Everyone knows that life as a CEO is awful. As Elon Musk’s friend once put it, “It’s like chewing on glass while staring into the abyss.”
No doubt that phrase struck a chord with the Tesla CEO, given his numerous “production hell” and “development hell” experiences over the years, not to mention nearly going bankrupt in 2009.
The good news is that things are improving, if slowly. While entrepreneurship is still awful (except for the massive rewards at the end of it), life might not be as bad as the chewing glass analogy.
The reason for this comes down to how the business community is helping those who want to take the lead. People are starting to notice that if you want to get the best out of entrepreneurs, you have to support them.
So what is happening out there?
Perhaps the biggest change in the post-internet era is the willingness of industry leaders to share knowledge with each other. These insights often prove invaluable and help business leaders avoid making those annoying mistakes that can take weeks or months to correct. Advice, tips, and guidance can help CEOs wriggle through without any significant problems.
The main vehicle for knowledge sharing is the web and blogs like these. However, some CEOs are also benefiting the old-fashioned way by going to various seminars and events organized by local governments. These in-person opportunities are a chance to build support networks and probe more deeply into the strategies business leaders should use to reduce stress and the chance of failure.
Access To Resources
Another big change in the business community from the past is the heightened access to resources. Entrepreneurs once had to fight tooth and claw to squeeze anything out of the business community. Now companies are literally throwing cash at anyone who shows even a modicum of potential (which might explain why the Silicon Valley bank failed.
The growth of non-financial resources has also been tremendous. Today’s entrepreneurs have access to tools that yesterday’s crop could scarcely imagine. AI-infused assistants and software are streamlining the process of running a business and making it infinitely more palatable for people just getting started. Productivity is often significantly higher than in the past because machines and robots are doing a lot of planning for business leaders on their behalf, negating the need for assistants.
More Collaborative Initiatives
Entrepreneurs of the past were very much on their own. If they wanted to make it in the world, they had to do it by themselves. Those were the rules.
However, as entrepreneurship has become harder, collaborative initiatives began to emerge. These were opportunities for multiple organizations in the business community to come together to make an idea happen.
The first iteration was the so-called startup incubators, run by big tech companies. These provided the facilities and resources companies needed to grow into thriving businesses. The approach was incredibly successful and led to the formation of numerous billion-dollar companies.
Another more recent approach is the strategic alliance. Here, entrepreneurs work with existing companies to develop their products and provide customers with the desired service level. The approach works because both parties stand to benefit. The entrepreneur gets access to more resources and talent, while the established firm benefits from the insights, new perspectives, and innovation of the startup.
We’re also seeing a rise in the number of easy-to-use support services that take care of most of small firms’ trickiest operations problems. These reduce internal focus on tasks external companies can do better.
The use of storage units is an excellent example of this. Firms want places where they can keep their stock inexpensively and flexibly before shipping it off to customers.
“We’re seeing a massive uptick in business interest in these kinds of services,” Pink Storage says, a company in the self-storage sector. “Entrepreneurs are looking for places to keep their stock that don’t involve any complicated paperwork. The type of flexibility they are getting from conventional providers isn’t sufficient for what they need, particularly when expanding into new areas.”
Support services, of course, are taking many other forms. For example, HR companies are now dealing with payroll difficulties while accountants manage the financial side of the firm. You can even get fractional CFOs and CMOs who come in periodically, do their bit, and then leave entrepreneurs alone the rest of the time. It’s quite remarkable.
Recognition And Awards
Entrepreneurs are also becoming more celebrity-like in their treatment. While nobody pays any attention to the failing business leaders, those who make even minor gains are often the recipients of awards and recognition in the community. Successful online magazines continually run competitions looking for the best CEO in a given age group, hoping a new crop of talent will emerge that changes the face of the economy like the tech entrepreneurs of the 2000s did.
These ceremonies can be quite lavish. But their main function is to simply encourage talented individuals to follow their entrepreneurial aspirations and make them happen. It’s less about the accolade itself, and more about how it changes how those in the industry feel.
At the same time, entrepreneurs are getting bodily support from various entrepreneurship programs. Instead of living off French fries and energy drinks, many business leaders now view their health as non-negotiable and something they need to be successful in their space.
Wellness programs are taking off. These initiatives aim to help busy business leaders get the basics right so that they can function productively for longer. Yes, it’s a little cynical but it also works. Business leaders can achieve better work-life balance, which helps to keep them in the game just long enough to launch incredible companies that change the world as we know it.
In conclusion, it’s clear that the business community is making strides to make life as an entrepreneur easier. It’s also something that needs to be done. The economy isn’t the same as it was fifty years ago, and the consequences of failure can be dire. Any support, therefore, is welcome.
Featured and internal images provided by Andre Hunter and Gregory Hayes; Unsplash; Thanks!