breeds prosperity. However, as we grapple with reality, it helps to know what obtains and properly play our part in our business dealings.