Challenges in Starting and Building a Business

A great many books have been written about this subject matter by people much more adept than me. With that said, I offer in a single blog post a few of the things that are most present in my thoughts today based upon what I’ve been reading, and on some mentoring work I’ve been doing lately.

I’m reading a book by Simon Sinek called Start With Why. I wish I’d read this many years ago, as our business didn’t start with a “why” other than my drive for self-employment and independence, and the notion of this crazy new thing called the Internet. Sinek writes brilliantly about the companies that start with an audacious “why” in focus. He speaks about the difference between Apple and Microsoft at great length.

In business as in life, knowing why you do what you do, and making that “why” powerful enough to motivate and inspire those around you is perhaps the most important factor for success.

Many months ago, a friend in a networking group mentioned a new book/program that had been implemented in her company. She was clearly very excited about the program, prompting me to actually buy the book she was speaking about.

Like many such books, it sat unread for months until I attended a leadership summit at our church, where one of the authors was a presenter. The man’s name is Chris McChesney, and the book is The 4 Disciplines of Execution (4DX). I finally read the book, and emerged as excited about it as my friend had been those many months before.

McChesney and his coauthor Sean Covey write about our everyday work, which they call “the whirlwind”, and its ability to distract us. It distracts us from what should be our primary goal. They call that goal a “WIG”, or wildly important goal.

In life, as in business, laser-like focus on one or two simple but critical goals can mean the difference between success and failure.

Finally, I think it’s critically important as a business founder or executive to surround yourself with a team that you can trust. I don’t mean necessarily a team that you can trust in terms of their skill set or technical knowledge. That’s sort of the ante for the game. What I’m talking about is trusting them as people. You have to be able to trust them with the culture that you’ve worked so hard to foster. You have to be able to trust them with your customers and the relationships you’ve worked so hard to build.

Above all, these people that you surround yourself with have to share your integrity, your commitment, your work ethic, your concern for the company, and your passion. Those people create a synergy without which you’ll have a much harder time building your business. A business with that kind of synergy allows you all to ride in the wagon rather than pull it.


Good Luck and Good Business,


Matt Mercier