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WEEKLY THOUGHT: Godwin Start-Up School

When entrepreneurs are faced with decisions, their first inclination is never to wait. We are solution-finders, innovators, and brave souls. We don’t just sit and wait for things to happen to us. We make things happen, right?

I know an entrepreneur who was faced with a major decision mid-way through his successful career. He was in the middle of his third or fourth business venture, and he became ill. Nothing life threatening, but it did keep him from doing his work. And he had a family to support…a son who was not quite a teenager and a daughter who was getting married in three months. His wife worked a part-time job but was also there to help him with the administrative aspects of his business at night. So, what did he do? He found a new venture, and within about two months, he was in it. He borrowed some money from his brother, got the business started, and was profitable from year 1.

That man is my father, and while I wasn’t in on the decisions at the time, I found out later what happened. He was a house painter, and he developed an inner ear disease that kept him from climbing the ladders. If you know anything about house painting, if you can’t climb a ladder, you can’t paint. He had to pivot.

He’s an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, and he worked with my mom for 23 years in his new venture.

That career path paid for my sister’s wedding, bought me a car (or two), put me through college and helped them tremendously. They had never had savings before. They paid off their house early. And it’s where I learned how to work, by watching my dad and mom run a wildly successful general store. I saw the devotion it takes to build a business, and I learned that you can’t do it alone. The relationships you build with customers and vendors will sustain you, and I saw how powerful it is to work with a spouse who is invested in your business.

So, when you have a new idea or a new plan, don’t analyze it to death. Yes, do your due diligence to make sure you aren’t being foolish. And judge all new ideas by the same yardstick you used to start your business venture…are you filling a need, can you make this new idea profitable, and are you doing a good thing for everyone? But don’t just sit back and wait for the exact right time. It’s like having kids…if we all waited until it was the exact right time, we’d all be here alone. Jump out there and make it happen.

If you have a new idea you want to introduce in your business, let’s discuss it. Don’t keep it to yourself. How fair is that?

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