I don’t know why the word “solopreneur” is in our lexicon. Nobody can physically do it all by themselves and more importantly, why would they want to?
Being the sales team, the HR department, management, and production all by yourself is terrible. Period.
You know the stats – 80% failure rates for small businesses, 70% of small businesses have only one employee, an average of three years to reach breakeven, and on and on.
A person who willingly goes into business for themselves – and intentionally seeks out “solopreneurship” is insane!
Underneath the statistics, though, are some telling assumptions.
The first one is that plenty of people really dislike working in a traditional business environment and that, more than anything, seems to drive them into the melee that is small business ownership. Red tape, bureaucracy, and archaic systems all serve to drive many new companies to play fast and loose with systems when, in fact, reimagining the systems they sought to escape from would give them tangible benefits in terms of success and time.
At the same time, many new owners often feel compelled to “do it all” because of the many times that delegation failed in traditional systems. In other words, you used to constantly wait on items to be done (due to those poor systems that you were seeking to escape from the corporate world) and so, now, you are happy to work your fingers to the bone since you “can’t find any good people.”
What’s the end result of all this “ownership”?
Eighty-hour weeks to do the same job that you once got paid more for in far fewer hours.
But, hey, at least you’re the boss, right?
To that, I say “phooey!”
If opening your own business is the dream, then it must start with a Dream – not only to understand what it is that you want to do, but also, how you are going to build something better than the same chaotic environment you just left. What makes this even more fulfilling is the fact that this step can be envisioned and structured long before you ever put the mantle of CEO and Founder on a business card.
Take the time to really understand the shortcomings of the business or industry that you are seeking to change and develop the methodology to be the disruptive change in that industry. As you embark on that journey, it is critical to understand that your purpose as an entrepreneur is not to build the same company you just left, but to develop a bright, shining solution to the problem you know needs to be solved.
You may already know how to run a restaurant, but opening another fast-casual dining fusion concept is not the answer. Reimagining the experience of your customers and providing them the palpable change they want … THAT is the restaurant you open.
Remember, you cannot build a better mouse trap by fixing the old one – NewCo demands active ownership and that activity is not the sum of doing multiple jobs, but instead, the sum of implementing paradigm-shifting changes that create new industries and solutions.
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.