Your Next Act Starts Now: Here's How to Make It Count
Some entrepreneurs build a business and stick with it for an entire career. Others start companies, sell them, and then repeat. But either one can run into the question of what to do next after a certain degree of success.
Investor and entrepreneur Brad Feld received an interesting email from someone whom he had previously backed and who exited his business some time back. This person noticed that a good number of people "chase their tail endlessly looking for the next big win, but they can never catch it because they have no idea what they are chasing." Such successful entrepreneurs fall into uncertainty and self-doubt.
Keep finding your passion
"I think it's mostly because they never find passion again, or they look for it in the wrong places," the entrepreneur said. They assume they should chase the next widget, but it doesn't give their lives the meaning they crave. They ask, "What next?" and miss an answer in the echoes.
But even if you haven't just been offered seven or eight figures for your company, business is always a matter of starting over. You bring in some customers and then need to understand what your relationship will be to them. Hire some employees and quickly face the issue of how to compensate them, develop talent, and, sadly, what to do when someone doesn't measure up. Build a distribution network and consider how to keep business partners actively interested in selling your products.
Take a new direction to go where you want to be
Every day becomes a question of "What next?" Will you put some profits into new production equipment or paying down debt? Update an existing product's features or break into a new market with a different line? You could reshape your entire company from the ground up for whatever reason you wish: to make more money, better serve customers, satisfy your own urge to create a superior product, or even have bragging rights about the size of your business.
The point is that you aren't stuck in what you did or the ideas you had yesterday or the problems you faced. Today and tomorrow are open with possibilities. All you have to do is decide to make use of them to run the business, and live the life, that you really want. It's time for a healthy dose of practical optimism.
ERIK SHERMAN | Columnist
Erik Sherman's work has appeared in such publications as The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times Magazine, and Fortune. He also blogs for CBS MoneyWatch.