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Saturday, August 16, 2008

Entrepreneurship In A Word: Part 2 – Discipline

Entrepreneurs, regardless of what industry they are in, tend to follow similar patterns as they establish and grow their businesses. If you want to be successful faster than normal or at a greater scale than normal, you will do well to understand the patterns that lead to problems and the patterns that lead to success.


Discipline…control gained by obedience and training…is the key to putting the knowledge of patterns into play. After all, successful development of your business depends first upon having a good strategy and then upon good implementation.


Many business owners approach starting a new business as though it is an instinctive skill. They think that if they know how to cook chicken, they are fully equipped to open a chicken restaurant. It is this pattern of following your instincts, flying by the seat of your pants, that causes so many people to run into the same problems.


The discipline of starting a business begins with the fundamental three planning questions:


  1. Where are you now? This is about getting oriented to your current situation. If you have never owned a business before, you have a bigger learning curve ahead of you than the person who is opening their third business. If you have vast financial resources, you face a different starting point than the person who is already in debt.

  2. Where are you going? This is where you define your objective? Do you want a solo opportunity that will grant you a few hundred dollars extra income or are you looking to be at the top of the INC 500 in five years? What is it that you want to build?

  3. How are you going to get there? You might think of this as the bridge that you must build to cross the chasm between where you are now and where you want to be. You might call this your strategy.

Slow down to act with discipline. Begin by answering these three questions. You are likely to accelerate your overall success.


No one embodies the concept of discipline more than Marines. Look at how their discipline inspires us to think of them as super humans.


Talk with a drill sergeant. Ask them about recruits getting off the bus on day 1 of Boot Camp. Do you think they achieve becoming…one of the few…one of the proud…flying by the seat of their pants? Are you ready to begin your training? Will you inspire the people who must do business with you… your employees, your vendors, your lenders, your customers?

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