One of the reasons I came to this country is because “America is a land of opportunity and a country of freedom.” It sounded so romantic. At the time, all I wanted was to be in this great country!
It must be true, in some sense, to make America a great country as it is today. One can easily think of so many examples: Condoleezza Rice, although born amid racism in the South, recalled her mother once told her: “you can be anything you want to be.” And she did – chasing excellence to the White House. Our governor used to be a body-builder and movie actor (you can’t find this in other countries).
While all these stories are inspiring, I am often troubled by the questions that implicitly or explicitly came across to new entrepreneurs: “Have you done this before?” “You have never been a CEO before ….” “What P&L; responsibilities did you have in the past?” One person even told me openly (with good intention) that I should be prepared to be replaced six months after I raise the funds for my own company.
For a first-time entrepreneur, these questions can be very intimidating; and if you were not strong enough, you could even begin to doubt yourself. The most dangerous thing is that, after enough people think that way, it can be taken as a truth. I see some founders, before they even tried, were looking for “a CEO who can lead the company to the next level.”
While it’s important to examine many facets of an entrepreneur’s background – especially if he or she is raising institutional funds, the very notion that founders cannot lead their companies to success is totally fallacious. If a body-builder and movie actor can be a governor, why can’t you and I be an entrepreneur?!
I would encourage all the first-time entrepreneurs to challenge themselves to learn fast, fail fast, and grow fast – in real time with their new ventures. Condoleezza’s mother is right. There is no limitation of our true potentials, except the limitation of our own imagination!