The journey of entrepreneurship is a path of 1,000 steps. And that’s just to avoid failure in the first year.
True success. The success you seek. Is thousands more. It is not fenced by roses. It is muddy, rocky, overgrown in some places, where rain and storms are more common than clear skies.
This is only avoided by avoiding business. By avoiding entrepreneurship. If you choose to run a business, and you want it to grow, you are inviting conflict.
The majority of the conflict will come from your family, friends, and the people you trust most, rely on the most, and promote in your business – if you are successful.
The steps you’ve taken so far are the most important – you start with one, after all – but each additional step is a function of increased resources, costs, complexity, and risk.
And enemies, as they increase faster than friends.
This is what happens once you “succeed” and get over the first hurdle.
You now face the most difficult step – scale.
Complexity [enters]. “Tradeoffs are the rule. Doubt is permanent. Risk is endogenous.”
Wisdom and Realism [both enter]. “We doth agree.”
Going from 0 to 1 is comparatively simple – spiritually, emotionally, technically. There are so few moving pieces. You alone can canvass them.
It’s you and your founding team. Only people you believe in and who believe in you.
Only a handful of customers – maybe just one – who believes in you.
Only one vendor or supplier, who you know personally and, moreover, you are in the honeymoon phase with them…
Everybody is on board to sacrifice. Everybody understands and is excited by the new. Everyone has lower expectations for today and dates their checks for the future.
When you make it…
Those demands which were hidden behind smiles and personal calculations…
Those future checks. Those evolving demands. The weariness after dawn.
A dulled patina of the early days… framed, displayed, and remember fondly if rewarded; remembered bitterly if the future fell a scintilla short of hopes.
This is what success looks like.
Demands, power structures, playing politics, having to negotiate with parties that have too much influence over you, internal conflict, doing 100 things a day that you MUST do.
Because you don’t have other realistic options. At least, for now…
You’ve taken all this burden and stress for wealth.
All innovation that exists in the world is there because of people like you who sacrifice their mental health while praising and supporting the world to the furthest length your dollar can afford.
If you go down this path, you’re a hero. The person who redeems the world in the most profound of ways.
But do not go gently into that growing venture. Because success comes at a price. And the real suffering starts after you start to succeed.
Further Challenges and Sacred Cows [both enter].
“Why so forlorn? “Don’t fix what isn’t broken” is our adage – honorable and agreeable indeed! What’s work’d to get us here shall see us into eternity. We just want a business that runs itself, after all.”
“We went to sleep moored in a pond and awoke in a raft upon a sea of troubles. A storm could break us, a ship would shatter us, and our paltry crew is a short straw away from mutiny or desertion. A business that runs itself will have one hundred copies tomorrow and one thousand copies next month. Like all things so easy…”
Congratulations upon leaving the pond. Welcome to open warfare.
Continued growth requires adaptation, continuous energy – like a drum beat of hope and willfulness – and the “shattering of sacred cows.”
Growth requires you to abandon all your personal preferences beyond profitability and domination.
This language is not an exaggeration. Domination is appropriate.
When you understand how power works this is obvious, especially as Businesses and Nation States have nearly identical logic. For example…
The purpose of a Nation State is to get Power.
The purpose of a Business is to get Profit.
Why is this the case?
Because these P words are the tool by which Nation States and Businesses Provide for their People.
A nation state with more power can
A business with more profit can
Staying small is not moral, honorable, or wise.
Become an upright Empire. Be strong, capable, and just.
I am their advisor.
I stand behind them in the shadows. I take no credit, wish for no fame, and prefer anonymity. I subordinate myself to them and am fiercely loyal. I help them turn their businesses into empires, and only work with those where the relationship could last a lifetime.