Bean counters kill entrepreneurs, Dragons Den audition
Updated: Feb 7, 2022
“Avoiding risk is the riskiest thing you can do in life”
W P Sales Inc. Canada is getting a chance to audition for this show...Electrolyzed Water!
How Bean Counters can kill the Entrepreneur.
“The best way to predict the future is to create it.”
Who are the ‘bean counters’ in your life. It’s not necessarily your CPA – it could be your mom. It could be your spouse. It could be a friend.
The people who tell you that you are crazy. That you shouldn’t risk anything. That you need to just keep gathering and squirreling away the money and sit on it. Go to work, keep your head down, do as I say….
Can’t live with ‘em, can’t live without ‘em.
Visionaries don’t start any idea with thoughts of money. Generally the scratched out idea is due to a problem that needs to be resolved. Almost every person I have ever met has some “idea” that would change the world, or make them rich. But they never do anything about it….then they see it come to life and say “that was my idea!!”. The difference between the idea coming to life and not is often fear. Fear of failure, instilled and confirmed by every other person you talk to – who is also doing that exact same thing. Sitting on their hands. It’s like most people jobs to knock down ideas! So we stop telling people, and keep it to ourself. Keep sheltered.
Initial investments are passionate, visionary, dream like states – scratching out an idea. You’ve done it. You graduated because of it. You own something you love because of it. You met the love of your life and took a risk. You have a business because of it….or do you?
Visionaries talk to friends and family - becomes a salesman of their dream! They raise money.
Some of these visionaries want to set up their own business, buy an existing one.
Then they meet the bean counter…..
It’s my opinion that the world is built by visionaries - the people that don’t listen to others about the costs. The dream matters more, and the money doesn’t scare them. It’s not that there isn’t a place for bean counters. We NEED THEM. They SHOULD be consulted. Yet the investment, the risk, the hard work, the potential rewards….thats for you decide.
In many dozens of practice sales, I have watched solid offers to purchase turned down by a consulted bean counter. Someone who says “the value is too high” - yet they know nothing of the skills, work ethic, vision of the potential new owner. They simply look at a piece of paper and the math doesn’t work for THIER VISION. People come up with strange valuations, with very little personal investment experience. Without having ever taken a risk in their life.
I’ve watched great practices get negotiated to insulting offers. The current owner who spent a lifetime living their own dream shot down by a bean counter who doesn’t share their vision, or understand how a bean planted will reap the rewards and perhaps allow the plentiful tree of beans to be carefully accounted when their vision bears fruit.
Even the successful entrepreneur gets caught in this trap. It takes a lot of hard work, sleepless nights, knots in the stomach and many tears to bring a vision to life. It’s a risk. People often give up JUST BEFORE the success is going to come.
Once the success comes, it becomes natural to simply protect those many years and NOT want to go through the same work again….
The bean counter comes in to make sure the amount of nuts squirrelled away is protected from the long term vision. Dreams escape and monotony sets in…the business may even begin to die. The most successful businesses almost always have a life cycle – usually because they get so big, and the accountants start to run the company and the risky investment disappears.
Large corporations definitely get caught in this trap. Companies started by entrepreneurs start to get pushed around my CFO and board members more interested in protecting the profits directed at their own pockets rather than the goal of the visionary to begin.
To create a product that solves a problem and helps others….
It takes investment and risk…and vision.
Many of these company bean counters are counter-intuitive to growth. They start to believe they are the masters of the universe, and try to dictate to customers how they need to do business trying to become monopolistic. Charging fees and cutting services until ultimately….
Death of the Vision. End of the company.
Jeff Bezos says “Amazon is going to fail”
So will Google, Apple, Tesla….Facebook (are they already on the way?)
Or will they simply not let CFO and bean counters run them. Will they continue to invest in “crazy ideas” that bleed money - yet solve many large human problems.
Not if the bean counter decides.
Come on you large, lazy corporations. Go back to fundamentals. To your dreams. Take care of your customers, don’t let a digital backyard company outrun you because a bean counter told you that was a bad idea.
Don’t let an online direct to consumer behemoth become your internet provider and your competitor.
Grab that dream, do it for the good of the people. Plant the bean and nurture it, and then let the bean counter do the job they really should stick to.
Count the beans.