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Entrepreneurship Fundamentals: Becoming the Entrepreneurial CEO
Image: – – Macho Spouse
A CEO is that one person who embodies the entirety of the business they represent. They internalize everything about the business and then direct their energy and effort into making good decisions that (hopefully) fall in line with strategies designed to grow the business into profitability.
What makes an Entrepreneurial CEO so special is their humble starting point. While CEOs of existing companies have resources, a staff, and money to operationalize their actions, an Entrepreneurial CEO typically has none of that. You are the resource. You set the framework from which to organize, then layout the business' milestones and timelines in pursue of the desired end state. You also have the challenge of simultaneously balancing present-day tasks with long-range planning and being able to effectively communicate that to the team. And ultimately, you are the one responsible for how well (or not) things turn out. Sound intimidating? It is! But you have some things working in your favor.
Remember that Entrepreneurship is a Process
Entrepreneurship is a process. As you read this Blog, don't let your mind get off track by focusing exclusively on the enormity of work that must take place to conceptualize, develop, and launch a small business in its totality. Instead, understand that you can tackle each task, one at a time, and over time can cover a lot of ground. As your experience grows, so does the complexity and number of tasks. Each step will help you build your small business database and acumen.
To help you in your journey, the best asset you have is your time in the military and the Active-Duty Entrepreneur Model. The bedrock of your support is a stable job that provides consistent income. Beyond that, you and your family have free (or very low cost) healthcare and a defined career timeline from which you can plan for separation or retirement.
With the ADE model working for you, you can make well thought-out decisions that are less subject to external pressure because you do not have to prematurely field your product or service to put food on the dinner table. Instead, you have more control over your timeline and can take action that will help you mature into a more effective business leader.
Judgment and Picking the Right Team
As the Entrepreneurial CEO, in many ways, you are the business. No one else has put in the time, effort, and energy you have. You know what your business is, what it can become, and how to get it there. However, at some point, you will need others to do the work you are either unable to do or don't have the time to do.
The world is teeming with talent, but the great ones are hard to find. When you seek people to do contract work for you, don't fall into the trap of thinking that big-name brands will have the best talent. Likewise, don't assume those advertising on Craig's List can't get the job done. Finding the right people is an iterative process that take times and effort. Be patient and keep looking for the right people for your business. Look for those you can trust and who can do good, consistent, and dependable work for you. When you find the right team, be sure to take care of them!
Use Your Gut and Be Fearless
Becoming an Active-Duty Entrepreneur is a supreme challenge but can also provide tremendous satisfaction and fulfillment. Make your business the focal point from which to make sound, well thought-out decisions. When the road is uncertain and the 100% “correct” choice is not clear—and this will happen—make a gut decision, be fearless and execute it to the best of you and your team's ability. These moments, more than any other, are the ones that help you become the Entrepreneurial CEO.
I would like to hear your thoughts on the post. Please comment below.
About the Author: Jason Anderson is a 19 year USAF Lietenant Colonel who is also a small business owner and author of the book, "Active Duty Entrepreneur." You can follow Jason on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/activedutyentrepreneur) and Twitter (https://twitter.com/ADEntrepreneur1). To read more from Jason and to order his book, follow this link: http://activedutyentrepreneur.com/
Where has the time gone? It seems like yesterday I became a stay-at-home-dad (SAHD) and was asking for help and opinions on everything. I have to say “thank you” to everyone who helped me with this big transition. And speaking of transitions, this one is complete...I am now a SAHD and proud of it! I can now rock a puke-stained jacket, diaper bags, and car seats with pink bows on them with no problem. My days of being a Marine are in the past, I will always love the Corps, but now I have a greater love...my girls.
It's the holiday season and to me that means spending time with family and friends while reflecting on the year that was. How many had a good year? How many of you feel as if you've accomplished, overcome, loved and laughed as much as possible? There have been a few bad years in my life where I just wanted the damn thing to finish so I could start fresh with a clean slate, it's a mindset, but we all know that reality doesn't work that way. I usually judge my life in a similar way as to how we judge football coaches, “what have you done for me lately.” My year was a good one, a net-positive. So congratulations, you get “happy Chris,” or at least “less grumpy and sarcastic Chris.”
The tremendous amount of progress within the male military spouse community is one reason why 2015 was a good year. Guys, we're finally starting to get some recognition. People, businesses, and other organizations are starting to approach us and ask for our input, insight, and yes, our business. Marketers are finally recognizing that we are a demographic worth pursuing; just check out this holiday spot from Toys R Us. (I just bought 4 gift cards for my nieces from them because of this commercial.)
In 2015, Macho Spouse was approached by the Sonoran Desert Institute's School of Firearms Technology to hold the first ever “Male Military Spouse Appreciation Day” where SDI donated a full-tuition scholarship to their popular Gunsmithing certificate course. (Male military spouses are a large demographic for them.) USAA asked for our participation to help raise awareness on the importance of life insurance during “Life Insurance Awareness Month.” Yeah, I didn't know that month existed before this opportunity either, but USAA sure knows that we exist! And Marriott really knocked us off our feet when they offered several nights worth of hotel stays in return for a few reviews on their TownePlace Suites properties. TownePlace Suites made it very clear that they are interested in helping military families who are on the road, from PCSing to family vacations, TownePlace Suites wants our business! And it's not like this is some shabby hotel chain guys, their rooms are usually very spacious, clean, come with fully equiped kitchens, and hot breakfasts. I was surprised to learn how many were actuallyl located near military installations, which makes them a great temporary housing option, or vacation get-a-way. In full disclosure, I dispersed their generous offering quietly among those guys who have helped keep Macho Spouse up and running over the last few years. We don't make any money here, so when a top-notch organization such as Marriott offers us some swag, I like to spread it out amongst our volunteers first. If you want access to some of this cool stuff, contact me and be prepared to help build our community. But while I'm speaking of TownePlace Suites, you guys should check them out because they're really showing their appreciation and commitment to our military community! That goes for USAA and Sonoran Desert Institute as well, these organizations aren't just talking about supporting male military spouses, they're actually doing it. So let's not forget to return this generosity in 2016.
While I'm patting others on the back, I can't forget the amazing content NextGen Military Spouse, Military.com/SpouseBuzz, and Military Spouse delivered on behalf of male military spouses in 2015. When I started Macho Spouse in late 2011/early 2012, there was nearly nothing…nothing, written for or about us male military spouses. No blogs, no websites, no Facebook pages, no nothing. Now look at us, male spouses are popping up everywhere! (We've probably had absolutely nothing to do with this trend, but I will take full credit.) So despite terrorism, politics, war, and racial unrest, life hasn't been all bad this year. It's been good enough for me to crack a cold one, light a cigar, sit back and reflect on how far we've come and how many goals are still left to accomplish. Don't worry, I won't be consuming and driving while reflecting, Dana and I have already booked our New Year's Eve room at the San Antonio Riverwalk TownePlace Suites. Happy 2015 everyone, have a safe holiday season!