It's been fashionable for a long time for people to "find themselves." Over forty years, I've noticed that a lot of the people that are looking for that sort of hidden knowledge of self also seem to be those that own their own business.
They might be yoga instructors, life coaches, or even bookkeepers, but somewhere along the journey of business ownership and life, they also are seeking some self-actualization.
In fact, there's an interesting correlation between the two ... a sort of chicken-and-egg question that this raises. Do entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs because they are looking for a more satisfying situation that gives them more gratification or does the search for satisfaction in life drive people to become entrepreneurs?
No matter the reason that men and women seek to climb the highest mountains or to build a new business with their own hands, one thing remains the same - success comes easily to those who ask the right questions and plan according to the answers they find.
The answers aren't hard to find. To be successful on the top of the mountain or the top of your industry takes only three things - planning, training, and time.
Of course, you can throw money at any venture or adventure, too, but no amount of money will make up for a lack of planning, training, and time.
The other problem, of course, is that one or more of those items are usually absent in any expedition - be it to the Himalayas or to an IPO.
Your success as an entrepreneur is ultimately limited by you, in many cases. The Greeks called it hubris, today we might call it ego or conceit.
Are you taking the steps to acknowledge what you actually need to be doing to grow your own company or are you stuck being the "expert" who knows how to do it already?
One of the first steps in a successful journey of entrepreneurship has to be to understand who you are. Strengths, weaknesses, skills and abilities, and then to acknowledge that ultimately, every one of them will need to be replaced by others if your business is truly going to succeed.
Steve Jobs didn't build the products that Apple designed.
Ray Kroc didn't flip his own hamburgers.
So no matter how new your company is, you have to have plans to replace you - the bad as well as the good - if your business is ever going to be truly successful.
True understanding of how much of "you" there is to go around is one of the keys to building your company into an enterprise.
Do you truly love doing the actual job or would you rather manage the business? Can you effectively plot the growth of your company?
"Business owner" really is three specific types of people - the Technician, the Manager, and the Entrepreneur and if you cannot - or will not - acknowledge your own strengths or weaknesses in each of those categories, your ability to be successful is going to be compromised.
More importantly, if you, as the owner, are unable to step out of the role of employee and into the role that ownership demands - that of development, systemization, and growth - then you truly hamper your own efforts towards building the enterprise you envisioned on the day that you began this dream of entrepreneurship.