How entrepreneurs fail into operations managers

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Enjoying my vacation.. Been out for a few weeks now thinking about random stuff but mostly just trying to keep myself from planning to so something. And it got me thinking about one of the key qualities you need to have in order to succeed (or fail spectacularly, depending on your ambition): willingness to handle risk.

Everyone that goes into business on their own has a certain amount of tolerance for risk (or no other employment opportunities whatsoever) or they would take a job, any job, at the first sign of a gut wrenching failure. So you take on risk, you accept that some of the things you do are not going to work out, some employees will be duds, some clients are going to be unreasonable, some problems will be unsolvable. The key is to only take on so much risk that you have a chance to win or at least live on to fight another day in the worst case scenario.

This also explains why so many people fail in business: they become so guarded in their risk taking that their victories never pile up high enough to tolerate the shit that is bound to blow up for no reason at all. They freeze their ability to act, to respond to market changes, to deal with problems that they try to avoid them. It’s kind of like running out in the middle of the street half way and stopping, hoping that a car doesn’t hit you.

People become so self involved in their process and perfection that they barely take the time to actually build a business. I’ve been guilty of this at times as well, comes from losing perspective: it’s not about squeezing every bit of efficiency out of a very small system, it’s about scaling and growing your system so it produces exponential returns. But that is far harder and far more difficult than the safe and riskless process of being an operations micromanager that double checks everything and everyone, seeks third party review and approval, goes through every single scenario good or bad, tests things on a small scale, holds back, slows down… Basically marks time until the opportunity has passed them entirely.

Don’t be that loser. Having gone down that path at time, trust me, it blows. Because as gratifying as the feeling you get from achieving absolute perfection happens to be… The knife in your forehead when you realize nobody else gives a shit.. Well, can’t paint it any more painfully than that.

Experiment. Try. Do. Trust others and get the hell out of the way. It’s the only way shit happens – yeah, good and bad things will happen. But isn’t that what got you into business in the first place, the chase for the opportunity of what you could become?