Intrinsic in all dealings of men is the Rubicon we all must respect to ensure the continued existence of the system. To the entrepreneur, this rule is no exception.
As a growing entrepreneur, I have often wondered, what is the golden rule to being an entrepreneur? Dealing with other people? Are there no limits? What are the do’s and do not’s of being an entrepreneur? Do we even have a code?
Having a discussion with different entrepreneurs on this matter did not prove to be as fruitful as my other sojourns and it is not hard to imagine why. Everyone had their own perception of what was right, acceptable, and wrong. Their ideologies were borne out of personal convictions; their own moral code that was responsible for not only entrepreneurship, but their everyday character.
But the question still begs an answer- what is the moral code of entrepreneurship?
In another attempt to find an answer, I had to change my methodology. If the answers were not forthcoming by my line of questioning, perhaps it would be forthcoming from my observations. Studying what entrepreneurs actually do, as opposed to what they actually say, to reach an irreducible truth.
The results were interesting.
Entrepreneurs are fueled by one thing- their ideas. As I and other authors have stressed in the past, the heart of any business lies behind the idea that inspired the business. To know where the business is going, you literally have to know where it is coming from. To achieve total success, entrepreneurs follow their dreams religiously.
MORAL CODE ONE: NEVER COMPROMISE ON YOUR IDEA
The difference between right and wrong becomes less of a reality if the end justifies the means. As Machiavellian as that may seem, a vast majority of entrepreneurs can relate to this. The only thing that could lead one to act otherwise would be the next point.
MORAL CODE TWO: NEVER COMPROMISE ON YOUR CONSCIENCE
In my honest opinion, no other professional is more in touch with their “gut feelings” than the average entrepreneur. To the entrepreneur, his (or her) guts are their secondary moral compass. You may have an overall idea or thought process, but when push comes to shove, the major decisions are made on your gut feeling. I can imagine in the early days in Mark Zuckerberg’s room, when Facebook was just ‘for the fun of it’ that many ideas and suggestions would have been tabled for him to consider.
But I also can imagine, that the one thing he decided to do (which may single-handedly be the reason why Facebook is what it is today) i.e. keep Facebook free of charge, and ad-free thus not making a single buck off it, could only have been from his gut feeling. It must have taken guts for Steve Jobs to have gone back to the drawing board, and form another company, after just losing Apple. But if Steve didn’t trust his guts, we wouldn’t have Toy Story and the other great animations that have come from Pixar Studios.
The finest feature of any entrepreneur is his ability to refine and act on his gut feeling. However, that doesn’t mean he acts arbitrarily, which leads me to the third code.
MORAL CODE THREE: NEVER UNDERESTIMATE THE VALUE OF PEOPLE
You will find, anywhere you go that the best set of entrepreneurs in your generation are also exemplary leaders. They really know how to drive their employees unto the overall success of the firm. They motivate, encourage and develop a fellowship with their employees not as people working under them, but individuals working on the same team.
‘In a team roles might be different, but everyone wants to win- by that we are all equals’
In other articles on this blog I have spoken about the importance of motivation, and how to get the best out of your team, so I shall proceed to the most popular dictate of the code.
MORAL CODE FOUR: THE CUSTOMER IS KING
In a competitive industry, no matter what the product or service is, the ability to fellowship with your customer is apposite in achieving cutting edge status. If you cannot be apathetic to your customers, somebody else will. Soon, you won’t have any left, and you will be out of business.
Good entrepreneurs realize the importance of receiving customer feedback on whatever product or service they have offered to the market. The best have adopted a methodology to swiftly act upon common complaints of consumers and implement changes into their new products and services, leaving their customers feeling a degree closer to the company.
I come to the last, but what I consider the most important of them all-
MORAL CODE FIVE: NEVER FORGO PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
Information is power. You get information by being educated. You become educated by constantly learning.
Entrepreneurs are always engaged in one process of learning or the other. This is why you find that most times, they are able to relate to all of their employees- be it in the legal department, accounting or marketing.
The best entrepreneurs are all-rounded individuals.
There you have it, the Entrepreneur’s Code©