I force myself read my admissions essay at least once a week. I think of it as my testament to throwing off the small thinking that has doomed every enterprise in which I’ve ever engaged, what Dr. Lahm calls “Me, Inc., Syndrome” in his article “Starting Your Business: Avoiding the ‘Me Incorporated’ Syndrome.” I’ve been making a lot of “sandwishes” that evaporate when a good idea devolves into too much work for little or no gain. I see it happening to a lot of entrepreneurs, including some of my clients.
Success challenges us to move out of our comfort zone, imagine a larger enterprise, dream a dream worth living, and seek out A-Players, let them do the heavy lifting because that’s what you hired them to do, then step aside and let others polish the brass and clean the toilets. Stop being a control freak, make a plan, raise the money, and hire the people to carry out the plan while planning for an exit to go build another enterprise. Or go golfing. So says Eric Herrenkohl in How to Hire A-Players.
On the one hand thinking big is scary. Hiring A-Players means paying A-Salaries. However, having A-Players along with a solid plan means having plenty of cash and–more important–more time on our hands to make plans to put those A-Players to work making us some more money. So now we return to the place we started. Having a good enough plan to attract good enough people to attract enough capital to fund the whole thing. It’s quite the immaculate circle.
I’ve already incorporated ideas I’m learning from this course as I go because I actually run this business currently, in a bootstrapped making a subsistence living kind of way. This past week, a client I was consulting for mentioned his interest in investing in a friend’s business idea converting NC grown hemp into homegrown CBD oils. Sounds like a great idea, I told him. Who’s going to make it happen and how and when do you get your money back? I advised him to spend some small money paying me to sit down with all the principles, ask all the right questions, and make a plan much like our current assignments. We can then work together to pull together a team to make it happen, including the most important part, building a team of A-Players.
The founder doesn’t need to know how to turn hemp into CBD oil. She needs to know someone reliable and detail oriented with the skills and education to turn hemp into CBD oil. And A-Players to produce, market, sell, and do all the things to create a great company. She has a head start on most of us: funding to make it so. Her job will be to find more A-Players, more funding, create a vision, and keep building the business until it becomes a household name in local CBD and can run with or without her so she can always take off to Costa Rica for six months if she likes or sell the business and move to Maui. The latter seemed a lot more likely without good advice from a consultant and seeking out some A-Players.
Sometimes a case study right before our eyes shows us what to do. Every day my vision for Abundance comes more into focus. Yes, keep bootstrapping because I have to pay the bills. Yes, somehow find the time and energy to get the work done and finish the Entrepreneurship Program, because I’m building my business as this goes and eventually–sometime before tax season–I will require an A-Player to run my tax and accounting business while I keep up with my homework and finish the Entrepreneurship Program. Luckily, I have one in mind already and thanks to the Week 4 project, I know what to pay her.
Meanwhile, I need to continue my personal A-Player role, learn even more how I can help other entrepreneurs to build their personal empires and using that knowledge to build my own. I spent a few hours cleaning my house today. Two kids will do that to you. I currently bill at $50/hour. I think a maid will be my first hire. I think they cost less than that.