While certainly difficult at times, I believe it is important to both be vigilant in self-reflection and to identify and surround ourselves with skilled advisors willing to tell us what we need to know about our strengths and weaknesses, both personally and in business, and not only what we want to hear. While I’m admittedly not always the most tactful person you’ll meet, I am definitely someone you can trust will tell you what I believe you can do to improve your business.
When I left Ben Franklin Technology Partners after 18 fascinating years of working with early-stage and startup entrepreneurs, I wrote an article for Technical.ly Philly that reviewed personality traits that can contribute to a company’s suboptimal outcome without appropriate strategic corrective action. I named these traits an entrepreneur’s Blind Spots. Of course, this is true for each of us and certainly not confined solely to business-related situations.
Similarly, Blind Spots also include critical knowledge, experience, skills and/or analysis that the entrepreneur doesn’t realize to be insufficient, but if identified earlier, would lead to better strategic and tactical decision-making and outcomes. I have heard investors refer to entrepreneurs in this state as “not knowing what they don’t know.” I can’t think of a better way to define a Blind Spot.
I’ve seen the damage done to many companies by both information and personality-based Blind Spots, which unfortunately often didn’t reveal themselves until many years later when it was impossible to reverse. My years of experience as an economic development investor tasked with the growth of a large portfolio has helped me develop the technical skills, knowledge, and network to help companies with the former. My direct communication style combined with many years of introspective personal growth work further differentiates me in my ability to support entrepreneurs and their teams on the latter.
I have both the willingness and insight to ask the tough questions and relentlessly challenge answers that don’t ring true. I look at situations from multiple sides rather than just what initially appears most obvious. This critical thinking process is vital to developing and implementing strategies you can confidently present to current and prospective team members and investors. This two-pronged approach to assist in both identifying real and potential Blind Spots and developing/implementing strategies accordingly offers entrepreneurs a trusted advisor to assist them through the natural ups and downs of growing a business on the path to ultimate success.
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