Business plan. Step 1 : Wash your dishes.
Or how I like to call it: “The Kitchen Metaphora”
I sneak around your house and secretly open the door to your kitchen. I direct my gaze to the sink and see the pots and pans dirty and disorderly stacked to be washed “soon,” and I am sure that you will never be a true entrepreneur in your life!
I already know you, right now you feel so cool because you’re working in an amazing incubator / accelerator. You’re full of enthusiasm because you were just accepted into yet another co-working space of yet another program that has opened in your city. You’re full of energy because not only you have fun here but you’re almost certain that your “pitch” will get the “seed stage financing” from an Angel investor. You know him, he is your own hero because he became rich with his exit before the first internet bubble in the late nineties, and he has such a long history in California! You know that he can not resist the project of your brilliant “app.” Even your cool colleagues that you met at that lucky Startup weekend and with whom you have painstakingly built this project are as enthusiastic as you!
It all seems so easy, beautiful, funny, what a beautiful life, that of the entrepreneur!
Yet it was enough for me to come into your kitchen to be sure that you’ll never make it, my friend.
You’ll never make it to become a true entrepreneur … after that nice lunch you did not want to put on rubber gloves, soap the sponge with detergent and scrape all the plates, forks, glasses, one by one, rinse and rinse again, dry them off, and put them in their place in the cabinet one by one and then clean the kitchen, sweep the floor. Where you will find your energy to go to work man?
Now I have to go away, I have to run, I have to rest, I have to go see what these important notifications on facebook, whatsapp, and instagram are saying. “Don’t worry, I will wash the dishes tomorrow, or in two days… or in three …”
And yet you will never be able to become an entrepreneur, those dirty dishes in the sink are the proof that you do not pay attention to details. And in the details, living in his big mansion, there is the devil!
Those dirty dishes are the proof that even if you feel like an adult playing the cofounder of a new company, you have not yet learned the most important, fundamental, act: to delay gratification, to save, to sacrifice today for the benefit tomorrow. You’re an adult and you have not yet learned to be orderly, rigorous, methodical and you do not know the meaning of the most important word of all for a true entrepreneur: Accounting!
Accounting, in its most noble, extensive acceptance, simply means being able to measure and count your energy, every fucking day, in order to do the only thing that matters, especially in the business: to survive!
The goal of business, as in life, is first just to survive each day. You have to use the energy necessary to survive, but reserve for tomorrow all that you can. You have to save your energy for the painstaking necessities to continue and put aside the draining boredom that is sucking your energy slowly, organically, continuously.
By adopting this attitude, you and your enterprise will become antifragile and will not only survive any unexpected event but you will actually grow stronger from the adversity, but only if you have not wasted the energy you need.
No one has taught you this and no one will ever teach this art if not yourself — you will have to start right from your kitchen, today, now!
You will have to start from the details, the daily tasks you do not want to do for the easy ones, just like rummaging through facebook rather than taking the soap and sponge and washing the dirty dishes from lunch. This is the attitude that makes you put off that phone call to that debtor who you absolutely do not want to talk to, that does not make you read the account statement of your credit card, that does not make you check, collect, and sort the bills, one by one, before you deliver them to your accountant, that does not make you go to that boring conference to meet those boring people but important for your business, that does not make you check patiently the details of the work of each of your colleagues.
Believe me, like everything else in life, the choice is yours. You can ignore it and pretend to not have read this article and continue to waste time and not act for real, or you can feel at peace with your conscience reading, passively, the latest book of the last guru of Silicon Valley on how to be super productive in 15 days or in 15 lessons, or you can listen to the latest podcast on how to draw the perfect organization and to have full cooperation from your colleague in five moves, etc., etc., etc… But reality is quite different, my friend, and it’s all in your kitchen, in front of your eyes, easier and harder than ever.
The difference between success and failure is all here, in the details, in the small, boring, repetitive everyday things that nobody wants to do and only you can do. You’re the one who chose to be the entrepreneur and who must lead by example my friend!
Yet it would be enough to speak with your grandfather or with any craftsman who you meet on the street, carefully observing the wrinkles on their face, the calluses on their hands, they are true entrepreneurs!
Their lives show you that being an entrepreneur is extremely serious and that encompasses a specific meaning of sacrifice, suffering, hardness, pain, hunger, courage, risk, and even monotony.
Whatever the reason that has led you to decide to become an entrepreneur, listen to my advice, stop for a moment and begin in your kitchen!
This is why this is the first thing I teach at the The Ark Lab my friend…