As an entrepreneur you get used to the fact that everybody in your company eventually looks at you for solutions to problems. You are their beacon with the magic stick. You are supposed to know it all and guide them through the darkness towards the light. But you also have no idea sometimes. Most of the time you only have your experiences, values, intellect and commons sense to work with. But the world can be a scary place. How to deal with fear, uncertainty and other emotions when you build a fast growing company that is changing an industry?
- Aim High
Setting high goals and high standards is risky. Unrealistic goals and standards can become real demotivators and create fear. However aiming high is the only way for higher than average growth. This is true for personal development and company growth. Allow yourself and your people to fail and learn from it. Better to aim high and fail than to aim low and succeed.
- Reward Risk
Create a culture where taking risks is rewarded. Remember that there is no success without failure. And it is not the goal itself that is most important but the roads you take to get as close as possible. Enjoy the small steps of achievement and learn from the failures. Try something new, think about the customers, think about your colleagues. Take risks.
- Build Trust
If you are very ambitious and want to change the market you are in, building trust is essential. Your colleagues need to have the feeling that everything will be okay and your (potential) customers need to feel that you are doing the right thing for their business. I think this is the most difficult thing to do, especially when you have a revolutionary business model and your competitors warn your customers that your business model that saves them so much money is doomed to fail. The question here is: Do you rather stay with a company that does not innovate anymore or do you rather go to a company that invests all its profits (and sometimes more) into things that benefit you in the long run?
- Be Paranoid (at least a little)
I constantly try to challenge my own assumptions by talking to my colleagues, our customers, suppliers, peers and by reading a lot. I always try to create an environment of ‘sufficient discomfort’. Not too much but definitely not too little. Our industry has a lot of challenges and dangers, so we need to be sharp, on edge and aware of them.
- Put people first
One of the most important lessons I have learned is that the company is not about me. It is all about the people you work with. They make the difference between being average or excellent. The more I learned to put the people first, the better the company became. We try to be very open towards each-other about our fears, struggles, challenges and we try to match the company goals with their personal goals in life.
Being an entrepreneur is a great but scary experience!