Are you running your business like some sort of “Lone Ranger”, anonymously and heroically facing off the hazards around you, hopefully with at least one friend who can help you out occasionally? This is quite common in the entrepreneurial world, and I will never deny that some cowboys do gain great success. But going it alone is not the way of the business perso: to succeed in modern business you need more skills and knowledge than were required a hundred years ago.
Following our “cowboy” example, movies and many writers glorify the life of a cowboy, yet it was a difficult and dangerous life. And most cowboys were poor, living a life of feast and famine according to the seasons. But many cowboys were different: they were also entrepreneurs and used the experience of being on the trail and creating networks of contacts in different towns to build a ranching or other type of business into which they invested their time and money. Of course, at that time they didn’t have to worry about international trade agreements, over regulation or other obstacles that many of us face, but they did have to deal with violence and natural dangers that we usually never face. In the 21st Century, though, many immigrants come from places rife with violence and lawlessness, and they learn to bring their skills of negotiation and risk management to the safer countries to which they have migrated. Once again, some decide to work on their own, like a cowboy, and others build and invest in a team to work with.
In the new Bitcoin / Cryptocurrency industry we can see many “cowboys” setting up business and trying to make lots of money without worrying about their community or the “rules” for doing business. We hear them shouting that there are no rules, that they are free to do as they please… but then they want to exchange their virtual money for lots of cold, hard cash… their freedom to buy and sell bitcoins as they wish seems to be tied to getting paid in what they, themselves are valuing as money. Such is the life of the cowboy on the range, taking cattle to market, knowing they are worth a small fortune, but wanting to be paid in legal tender.
Modern business is really not very friendly to the loner entrepreneur: we need to work together to leverage opportunity, reduce risks, and find solutions that are possible only when we all participate. Yet every day I see individuals start off on their own, either because they are loners or because their work team is not up to teamwork, and those ventures are ver difficult to grow into a major success. Sadly, many build on the skills and wealth of the “cowboy”, but falter when this lone leader is unable to maintain the great effort. This can happen to family businesses, corporations, farms, candy stores, even lemonade stands! All businesses need a team if they are to grow and thrive. And that team must become a community of stakeholders for long lasting success. Do you have a team? Do you have a community?
Modern civilization exists only thanks to people working together. To reap legal profits within modern civilization, you need organizations in which people work together for a common purpose. That is why I work so hard at bringing people and their voices together. Need I say more?