As I advise and strategize with entrepreneurs, I am noticing a trend, particularly amongst those driven by creativity and passion.
It’s that their biggest strength- the creativity that sets them apart- is often their biggest weakness in business.
I have gone deep with the owners of some of the coolest, most interesting business concepts around, who are doing phenomenal, creative, impactful things with their businesses. From the outside, it looks like they have a veritable goldmine. But as I get to look at their financial statements, many of them are not making enough to get by. Some aren’t making profits at all.
For many of these high-touch or creative businesses, the uniqueness that sets them apart is what keeps them from growing, reaching the next level or in some cases, even turning a profit.
For some, their unique service is in demand, but only at a price point that won’t support the business’s viability.
For others, their high-touch services are so specialized, it is difficult for them to be replicated- the owners are burnt out because they are working too many hours or they are having a hard time teaching their staff to deliver on the value proposition.
What do you do when the vision that drives you is what’s keeping you from being successful?
In these circumstances, compromise has to happen.
If you are in this position, are you willing to let your creative vision inform you, but also to scale back some of the uniqueness for the sake of growing the business (or staying in business)?
I hope you can make that mindset shift. You don’t have to give up your values or your mission, but you may have to implement them in a way that cuts out some of the smaller details in order for the business to thrive.
The challenge is to do that in a way that is still appealing to the customer, as well as to you as an entrepreneur.
Carol Roth is a national media personality, ‘recovering’ investment banker, investor, speaker and author of the New York Times bestselling book, The Entrepreneur Equation. She is a judge on the Mark Burnett (Shark Tank, The Voice, Survivor, The Apprentice) produced technology competition series, America's Greatest Makers, airing on TBS and an on-air contributor for the national cable television station CNBC, the preeminent name in business news. Previously, Carol was the host and co-producer of The Noon Show, a current events talk show on WGN Radio, one of the top stations in the country, and a frequent guest on Fox News, CNN, Fox Business and other stations. Carol's multimedia commentary covers business and the economy, current events, politics and pop culture topics.
Carol has helped her clients complete more than $2 billion in capital raising and M&A transactions. She is a Top 100 Small Business Influencer (2011-2015) and has her own action figure.