Do you really want to know?
Can you handle the truth?
The good news is you have a business. The bad news is….
There is nothing like the bond between a mother and her child. The cuteness, the cuddling, the closeness and the dreams for an idyllic future make up the stuff of legends.
It also makes for temporary insanity. Every baby is beautiful to every mother. And no matter what one says, that baby will always be beautiful, even if the baby is no-holds-barred ugly.
Have you ever seen the reaction of a mother to a newborn, where mom say “oh my God! It’s a lizard! It’s a blue conehead! Honey our baby is ugly! Nope. It’s tears of affection, cooing and dress-up and “isn’t he or she cute!”.
There are deep psychological and perhaps evolutionary roots in this mindset. Perhaps it is an act of survival that mothers and even fathers overlook their child’s shortcomings with ease and mindless grace. It could be that because many children are now born by cesarean section and come out almost perfect, they look OK instead of coming out blue and looking like aliens due to the rigors of natural childbirth.
Or it could be social conditioning, deeply rooted in our social mores that it is taboo to regard any baby as ugly. We are conditioned to see “they are all beautiful”. How many friends will tell someone else their baby is ugly? Heck, even your doctor won’t comment on an ugly baby.
A Benevolent Psychosis?
Perhaps it is a natural and benevolent psychosis, ensuring the survival of even really ugly babies.
The problem is that entrepreneurs act like mothers when it comes to their businesses.
A lasting psychosis seems to be associated with entrepreneurship, beginning with the birth of an idea, where the entrepreneur’s newborn or youthful idea, product, concept or plan is always beautiful. Moreover, this appears to become a group phenomenon, where no one can or will tell the entrepreneur otherwise. Even hard-nosed venture capitalists won’t tell. They just won’t return calls.
The consequences are significant. The cost of blood, sweat and tears that go into a new business “baby” can be significant, enmeshing family, career and home in a delusion of a beautiful baby. This is the arena where “tough love’ can help. At the end of the day, after bankers and friends and family have turned the entrepreneur down, for money or assistance or even moral support, it is up to an advisor to deliver the difficult news “Your Baby is Ugly”.
This is a dicey task. The messenger often gets “shot”. But, if done properly, the advisor can bring the entrepreneur down to earth and hopefully out of harm’s way.
The bigger problem is that most early stage businesses, ideas and ventures are ugly, very ugly. But advisors rarely make a good living talking their clients out of business (except the good ones, who have the guts and the integrity to deliver the bad news).
Are You a Swan? Or Just Plain Ugly?
Nonetheless, history shows us that many “ugly babies” can grow up to be stars if nurtured, educated, and cared for with patience, learning, money and diligent careful attention. If the entrepreneur can knuckle down and accept the hard realities of the steps it takes to convert an “ugly baby” into a beautiful swan, then there is a far greater chance of avoiding the pitfalls of entrepreneurship and seeing the business grow to maturity and ultimately independence.
But much like the parent must learn to accept and work with their child’s shortcomings (one of our children is autistic), the entrepreneur must learn first to see the truth before the organization can evolve beyond its shortcomings.