The grim reality of entrepreneurship is that the significant majority of new businesses fail. The reasons that they fail are pretty consistent. One key theme is that the people starting the businesses are not cut out to be entrepreneurs. Another is that those who could make good entrepreneurs don’t have the right advice when starting the business. In fact, in both cases, the entrepreneurs have spinach in their teeth and nobody told them.
“Spinach?” you may be asking yourself. “What the heck does spinach have to do with entrepreneurship?” Pretty much everything. I call my advisory philosophy the “Spinach in Your Teeth” test. See, spinach is a lot of great things- it is healthy, low in calories and fairly tasty as well. But for some unknown reason, it always gets stuck in your teeth, making you look like a crazy person with really poor dental hygiene. If I see spinach in your teeth, I will tell you right away so you can get rid of it. If you miss it, I say “no, you haven’t quite got all of it yet- yes, move three teeth to the left- now pick deeper!” I respect you and believe it is better to give you the uncomfortable news that you have spinach in your teeth (or toilet paper sticking out of the back of your pants or a booger sticking out of your nose) right away so you can deal with it properly. Then you can use your wonderful smile to its full effect (and I don’t have to sit and stare at it for an hour).Not everyone feels that way. So called friends, family members and acquaintances will sit through an entire lunch looking at the spinach in your teeth (or booger sticking out of your nose) and not say anything. They don’t want to “feel uncomfortable” or “embarrass” you (or themselves) by telling you about that spinach. No, these geniuses think it is much better to let you walk around for the rest of the day with that big green leaf covering up your tooth so that you resemble Grandma Vivian when she takes her dentures out. They will let you smile at that cute man or woman on the bus, take a driver’s license photo or go to an important client meeting with food stuck in your teeth instead of addressing the issue.
A lot of entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs have spinach in their teeth. Instead of telling them, their friends and family don’t want to engender hurt feelings. They would rather spare a hurt ego rather than spare the entrepreneur from wasting time, money and effort.
Beware of anyone who won’t tell you when you have spinach in your teeth.
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