Conversation with an entrepreneur
Monday October 31 2022
A gated community provides its residents with a sense of security and security in numbers. It’s also a source of great anxiety stemming from confining humans with different tastes to the confined space of a pressure cooker. Add to that the cold, sterile wasteland of WhatsApp real estate group chats, and you have a social train smash.
I live in one such gated community. In this community there are dog owners and dog haters are not the same. House number X has a dog that has chosen to make its presence known only during magic hour from 10:00 pm to about 2:00 am, and alone chases away the nuts next door to adjacent house number Y.
But here’s where it gets interesting. House number Y typically posts a not-so-gentle annoyance on the property’s WhatsApp group around 10 p.m.: “House number X please stop barking at your dog,” followed by “% What is $^&” wrong with your dog and its constant barking? around 2am.
For some reason, House Number Y didn’t see fit to put on sackcloth and go to House Number X to ask for relief from the disastrous curse imposed on him by that despicable dog owner.
Instead, WhatsApp messages continued to be posted weekly, with no evidence of attempted one-on-one interaction. The frustrated shop Y tenants are just talking to themselves.
Recently, my job was to help a medium-sized family-owned company establish an advisory board. This is one step below the statutory committee where directors fulfill their legally imposed fiduciary responsibilities. Newly Appointed Advisory Board Observing her first conversation with the director, one thing that always strikes me is the surprise on the founder’s face.
This surprise often stems from the realization that there are individuals who have a significant amount of work experience wholly unrelated to the business in question, but that experience is dark and blind to which the entrepreneur was completely blind. You can add value in terms of looking around the corner.
These initial conversations help entrepreneurs understand their strategy, financial performance, operational risks they never imagined but always lurked below the surface, brand perceptions, sales assumptions, and many other important business parameters. It can often be very fulfilling because it is asked about.
The only entity that asks some of these questions are entrepreneurial bankers, and these questions are more motivating than “How are we going to pay off our loans?” How can you grow your business sustainably while responsibly avoiding risks?
For entrepreneurs, there is no motivation other than to have a talented individual sitting around the table and seeing her succeed. It’s refreshing to have people with brains who can pull her off the edge of a cliff when she’s at her limit. .
One such entrepreneur told me that he was grateful to the new advisory board for providing much-needed encouragement when the day-to-day business hustle and bustle began to wear off.
Having grown her business to a certain level of stability, she needed a new challenge. Her board of directors was able to present her with new business opportunities she never thought of, while ensuring she had the right level of senior management resources.
Advanced guardrails in business allow her to divert her attention elsewhere, wasting considerable intellectual capital and time bandwidth. She was accustomed to proactively reaching out to every part of the business, so a strategic focus on setting up the highly paid and experienced human capital aspect of the business was an I had no idea.
For an entrepreneur, being at the top is not only lonely, but also scary because your business is central to both your life and your survival. It’s not even a WhatsApp group where the voices of the crisis are deafening. Advisory boards are an effective way to gain much-needed intellectual relief from the loneliness curse of day-to-day business. Twice every day and Sunday.