Do you remember when you first became an entrepreneur? You probably had plans to change the world (or at least your neighborhood or industry). At that time you had a fantastic advantage you probably don’t have now: You had no idea of the forces that could keep you from seeing your plans come to fruition. In short, you were ignorant. And in this case, ignorance is not only bliss, but a useful virtue. What forces could keep you from reaching your dreams? Well, gravity, for one. In business, gravity comes in many forms. It could be in the form of a complacent workforce. It could be in the form of hearing “no” too often from prospects. It could simply be in the form of fatigue after years of dealing with the demands of running a business.
Can you remember the original dream you had when you became a business owner? It’s hard. Over time, we begin to think more modestly. When we do think of a great idea for our business, we often come up with reasons why it can’t be accomplished. We don’t have the money, the right people, or the time.
One definition of an entrepreneur is a person who undertakes an opportunity regardless of the resources he or she currently controls. Instead of thinking why we can’t, we must think of how we can. It may be by creating a partnership, hiring a freelancer, or taking out a loan or line of credit. But often there is a way. Let your dreams — not your resources — set your goals.
This month’s cover story features the leadership behind TheaterMania. Among other things, what struck me about Darren Sussman and Gretchen Shugart is that despite the fact that the pair’s approach to business is fundamentally conservative (they haven’t taken on any debt and they’re very choosy about where they focus their attention), their company has seen remarkable growth. As you can read on page 30, had co-founder Darren let gravity get the best of him, he might well have been out of business by now. But rather than seeing the limitations of his business, he saw the opportunities and brought on Gretchen as the CEO. They are expecting to do $10 million in revenue this year. Now, instead of suffering the effects of gravity, TheaterMania is flying high.
Robert Levin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The New York Enterprise Report. Levin has extensive experience with midsize and small businesses, having previously held CEO, CFO, and COO positions with companies in several industries. He is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Levin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (212) 307-6760.