Why is the human always the last thing an entrepreneur learns to manage?

For many people starting a business is a big leap into the unknown, even if they have significant experience in the business world. And even more so when you are “self-taught”, a situation that is becoming more and more common at a time when many young people are attracted to entrepreneurship.

When I talk to people who are starting out, I often hear the same thing….something that those who have a longer history as entrepreneurs systematically regret in retrospect.

The checklist of the good entrepreneur

When a person decides to start a business, they consciously or unconsciously check a list of the things they will have to learn or progress on as they go along if they want their business to grow and last.

There are, in no order of preference :

– Technology, of course if it is a technology company. We don’t ask the entrepreneur to know how to develop, but having the necessary knowledge to talk to a product manager or a developer, understanding them and not being taken for a walk is useful.

– Finance. At the beginning the entrepreneur must be everywhere and his first investments will not go to support functions but to production. Not knowing the difference between a balance sheet and an income statement, between debit and credit, assets and liabilities can be as dangerous as a poorly designed product.

– The legal aspect. As with finance, without a minimum foundation it is easy to quickly make big mistakes.

– Marketing. Of course, the first objective is to sell, so mastering the fundamentals of marketing and especially the digital dimension is an essential prerequisite.

Where does most of a company’s money go?

Don’t you think something’s missing? I’ll give you a hint: ask yourself where most of a company’s money will go. In the payroll and more generally in all expenses related to the employee’s life cycle in the company.

Never, I mean never, I have never heard a neo-entrepreneur put the subject in his priorities. On the other hand, those who have a little bottle systematically admit that it was a real mistake on their part. Sometimes this led to major turbulence after a few years, sometimes to complete failure.

Not only is this what most of the expenses are spent on, but it is also the “people” who will sell the product, talk to customers, develop it and produce it. Because recruiting the right people, motivating them, making them work and living together will be what will make your company take off or not, explode in flight or take you to the moon. So I would like to know why this is not a matter.

Or maybe because we assume that people are a necessary evil. Anyway it will be a problem, anyway they just come to take a paycheck and have nothing to do with the project, with the vision. So why bother with them when they don’t care about the company?

If your success depends on a necessary evil you have a problem.

So in fact some people assume that the success of their business is based on a necessary evil. And, in addition, instead of transforming the necessary evil into a positive asset, they give it every reason to be defiant.

If you see many successful entrepreneurs giving conferences on the importance of management it is most often because in their early days, like many, they were poor managers and they have seen what it has cost them. Maybe they still are, but at least they have understood that they need to surround themselves with people who know how to do it.

In any case:

– Being a manager is not a title. Just because the organizational chart says you’re the boss doesn’t mean you’re a manager.

– Leadership does not make the manager. How many charismatic entrepreneurs turn out to be catastrophic managers? A manager must be a leader but not all leaders are managers.

– Business expertise does not make the manager. We can see what happens when a company only takes this criterion into account when promoting individuals. A manager can be a business expert but business or product expertise alone does not make a manager.

Photo : People Management  de Gajus via Shutterstock


Bertrand DUPERRINhttps://www.duperrin.com/english
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler
Head of People and Business Delivery @Emakina / Former consulting director / Crossroads of people, business and technology / Speaker / Compulsive traveler

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