The War of Enterprise

We call ourselves “free enterprise warriors” for a very powerful reason.  Not because we are mercenaries or soldiers whose goal is to harm others.  Or, that we seek to gain from others losses or at their expense.  We are warriors in the classic sense of being guardians and protectors – we stand up for the values of human freedom, individual rights and common justice.

As entrepreneurs we seek to play fair and succeed based on our own skill, production and creativity.  We want to achieve our goals because we have the courage to aspire, the willingness to learn and the determination to persist.  We are willing to pay the price, make the commitment and do the work.

This is the challenge of launching, growing and sustaining a worthy venture; whether for profit or not.  In this age of social entrepreneurs and conscious capitalism, the goal is not always about money.  However, the wise uses of money and resources are always a part of the equation – do well and do good.

The reason we call it war is because, at the deepest level of heart, mind and spirit, it is.  There are a set of forces that work against the desire to create, to produce and to build.  In the natural world of science, these are the forces of entropy – anything left unattended falls apart.  Hot becomes cold, structures give way to gravity and life gives in to death.

The opposite of this entropic pressure is the life force- some philosophers call it extropy.  It is how things become organized, orderly and functional.  It is how new technologies are invented, new products are manufactured, new structures are built, new services are delivered and works of art are created.  It is that mystical, magical energy that motivates us, focuses us and empowers us.  It is LIFE in capital letters. 

As entrepreneurs, that is the battle we fight – to bring order out of chaos, to bring profit out of poverty, to bring competence out of confusion, to create and enhance life.  But, we are always challenged to take on and overcome that dark side – the forces of entropy: doubt, denial, distraction, discouragement and defeat.  We seek to be optimistic, enthusiastic and confident, but we must learn to overcome the forces of pessimism, lethargy and self-doubt.

Steven Pressfield calls this “the war of art” in his book of the same name.  And, he takes that theme even further, with solid and pragmatic strategies, in his recent book Do the Work. I highly recommend both – they are well written, concise and uplifting.  They show us how to have the courage to create that which we were meant to create; to overcome resistance; to embrace life: to be free enterprise warriors.

The Secret Power that Drives Business

For over 30 years I have been researching business performance and what propels the growth of small businesses into big businesses – or at the very least, bigger and more profitable businesses.  Of all factors of entrepreneurial success, the one that stands above the rest is the ability of the entrepreneur to implement systems.

Bill Gates wasn’t the best software programmer, he built a system that was simple and would allow average people to use a computer.  Sam Walton wasn’t the most well-funded retailer, even in Bentonville, Arkansas.  He built a replicateable system for delivering low cost goods to the local consumer, one store at a time.  Michael Dell didn’t build the best computers, even when he was customizing them in his garage – he put in place a system for the cost-effective manufacturing computers and delivering them online.

Above all else, these entrepreneurs put in place systems which focused on connecting to and communicating with an ever expanding base of customers.  Jeff Bezos has now taken that into the world of books, CD’s and an ever growing list of products that are offered by his company Amazon.com. 

Recently I became aware of an interesting fact: Jeff and his company know more about me and my buying habits than anyone else.  They send me customized messages and tailor-made offers which I find very attractive.  Why?  Because, they are appealing to my own personal wants and interests.  And, when I order something, they give me instant feedback, a notice of when it was sent and a way to track its delivery.  Then they give me an opportunity to provide feedback on my satisfaction – with their service and with the products I ordered.

They have built a relationship with me and I am a satisfied and loyal customer.  But, I don’t personally know anyone at Amazon, certainly not Jeff Bezos, its founder and leader.  So how have they accomplished this?  One word says it all: SYSTEMS.  Systems that make it easy to do business with them (including free shipping).  Systems that pay attention to who I am and what I want – 24/7/365.  Systems that say thank you and seek to know how they could serve me better.

The best-selling book Mega Trends (1988) identified the “high tech – high touch” trend and its author John Naisbitt wrote a book by that title in 1999.  This is the key to the success of all the entrepreneurs I’ve mentioned: Gates, Walton, Dell and Bezos.  And, this key can unlock the power of any business enterprise.

Almost all entrepreneurs have intelligence, energy, focus and stamina.  Only a few of them truly understand the importance of systems in their business.  Implementing systems does not come naturally for the entrepreneurial spirit – they love the creativity and the excitement of promotion, selling and growth.  They avoid the details and the repetition.  And, as a result, they often crash and burn; or just struggle and stagnate.

