The Ego - The Demise to Your Startup
Written by James DiMambro & Tom Stanek
If you’re an entrepreneur or even considering becoming a founder to start your own business, you will inevitably go toe-to-toe with your ego. You’ve already faced it - it was the support that fueled your drive to go independent. Initially, this voice probably said, “I can do it better than anyone else,” or “I have something to share with the world.” Even though your ego is what helped you build self-determination for your startup business, it can quickly get out of control and destroy what you are trying to create in the blink of an eye. This pestering little voice can nip at your brain and eventually disrupt your progress.
To help your vision grow, you will need to fight against your ego. Otherwise, your efforts will become counterproductive. From my experiences as a startup founder, I’ve realized it’s easy to find yourself in a rut, and then retreat inward. The feeling of being lost and ashamed that you don’t have all the answers will weigh on you, and like clockwork, your ego will creep in, begging for the reigns to your startup. In these most difficult times, it is imperative to not fall victim. Your inner voice tells you that a team is the answer, however having a few people on your team helping you limp along isn’t the fix either. Instead, the use of multiple, experienced resource options will present light at the end of the tunnel, pulling you out of the mud and suppressing your ego’s strength so it doesn’t take over your state of mind.
The reality is, nobody (especially not your ego) has all the answers; however, these tips can come in handy to help gain control over your ego, helping to evolve your vision further:
1. Embrace Your Vulnerability
The first step is to accept that you’re not a superhero! Brené Brown (researcher, storyteller, social worker) says, “lean into discomfort and be seen, really seen”. To ask for help will reveal strength, not weakness. Realize not having all the answers is ok! Being able to leverage other people who do will keep your ego in check. Understand your weaknesses and assemble powerful resources to get the job done.
2. Form a Board of Advisors
Having a group of individuals to leverage when you get stuck to help you get unstuck is essential to success. These people can come from all different business backgrounds to apply different perspectives to help you stay on a productive path. Search high and low in your network or have a pitch ready to any candidates that may not know you or your business. These valuable resources will come in handy down the road, but understand they provide guidance and do not execute the day-to-day work.
3. Hire a Fractional Expert
Understanding that you are not the know-it-all and can’t get everything accomplished is the first step. After that, having the talent to leverage in a particular business area that you lack expertise in, especially your weaknesses, will become a game changer. Establish a budget that you can utilize and configure a time frame of when these experts can jump in to help. Avoid the significant expense of hiring anyone at the early stages of your company until you have proven it’s sustainable to avoid the consistent overhead cost. Create momentum for your startup by taking some or all of the essential items off your desk and start to run your business away from your ego.
4. Confidence in Your Independence
The reality is that there is no one like you in the world. However, corporate America likes to pigeon-hole you into a mold because it’s easier to digest. By stepping out of their box, you put yourself into a challenging situation being away from their day-to-day grind and into your own. Congrats to you for entering this different way of conducting business! However, acknowledge it and move on. Otherwise, your ego will feed off of this separation as being too monumental. Becoming rich doesn’t happen overnight, and the reason for your independence is what was the most appealing to you. Connect with other entrepreneurs and founders by networking or attending supportive organizations to build rapport and have a sounding board for developing suggestions.
5. Become Agile
Last but not least, start reading up and connecting with other founders who believe in the philosophy of Agile Enterprise. This knowledge will not only help you develop a support group to lean on, but it will encourage change into your life so your ego can’t fight for stagnation. Allow your customers to have a voice to help you shape your product and test everything. As fast as you can tweak from feedback make it happen to establish a winner. If things don’t seem to be working according to the original vision, pivot your idea toward what is working! Your ego will rattle, not having a chance to command your brain.
At [n] reach, we know all too well how the ego can quickly destroy a grand vision through our first-hand experiences. If you would like to learn more, contact us today.