5 Things Every Entrepreneur Needs to Know
By Eugene Cho
October 10, 2012
After having started three fairly large undertakings with planting Quest Church, starting a nonprofit community cafe & music venue, and most recently, One Day’s Wages, I can tell you that I’ve made some mistakes and blunders along the way. There’s many and each of these can be a chapter of a book but here’s a quick summation of some of them. Here’s five important pieces of advice I can give to especially those who are starting something new including churchplants, nonprofits, businesses and anything else you can think of that involves working with other people.
1) Expect Sacrifice and Cost
There’s a cost and sacrifice. Just remember that because the minute you forget that is the moment you’ll get kicked in the gut. Pursuing visions and dreams will always cost you something and more often than not, it’s not just one thing.
For the record, I won’t listen to anyone that’s not willing to sacrifice something for their visions and dreams.
With every endeavor, there’s always been a small exodus of people that disagree, misunderstand and eventually depart.
2) Expect the Entrepreneurial Exodus
With every endeavor, there’s always been a small exodus of people that disagree, misunderstand and eventually depart. I call it the Entrepreneurial Exodus and yes, I just made that up. When we finally launched the church, people left. When I was stupid enough to launch a building campaign in the first year of our church, and when we renovated the building and started the cafe, people left. When another church “merged” into Quest, people left. When One Day's Wages was getting started, people left. Starting new things open you up disagreements, criticism and the entrepreneurial exodus.
It’s not ideal but it happens. There’s a reason why it’s been documented that in the process of a church engaging and finishing a building project, up to 30 percent of a congregation leaves. And as you plan for sacrifice and cost, you can expect some of it will come in the form of friends and partners heading out the door.
3) Put Forth Energy and Tenacity
The energy required to launch any vision or dream is beyond what you can probably fathom. And for those who think they know, it is simply because they know in their head but have yet to experience it through their heart and soul. Be prepared and know that it’s going to incredibly difficult and be prepared to feel it as you go through it.
When I look at those who have pursued and lived out their dreams, one of the commonalities is tenacity.
But here’s the key thing: This is only for a season and not for ever.
For many, this is what separates dreamers and those who implement their dreams into reality. When I look at those who have pursued and lived out their dreams, one of the commonalities is tenacity. Be tenacious. I’m no longer as impressed with ideas. I’m more impressed with passionate and tenacious people with ideas.
4) Cast Vision and Over-Communicate
One of the biggest blunders I’ve made is to under-communicate.
Cast the vision. Distribute the vision. Share the vision. And share it again. In short, over-communicate until people tell you, “That’s enough. I get it.” Don’t leave too much room for misunderstandings and false assumptions.
Because if you do, misunderstandings will always happen. Always.
5) People are Greater than the Project
When you start something, you’re essentially working on a project. You’re giving life and birth to something. In the business language, you become a project manager but when you elevate the project over the value of people or more bluntly, when you use people to pursue your project, you’ve missed the point and you’ll hurt some people along the way.
It’s singlehandedly the source of my greatest pain.
What’s important to note is that if you’re not careful, hurting people in favor of the project happens when it’s not intended.
How do I know? Because I have done those very things. The remedy? Vision and projects may perish. People don’t. Learn how to value people.
And yes, I’m still working on that one and for that matter, all of the above.