You are at the Centre of the Universe

By Ray DePaul, Director

If you are an entrepreneur that is creating something of value for consumers, businesses, or the world, you my bold friend, are at the centre of the universe.

In this universe (watch carefully as my analogy slowly heads toward pathetic), there are other bodies circling the entrepreneur that are also important, but have a diminishing impact on the value creation goals of the entrepreneur. In the first orbit are your employees - the people that have completely bought into your venture and have put their time and livelihood on the line. Without these dedicated individuals, you are Commander Tom floating off in space.

The second orbit contains those mentors and advisors that you surround yourself with for critical advice. They have often walked in your shoes and have a depth and breadth of knowledge that is invaluable. Their objectives should be completely aligned with yours and they often gain no financial benefit from your success, just the satisfaction that they are playing a small role in it. These are the individuals you will turn to when you need to vent, make a critical decision, or have no idea what to do next.

The third orbit often intersects with your second orbit and is a critical part of a lot of ventures - your investors. They believe in you and your venture so much that they gave their own money to help it succeed. In general, your goals are aligned, but that assumes your goals include growing big and fast. If you are hoping to build a nice lifestyle business, you may be in for a shock when your investor arranges to have you replaced with someone who "thinks bigger".

The fourth orbit is filled with your service providers that help you operate your venture - your lawyer, accountant, banker, etc. These orbs play an important tactical role in operating your business, but clearly have their own objectives ($$) to consider. Be careful, some of these individuals are good at looking like mentors and advisors but often lack the breadth of experience and professional distance to truly be mentors. Beware the lawyer that gives you marketing advice.

If you are successful enough, a whole new batch of shiny objects start circling way out in deep space. These investment analysts, financial reporters, skeptics and fans, look down on you from light years away and make speculations on how much value YOU are going to create. They tend to get a lot of attention, but don't mistake speculating on value creation with actual value creation.

Although it might appear that I'm slamming various individuals in the ecosystem, I'm not. I'm merely celebrating where it all begins... the entrepreneur. We can debate who I've forgotten or who belongs in which orbit, but you can't debate who is at the centre of it all. With all due respect to my creationist friends (numbering zero, I believe), the entrepreneur is the Big Bang - it all starts with them (analogy officially off the rails).