19 Sep 2016

Start Up-Grow Up-Live Up

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As the very wise rock group AC/DC put it, “For Those About to Rock, We Salute You.”  As I sit here to write my blog I found that the lyric fits my reflective mood.  Today feels like a great beginning to a new chapter of a new book.   Bear in mind, I’ve also had a lot of coffee and a “healthy” green drink, that thank you God, now comes in apple flavor.  It’s been said, “Inspiration comes in many forms” including coffee and green drinks.

Guzzling my coffee, I started mulling over the process of starting a new company or venture and how I would succinctly frame that process.  What flashed before my eyes was,” Start Up, Grow Up and Live Up.”

Start Up: Michael Gerber author of The E Myth states, most businesses start with an “entrepreneurial seizure.”  He also defines this as “the moment the entrepreneur decides it would be a great idea to start his or her own business.”  Whether a home based business or a billion dollar corporation, they all start with the same “entrepreneurial seizure.”  There are multiple factors that are vital for any start up.  Look at it this way, it’s a bit like going on a family road trip.  You need to know your end destination, how you’re going to travel, how to keep the kids from committing aggravated assault, where to buy gas, how long it will take to get there etc.   When preparing for your start up, your vision and mission of what you want must be at the central core of all your launch preparations, in addition to always keeping the end goal in mind.  Your vision is what you’re wanting to accomplish and your mission is your intrinsic reason for wanting it.  As Simon Sinek author of Start With Why says, “people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it.”  They form an emotional attachment to the “why” and that’s how you get anyone to buy what you are selling.  It’s worthy to note that as this is your journey and at any point you can change the rules.  So seeing you’re your end goal and taking it to that conclusion are two totally different things.  You don’t have to take it to its final conclusion, you have options, many options; you can sell, create a strategic merger or have someone else take it to the end goal for you.  Think big.  When you think big you give yourself options that you won’t have if you think small.  With bigger thinking you can always scale down or sell, but if the idea isn’t big enough at the beginning, it’s much harder to make it bigger later.  With your start up, think big, understand your vision and mission and know that it’s your journey and you can get there any way you want.

Grow Up:  I often remind my kids that being an adult is totally overrated and yet, to be an adult you have to grow.  This is the middle part of life’s journey that we have all had to take.  Growing from child to adult.   And the middle part of the journey is filled with its ups and downs, and these highs and lows are priceless.   They present us with life lessons on which we will be tested.  For me some of these life lessons have been a breeze and some have been excruciating, yet I have passed each test with flying colors.   I know this now because I’ve learned to be grateful for this middle bit where growing up is fraught with its highs and lows.  It has taken a lot of work, understanding of self and a change in my perspective for me to say I am grateful for each experience and mean it.  In terms of a start up, growing up is when you: move out of the garage into office space, hire middle managers, fire friends who you love, but cannot do the work, have employee manuals, engage attorneys and endure the pain of growing.  This is where you have to sell yourself to investors, bankers, vendors, suppliers and maybe most of all, sell yourself, to yourself.  It’s high school all over again.  Yes the wonder years with the exception of, this time you have two kids, a wife and personally guaranteed loans.  It’s here where staying true to your vision and working your mission pulls you through to the other side where you finally start seeing the rewards of your effort.  It’s at this point in your journey you get to choose if you go public, create a merger, you are purchased or you just keep right on growing.  You harvest the fruit from the seeds you planted in the fertile ground of your imagination, your vision, your mission, your work and your faith and belief.

Live Up:  Your company promised you and others something in the beginning.  What was it?  To retire on a beach?  To change the way the world use water as a resource?  To leave your family financially secure?  Steve Jobs wanted to put a dent in the Universe. Microsoft’s pledge was to put a computer in every household.  I read that the intention behind the video and book, “The Secret,” was to bring “joy to billions of people.”  If you take your idea to its ultimate conclusion, what did it accomplish?  Did you put your dent in the universe or bring joy to billions.  Have you made enough money to live your life on a beach in Maui?   So ask yourself this question,” How does what you are wanting for your company, establish or still in its entrepreneurial seizure stage evolve into being even more than you have visualize already?”

For me, the goal is always and will always remain a positive upwards spiral, where the repetition of these three steps lead to bigger and better results in a fulfilling, meaningful life well lived…plus a Ferrari!  (I don’t care if it’s a stereotype, I still want one).

Back to AC/DC the lyrics say:

Sound of the drums
Beatin’ in my heart
The thunder of guns
Tore me apart
You’ve been thunderstruck.

It’s my hope you are “thunderstruck” by your entrepreneurial vision and empowered by your mission, and your ability to take the leap into your world of start up, grow up. and live up.
I salute you, as you are about to Rock!