To maximize the growth, reputation and consistency of a business requires a systematic approach to marketing (viral), customer service (relationships), financial management (cost control) and hiring (leverage).  With the right systems designed, installed, maintained and enhanced any business can grow consistently, stay profitable and remain stable for the long-haul.

This truth works for every entrepreneur, not just those who have become rich and famous.  When a business person really starts to think systems and begins to put them in place (usually with the help of those people who are naturally good at installing and maintaining them), they begin to feel the strength, stability and peace of mind these systems bring.

It is certainly true that vision, enthusiasm, creativity and social finesse may all be strengths for an entrepreneur, but in the end the ultimate success of a venture will be the result of the quality of the systems that empower and sustain it.  The system is the solution.

Unleashing Your Inner Entrepreneur

There are three secret strategies that entrepreneurs use to launch and grow their own businesses. They’re not secret in that no one knows them, they are just hidden from view. Most people don’t recognize or understand them, and even many entrepreneurs do them without conscious awareness. But, as a student of the game, I have come to know them and to understand why they work. We will reveal these three powerful strategies so that you can apply them to your own enterprise.

Second, we will add even more practical material on how to succeed in the age of the Internet and social networking (Web 2.0) – how to deploy the power of Googlenomics. Toward that end we are bringing in two media and Internet marketing specialists: Jack Miller and Matt Haze. They will provide real-life tips and tactics for viral marketing, messaging and lead generation.

There are new ways to do business and they are cost-effective, fast and powerful. But, it is often difficult to tell the difference between what really works and what is just a distraction. My team of specialists and I will guide you through this minefield – and, mind-field.

As usual, we are providing a money-back satisfaction guarantee. Not because we have any doubts about the value of this session, but because we feel accountable to you. It can only be valuable if it is worthwhile for you. You get to decide.

Be a Free Warrior!!!

A Free and Open Society

This weekend has re-enforced my deep belief in the wisdom, creativity and benefits of a free society.

I have been reading books by David Boaz (http://www.davidboaz.com/) of the Cato Institute (http://www.cato.org/) and realizing two important facts: 1) freedom of choice, local control and free markets are the best ways for more people to get what they want and for a society to remain healthy, and 2) our American economy is rapidly being taken over and encumbered by the “iron triangle” of bureaucrats, lobbyists and politicians.

The government’s share of the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) has grown from 7% in the early 1900’s to over 35% in 2008 – and it is projected to be over 45% in 2010. Amazing and troubling – too much money in the hands of too few people who didn’t actually earn it. Then comes the “new age” version of the Gold Rule: he who has the gold makes the rules. Centralized power leads to oppressive regulation, inept planning, reduced local initiatives and the loss of personal freedoms.

If we are truly “free enterprise warriors,” we need to be advocates for the vision and principles of our great American experiment. We need to reaffirm the priorities of the unalienable rights of individuals to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. We need to get the government out of our pocketbooks and out of our personal lives. We have all the creativity, initiative and responsibility we need to solve our own problems and achieve our personal goals.

How did we come to believe that the government could solve problems better than its citizens acting locally and collaboratively? How did we decide that taxes should be increased so that money could be redistributed to serve special interest groups and fund entitlement programs? When did we agree that politicians and government employees know better what we need than we do?

What can we as entrepreneurs do to reverse these trends in our beloved country? It is not our nature to get involved in political issues; we’d rather go do something productive and worthwhile. The problem is that we now have those who do want to play and persist in the political arena telling us what to do and how to live. They have, over time and incrementally, gained control.

It is time to stand up for what we believe and for the truths on which this free enterprise democracy was built. It is time we once again became warriors for freedom. We aren’t fighting tyranny or invasion or even terrorism, this time. We are fighting the “iron triangle.” And, it is a clever, well-disguised, insidious force. It has caught us by surprise.

We need to get engaged. And, we can. The Internet is a powerful force for transparency, collaboration and truth. It gives everyone open access to information and an open forum for communication. Let’s put it to work. One place we can begin is right here on FreeEnterpriseWarriors.com. We can share our best entrepreneurial, problem solving skills. Our mission is simple: to keep our society (and the world) free and open for ourselves and for our future generations. Let the games begin!

