The framework applies whether the enterprise is a small printing vintage black cat please leave your worries and your shoes doormat shop trying to stay in business or a catalog retailer seeking hundreds of millions of dollars in sales.
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but those goals are too vague. If they stop and think about it, most entrepreneurs can identify goals that are more specific. For example, they may want an outlet for artistic talent, vintage black cat please leave your worries and your shoes doormat a chance to experiment with new technology, a flexible lifestyle, the rush that comes from rapid growth, or the immortality of building an institution that embodies their deeply held values. Financially, some entrepreneurs are looking for quick profits, some want to generate a satisfactory cash flow, and others seek capital gains from building and selling a company. Some entrepreneurs who want to build sustainable institutions do not consider personal financial returns a high priority. They may refuse acquisition proposals regardless of the price or sell equity cheaply to employees to secure their loyalty to the institution.
An entrepreneur’s personal and business goals are inextricably linked. Whereas the manager of a public company has a fiduciary responsibility to maximize value for shareholders, entrepreneurs build their businesses to fulfill personal goals and, if necessary, seek investors with similar goals. The options that are appropriate for one entrepreneurial venture may be completely inappropriate for another. Entrepreneurs must make a bewildering number of decisions, and they must make the decisions that are right for them. The framework I present here and the accompanying rules of thumb will help entrepreneurs analyze the situations in which they find themselves, establish priorities among the opportunities and problems they face, and make rational decisions about the future. This framework, which is based on my observation of several hundred start-up ventures over eight years, doesn’t prescribe answers. Instead, it helps entrepreneurs pose useful questions, identify important issues, and evaluate solutions.