HONESTY

In the last letter from our coaching practice, I wrote about the character of the person who starts the new venture. I identified independence and perseverance as the two important character traits of the entrepreneur. Today I would like to share a few thoughts on another trait, one that’s seemingly so obvious, a given, yet surprisingly can easily be taken for granted: honesty.

I’m talking less about the moral aspects of honesty—we all accept that most people are or try, to be honest in their personal, professional and business life—but rather honesty toward oneself, especially when it comes to seeing the hard truth in a situation for which we have worked so hard, when things do not go well.

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ENTREPRENEUR

In previous letters from our coaching practice, we have written about the various ways to prepare yourself when starting a new venture of any kind: identify your own strengths and weaknesses, develop a plan, find the money and, last but not least, bring in the right people. Consider, too, variables such as the project itself, your timeframe and the circumstances. But perhaps the most important variable: the character of the entrepreneur.

Ah, yes, the entrepreneur.

In today’s world, the word entrepreneur is both ubiquitous and mythical. It stands for independence, energy, vision, courage and, strangely—almost automatically—success!

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Choosing the Best Person

In my March letter, “Finding Your People,” I wrote that the next step in choosing the best people would be the interview process, a topic of discussion for another time. Well, now is the time.

As an introduction, let me reiterate what I wrote in my March letter: In brief, do not interrogate. Let candidates “sell” themselves; you will find out much more that way. Also, “sell” yourself early on in the meeting to show who you are. Talk about your own ideas, objectives, and character traits. An effective interview is a discussion, a two-way street, and it gives candidates the confidence to open up.

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Finding Your People

For those of you who are new to or less familiar with my services, Finding the Money was the topic of last month’s communication. It was the third in a series that focused on the key steps in setting up a new project. To recap, the three steps include: Prepare an inventory of assets you have and need, make a plan, and find the money.

These were all abstract issues, but now we arrive at the real part of building a new project: people. Unless your project is an individual career objective, for all ventures you need people. Even if you think you can do it by yourself, at least in the beginning, think again. Two hands make light work, and this most definitely applies to two minds.
A human being needs to be able to share ideas, compare plans, invite and accept criticism, enjoy victories and acknowledge defeat. It is almost the definition of being human.

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Finding the Money

This is the latest of the letters which I write on behalf of clients and prospective clients of my Executive & Organizational coaching practice.

In one of my previous letters, we discussed the role of money when starting a new venture, whether for profit or not for profit, and I promised that we would come back on the subject of finding money.

I specifically mention not-for-profit ventures as it is common to think that for not-for- profit organizations funding is less important than for money-making ventures. However, for ALL new ventures, the most common cause of failure is poor financial planning, and this applies even more so to not-for-profits, often because they tend to be started and run by people with more cause-driven dreams than financial skills.

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Starting from the Present or the Future

Dear Friends,

In our previous emails we discussed the tools you need when planning a new project, we will now look at the methods used to go from concept to realization. I have identified two basic methods, or approaches, each with countless variations.

One approach is to have a broad concept of what you want to achieve and, starting from the present, build your new project, step by step, following a detailed plan and time table. Or, you can prepare a complete picture of what the finished product will look like, and implement it as soon as possible using whatever resources required.

There is no right or wrong approach. The applicability depends primarily on the personality of the “developer” and the nature of the project.

Enjoy the read,
Hendrik

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Communication and Misunderstanding

Dear Friends,

In my previous letters I wrote about the essential assets you need to identify when starting your new venture. Now I would like to write about another essential ingredient, one that plays the biggest role once you step outside yourself and start dealing with other people: communication.

You will interact with other people early on, and probably have already done so in your research and planning stage; a time you’re looking for information and advice. The further you move on with the new project, the bigger the role other people will play—as informants, advisors, partners, clients and competitors.

Enjoy the read,
Hendrik

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The Role of Money

Dear Friends,

In our last two letters we wrote about your personal assets, the key elements for starting a new adventure. Personal assets such as professional skills, but also characteristics like empathy and perseverance are part of your individual ‘tool kit’

Today we are talking about that most classic asset: money. Yes, whatever you intend to undertake—a new career, a new business, or building a not-for-profit organization—money plays an essential role. Why? First, because we live in a real world, in which money is king. Second, most of us work because we want to get paid for our labor.

So, as early as possible in the process of planning your new project, start to put numbers on it, quantify it, and then convert them to financial numbers, a.k.a., money.

Enjoy the read,
Hendrik

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