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Empowerment

The Entrepreneur’s High

When was the last time you felt empowered? I mean, that ultimate responsibility for your actions and outcome, the nauseating and exhilarating notion that you were in control?

For entrepreneurs, the feeling is fleeting. Some days, we feel like we have the tiger by the tail. Other days, the tiger has us firmly in its jaws and won’t let go for anything. That’s the blessing and the curse of entrepreneurship. Some days, you can feel, either way, multiple times each day. It’s exhausting, really.

For our Start-Up School clients, empowerment is a direct result of the learning process that we take them through. Let me share a recent example:

One of our newest clients was 7 months into his new business and didn’t yet have any financials. He was running the business strictly from bank statements (not an uncommon trait of start-up owners) but really had no idea how the business was doing. After we helped him catch up the accounting for the first 7 months, and provided his very first P&L, he quickly realized that something was wrong. We had been discussing the importance of the company’s gross margin, and it was way too low. One look. Something was amiss. It came to light that the company had lost about $90k in margin on the current year’s jobs because of an invoice preparation error. My client was devastated.

Devastated, but quickly thereafter, EMPOWERED. Yes, it sucks to have lost that much profit. It would have sucked much more, however, if this error had persisted for another six months. The business likely would have folded…it couldn’t have survived. But now, he knows what happened and we are helping build a process for invoicing that will NEVER let this happen again. There will be a written process for the preparation of every single invoice, with an automated invoice preparation process on top of that, and now we are also watching them.

This business’ alliance with our Start-Up School not only uncovered a potentially lethal error but in the exact same breath, provided the entrepreneur with that familiar high associated with empowerment. While the owner felt like he had failed, we quickly shed the light on the positives and encouraged empowerment.

Knowledge provides empowerment; empowerment brings clarity, and clarity brings profitability.

That’s a sequence I can get behind.

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