The American dream, to own one’s own business and have control of his or her life. The ability to follow a passion and turn it into a living; after all, if you love what you do, it’s not a job. Isn’t that what they tell us? So you took the first step and made your first decision—to become an entrepreneur. You filed the paperwork, created a snazzy name, ordered your business cards and bought a domain. And, since it’s your dream and company, and because it has a nice ring to it, you choose the title of CEO. Congratulations! You are now your own boss!
The Second Decision is the choice you make when you fully realize the responsibility that rests on your shoulders. Are you enjoying this? Are you up to the task? Most importantly: Do you possess the vision, the personal skills, the perseverance and the nuts-and-bolts knowledge that your company needs from its leader at this stage of its growth? If not, can you get there? Do you want to? The Second Decision is about whether or not to become a Qualified Entrepreneur™!
You may know the answers to some of those questions already, or think you do. But this book offers you the opportunity to take a self-awareness journey in search of the real data you’ll need for making a well-reasoned Second Decision. It invites you to really explore how ready you are for continued and expanded leadership and, with that, whether you’re ready to take the steps necessary to become what I call a Qualified Entrepreneur.
Revealing my bias right here and now, I hope that becoming a Qualified Entrepreneur ends up being your Second Decision. As part of this decision, you could opt to remain the leader. You could decide to share some of your leadership responsibilities with someone who brings skills that you lack. You could choose to move on and start another company too, if that’s what’s best for you and your current business. There are other possible outcomes as well. Whatever the result, I know that becoming more aware of your strengths and weaknesses is a desirable goal for an entrepreneur or CEO.
The Second Decision journey towards becoming the Qualified Entrepreneur will be about both leadership and entrepreneurship. As an entrepreneur or CEO, you don’t need to understand every detail of every function in the operation. But you do need to know why each function exists, what it does, and how it contributes to the overall success of the enterprise.
Experience in starting and building companies has led me to believe that being led by a Qualified Entrepreneur is what’s best for growing companies and the people who populate them. Still, it’s only best for the company when it’s also best for the person at the top.