After contemplating Seth Godin’s “So, what’s wrong with small business”, I determined that the happy small businesspeople he describes are actually disciplined entrepreneurs.
When I opened my first business fourteen years ago (a logistics company), I was a really good salesman and marketer with operations experience. From day one, my focus was on sales and revenue growth. My company was constantly rolling out marketing campaigns aimed at gaining footholds in new markets and I would hire additional employees whenever I had the cash flow to do so. I lived, ate, and slept sales and revenue growth. I was a classic entrepreneur.
My company inevitably failed because I didn’t practice the disciplines of business such as business plans and budgets. This was magnified when the industries my firm served suffered an economic downturn in the mid-1990s. My "growth at all costs" strategy left no room for error and my company was unable to withstand the recession our customer base was experiencing.
I am again a small business owner (a public accounting firm) and I consider myself to be an entrepreneur. However, I have chosen to apply the disciplines of business that were lacking in my first entrepreneurial endeavor in an attempt to increase the odds that this business will be a long-term success.
I don’t think I’ve settled, I’m just smarter in the way I play the game.