When it comes to being a young, aspiring entrepreneur, there are 5-10 basic areas of study one needs to consider. These areas include financial, marketing, sales, personnel, customer relations, product and others.
What is always missing from the discussion is the exact role a successful, young entrepreneur must embrace. When dealing with employees, contacts, customers and themselves, it’s not good enough to be ‘The Boss.’ One of the most important steps a young entrepreneur can take in his or her career is learning to be ‘The Man.’
What does ‘The Man’ mean?
Being ‘The Man’ means there is no one else, that the buck stops here, that the decision must be made, and a ‘no decision’ is a decision. It means you are all alone, and everyone else and everything else is just advice. Advice is interesting and important, but ‘The Man’ knows that advice is abundant and while one person says go to the right, another will say go to the left.
Even group decisions are not possible, because often they sway with the wind. Often, the choice must be made, to be harsh and unfriendly and unlikeable and demanding when it comes to getting your way. That may sound unappealing, but frankly there is no where to go but through it.
As a young entrepreneur gets older and more experienced, and has more money to work with, he or she can be more reasonable, friendly, and responsive. But when you are half broke and need to get this idea done and sold, there is no way around not being ‘The Man.’
Look at the stories of some of the most successful entrepreneurs of our time – Mark Zuckerberg, Bill Gates and Steve Jobs. They are all harsh, bossy, and aggressive. If Zuckerberg was at all friendly, he would have passified all those friends and colleagues by letting them own the majority of Facebook. Then Zuckerberg would have worked in a friendly group and No Product Would Have Been Made of any consequence – period. Same with Gates and Jobs.
No one wants to come off as unfriendly, but success of that magnitude requires it.
Being ‘The Man’ isn’t enough
Launching and growing a successful company requires a lot more than simply being ‘The Man,’ and a little friendliness can help in the long run.
For example, try to be compassionate when ramrodding the required product features to the finish line. Try to remember the people that got you where you are, even when you told them to just shut up and get it done your way. Try to be nice to the customers you dropped when they did not fit your purpose.
Try to be nice to your dog, when you kicked it out of frustration during the two or three years, when you were certain your company was going under. Try to be nice to this author when you decide you do not want to be ‘The Man,’ but would sure like to be a successful entrepreneur.
But most importantly, remember that when you finally decide to go out on your own, you must also include one more important feature to your resume – willing to be ‘The Man.’
About the Author: Daniel Cocanougher is the CEO and founder of allcal, a free calendar and scheduling app. He has started several successful businesses in various industries, including real estate, energy resources, and television production. Back in 1994 he helped launch and run FUNimation, the largest distributor of anime and other foreign entertainment properties in North America. The company is best known for bringing the popular anime action series Dragon Ball Z to the U.S.