Successful entrepreneurship starts with donkey poop and watermelon juice, according to Derek Lidow. I couldn’t agree more.
Some people think that successful entrepreneurs roll around in expensive cars, giving interviews on CNN, and gracing the cover of the Wall Street Journal in pixelated glory. The reality of it is years of very hard work, financial sacrifice, lost family time, and unglamorous tasks.
Building on Bedrock by Derek Lidow uses the life stories of some well known (and some not-so-well-known) entrepreneurs to illustrate the path to entrepreneurship. Sam Walton started from nothing (and leveraged the aforementioned donkeys and watermelons), Estee Lauder was struggling against an unkind comment from a store patron, and “Jody” Maroni just didn’t want to work in his dad’s butcher shop.
I’d recommend this as a good read for anyone who might be wondering whether they’re cut out for being an entrepreneur. Using the interwoven stories of these successful men and women, the author provides a “gut check” of how, when, and why you might want to start your own business.
Continuing the lessons of the highlighted men and women, they all slowly built their empires one step at a time. Once the new business was launched, the real success came with control, low risk, and patience. We can all draw some inspiration from these stories.
There is a diversion in the book, going into detail on “high risk” entrepreneurs, and the venture capitalists and angel investors they typically deal with. At first glance, it seems off-topic; however in today’s world of high-flying tech geniuses, it’s useful to know the pros and cons of dealing with that type of business model.
The financial foundation of a quick-start, high risk tech startup is vastly different from the “bedrock” entrepreneurship of a Sam Walton (not that one is better or worse, they’re just different, and it’s best to go in knowing where you fit into the equation). The two different modes require completely different personalities and leadership styles.
Another recurring theme among the entrepreneurs is travel and face-to-face interaction with the team. Walton even bought a used plane at one point, so he could more easily visit his franchise locations. Estee Lauder spent years on the road while her husband took care of the family.
Ultimately, according to Lidow, it comes down to five core skills:
- Self Awareness
- Relationship Building
- Motivating Others
- Leading Change
- Enterprise Basics
Are you thinking about starting your own business? Would you consider yourself a “bedrock entrepreneur?”
Disclosure: I was given a digital copy of this book for purposes of this review.