Introduction: You are likely to be plunging headfirst into your business startup because you know no other way. Your brain is bursting to get going. You have no choice. That’s the way it is. But if you squeeze your priorities and fit in one other process, your chances of success will be greatly enhanced. Take a deep breath and reflect on these five “A” words about your business values, or your way of being in business-now and later.
Avowing: Openly define your larger purpose to yourself and others-before you start writing a business plan. Consciously know and share your beliefs and values. Prepare yourself and others involved in the startup on the way that these beliefs and values will impact on the business and the way it will be conducted. The benefits include: enhancing your good feelings about what you are doing; creating a clearer business ethos and identity to drive your business forward and make it stand out in the market; avoiding practices that could lead to trouble with colleagues, customers and others involved in the business.
Attending: Observe and notice what’s going on around you and be awake to what’s at stake. Attend to the issues of importance. These may concern your family or your business milieu or the wider world. Be sure to investigate all the resources available to you and behavior, both yours and other peoples’. Trust your intuition and those ‘little voices’, but be sure to make sense of the data you need to inform and drive the business as it changes. “I haven’t got time for that, I’ve got to get the wash out.” You hear that pretty often, don’t you? You may even say it yourself. If you hear those words, hesitate a moment, in case the intervention might be important.
Allowing: Stay present. It’s easy to say and difficult to do, especially for an entrepreneur. The mind is full of things past and future, ringing bells and pressing for attention. If you keep those chattering monkeys at bay, you’ll find answers to problems coming from amazing quarters-often from places you’d least expect. When facing problems, if you listen quietly and remain open to potentiality, especially in tricky, vexing or querulous situations, solutions may appear as if from nowhere. Be sure to cultivate the art of possibility.
Acting: Yes, yes, entrepreneurs know all about action. They make things happen. But often the best business school thinking on decision making calls for careful analysis, data collection and logical problem-solving. Of course, this is wise, and yet you need to have trust that you can do it now-with conviction. The business person with flair is able to follow the flow, expeditiously. If you delay and decide only when you have what you think are all the facts, you may find out that what you assumed was hard data was only opinion dressed up as information.
Affirming: Have the courage to be honest with yourself and others. Have the confidence to assert your convictions positively. Be prepared to stand for the beliefs and values that you declared before you started the startup. This may mean admitting that a business action was wrong. It may have been made with the best of intention, but accepting the error and moving on should reinforce the core of what your business is about. How many times have you had an encounter with a company representative that would just not admit a mistake and continued to defend his position with, “it’s company policy not to…”?
These five “A” words should give you great impetus and also save you a lot of pain as your business lifts off and sustains your original dream.