Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Doors Of Opportunity Opening For Entrepreneurs

When I played baseball in college, our coach had yearly reviews with each player, similar to reviews an employer might conduct with employees. He’d call us in one by one and let us know the strengths we displayed during the year and our weaknesses we’d need to work on in the future. I’ll never forget seeing one of my teammates as he stumbled out of his conference. He had a blank look on his face.
“What happened?” I said. “He said I wasn’t coachable,” said my friend, miffed at the thought. “He said I never listen or take any type of criticism or coaching and that’s why, as a player, I never improve and will never improve.”  Ouch. That hurts.
The problem for my friend was that he never owned up to the criticism. He wasn’t willing to break down the barriers he built around himself to get the help he needed to improve. He never became coachable.
Over the past two years, a transformation has occurred in St. Louis with new organizations popping up, new resources and all types of mentors available to entrepreneurs, at all different levels. I’d mention them all, but there are way too many to list.  Many doors, once closed to entrepreneurs, are now opening.
Here’s where my former teammate’s story comes into play. While the doors of opportunity are opening, business owners need to walk through them. We can’t be “uncoachable.” We need to approach our resources, listen to our mentors and meet with our valued contacts.
This can be a struggle for entrepreneurs (as I’ve seen firsthand). Business owners are always ultimately responsible for their own success and failure. With that responsibility often comes the concept of holding on too tightly and not letting others in.
It’s taken many, many years to get the resources together for small companies. Now is not the time to be “uncoachable.” The doors of opportunity are open. Now is the time to step in.