Sedona Business Wisdom

There is a very special energy in Sedona. It’s more than the beauty of the red rock formations and the Mogollon Rim – even though mother nature has truly blessed this place. This special energy is about the human spirit – it is soulful and sacred.

Laurie and I were called here to launch our new ventures. We knew it was a place of higher consciousness and deeper wisdom. And, we understood that Free Enterprise Warriors was meant to be grounded in this energy vortex. It is a place unique in the world for the incubation and birthing of creative thought and pragmatic action.

There are massive changes taking place in the world – we all know that and we can feel it in very tangible ways. There is a cultural shift underway. Old institutions and bureaucracies are losing their mojo and crumbling from their own stultifying weight. They are out dated. And, new enterprises are emerging.

This emergence of new initiatives will lead the world economy and the global consciousness to a new era of human civilization. It is full of opportunity. Which means it is also full of fear. These are synergistic partners in progress – opportunity and fear. One is about possibilities and the new. The other is about irrelevance and the old.

Some people will embrace the change and see the incredible opportunities. Many will be stuck in fear and try to hold on to the past. Sedona Business Wisdom is an initiative of FreeEnterpriseWarriors.com. It will provide a pragmatic and energetic lift for optimistic, learning-based, relevant entrepreneurs.

It begins with a series of seminars held in Sedona, Arizona. The first one is on Tuesday morning, February 16th, at the Sedona Creative Life Center. Every month there will be another seminar. These seminars will focus on “the sacred path of enterprise.” They will outline the proven models of successful business and the ways they can be purposeful, productive and profitable in the new age of “conscious capitalism.”

Later in the year, we will be offering retreats for entrepreneurs, business owners, self-employed professional service providers and their teams. These two-day, small-group sessions will be held in Sedona on Thursdays and Fridays so that attendees can also take advantage of the recreational and personal enrichment opportunities of this unique community and its amazing natural environs.

In addition, we will continue to share this wisdom here on the Free Enterprise Warriors site and on our new (being launched) www.SedonaBusinessWisdom.com site. We welcome you to join with us as Free Warriors, serving and changing the world, one great enterprise at a time.

The New Jobless Era . . . NOT!

My friend Matt Haze sent me an article today from the Atlantic Magazine, here’s the link: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/201003/jobless-america-future. It’s entitled The New Jobless Era and goes into a lot of detail about how bad the economic and employment conditions are going to be over the next 5 to 10 years.

In fairness, you need to read the article, it is well written and seriously researched. Then I want you to read my response below. There is such a difference in mindset between the social analysts and the entrepreneurial doers. Sadly, too many people read what the analysts and journalists write but don’t pay attention to what the entrepreneurs are doing.

DAVE’S RESPONSE:

I have learned to be very skeptical about this kind of article. It is well researched and clearly written, but it fails to offer any wisdom that people can act on. It creates a gloomy picture without giving people a mindset or program to take action.

Also, I have learned from George Guilder’s writing that this kind of journalistic, economic and academic analysis seldom grasps or articulate what is going on underneath the big national numbers. They are very good at describing the personal tragedies and psychological traumas, but they do not show the lives of the people who are being productive, creative and optimistic. So, the picture they paint is dark and dreary.

I don’t have time for this! And, you don’t either!!!

And, if I were you, I wouldn’t pass this kind of writing on to your world unless you also connect them to people like Seth Godin (Linchpin) and George Gilder (The Israel Test).

Gilder points out (in Recapturing the Spirit of Enterprise) that this kind of economic, academic, journalistic doom and gloom was being written throughout the late 1970’s and the 1980’s, while at the same time the foundations were being built for the greatest economic prosperity the country (or world) has ever experienced (the 1990’s to 2006 boom time).

That growth was driven by entrepreneurs and small business owners. It was also enhanced by the Reagan tax cuts and reduction in capital gains. This freed up investment capital which could then finance these entrepreneurial venture. In the end, it generated more jobs and greater tax revenues for the federal government – to the point of a balanced budget in the late 1990’s.

So, we have a mission at Free Enterprise Warriors: to be the champions of enterprise. We a charged with supporting and encouraging entrepreneurs and in advocating reduction of social-governmental barriers to free enterprise. We must reduce the taxes that choke small business and get rid of the regulations that inhibit their operations. If and when we do, the entire society will reap the rewards.