Three Things Every Entrepreneur Wants (But Choose the Right Two)

I always learn something new when I catch up with Tim Brewer, an Australia-based I.T. entrepreneur and technology consultant who frequently advises U.S.-based companies.

Yesterday was no exception. Tim and I caught up in Manhattan, where a group of executives from Australia was visiting NYCSeed -- an incubator backed by NYU and a range of state organizations. Tim built and sold a service provider back in 2010 or so. Now he's working on yada, yada, yada and I'm focused on this, that and the other thing...

Yup. Most of our conversation occurred under a cone of silence. But we also had plenty of on-the-record chats with those Australia-based startups. Among the anecdotes I heard: SimPro Software CEO Brad Couper says entrepreneurs really only want three things:

  • Freedom
  • Growth
  • Wealth

Deeper Discussion

SimPro CEO Bad Couper

SimPro CEO Bad Couper

That's it. Or so we thought. Brad, Tim and I got a bit fixated on those three items and tried to better define what each actually meant.

  • Freedom is all about making your own decisions. The freedom to create. The freedom to do what you want -- to focus on business priorities or industry initiatives that are near and dear to your core values.
  • Growth isn't about net worth growth. Instead, it's about personal growth. To surround yourself with really smart people. The ability to learn as you go. To make mistakes, stumble, pick yourself up... and then sprint forward based on your learnings.
  • Wealth is... well, you know that part.

Frankly, I think entrepreneurs who focus on Freedom and Growth are the ones who truly wind up happy. If money is your first priority as a business owner, then you will become a slave to your financial goals. The next dollar will never be enough. And it will warp your view on what to develop and sell to your customers.

IT entrepreneur and tech startup advisor Tim Brewer (l) and me somewhere in Manhattan yesterday.

IT entrepreneur and tech startup advisor Tim Brewer (l) and me somewhere in Manhattan yesterday.

Keep It Real

In stark contrast, the freedom to create... the determination to grow. Focus on those two items, and they will unlock new revenue opportunities over and over again.

After Nines Inc. CEO Amy Katz and I have experienced that scenario multiple times. Of course, you have to manage every dollar very carefully. But that doesn't mean you need to pursue every dollar. In some cases, "more business" isn't "good" business...

Sure, there may be times when your creative well runs dry. Cash flow may be in the red. As you pump your personal savings into the business your net worth may plummet at times.

But... at least it's your business. You control the journey. Make sure it includes plenty of freedom and a commitment to personal growth. And if you're looking for a bit of creative inspiration, try to grab drinks with Tim the next time he's in your town. 

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