Lost on the road to success

According to David Peterson* an entrepreneur is constantly seeking out opportunities to do things in a new way and has the ability to capitalize on those opportunities.  A small business owner is someone who owns and manages a business for their own goals and agendas.

Each has their own set of characteristics plus there’s overlap between the two. For instance the self-efficiency, networking, time, energy and resources that are totally devoted to the business are commonalities.  But somewhere in this overlap is a hidden no-man’s land where a third type of business personality resides – the Wanderer.

The Wanderer usually has the same drive and vision as the entrepreneur and has no ongoing development of innovative practices, and has a status quo orientation like the small business owner. So he or she “wanders” around looking for money and looking for someone to essentially take care of them.

Wanderers may know they need a business plan but can’t quite focus on actually sitting down and writing one – or they’re in the middle of one that never quite gets finished.  They know you can download a business plan template and do, sometimes several. But that’s as far as they go. They can’t do the bookkeeping or get a spouse to do it for them. Sometimes they wear their idea as a way of telling others (or themselves) who they are. The Chamber and other business and trade organizations are full of these types. They may think of themselves as “the idea guy” who just needs a “do it guy” to partner with. They may even own the intellectual property rights and that’s all they need. Don’t get me wrong. Wanderers are not slackers and they’re not stupid. They may be lazy but not in a traditional sense. They may be waiting for an angel – the real kind, not the investor kind – or some divine force to step in and take care of them. They’re stuck circling this no-man’s land that they’ve created. The fact is…an idea is not a result.

If this is painfully familiar to you, then you could be a wanderer.  But wait. There’s hope. Remember, wanderers are just entrepreneurs who got stuck on the road to success.  How can you get unstuck?   You may benefit from getting yourself to networking groups, friends, advisers, classes, seminars, boot camps, — anywhere where people are grappling with the same issues but moving forward.  Maybe you should put together an advisory board – they can be enormously helpful. All these have one thing in common. They put the Wanderer in the position of being responsible (or just looking good) to others in some way. Sometimes its done by checking in with a business coach or reporting on your progress to a weekly group, especially one that insists you set weekly goals. Even if you lie a little about your progress at least you’re talking the walk and soon you’ll find its just as easy to walk the walk.    You may be happy and feel as if you are thriving as a Wanderer. In that case, I wish you well.  But if you’ve read this far you’re probably looking for a way out of Wander-dom.



Sandra Holtzman teaches CEO 035: Licensing. She is the author of Lies Startups Tell Themselves to Avoid Marketing.




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