The Secret Small Business News (with apologies to George Carlin)
George Carlin has been characterized as one of the most important social critics of the last half-century. He said that we use euphemistic language to “avoid unpleasant realities; avoid the truth and not look it in the eye.”
To prove his point, he wrote “The Secret News”, in which he told the truth, according to George, about the world in which we live, confronting the reality of life and addressing issues honestly. It was a curt, focused list of what he thought people should know and included things like, “All people are afraid” “No one is paying attention” and “Your house will never be completely clean”.
What if we, as business advisors, were this direct about some of the drawbacks and unpleasant realities of entrepreneurship? What if we decided not to soften the language, but to address the issues clearly and upfront with clients? What if we shared our truths and the things we thought people should know?
Business advisors are not always in a position to be frank with clients, but if they were and, using the secret business news format, here are a few things I might suggest be included in the list:
There are no grants
Just because you like to cook doesn’t mean you should open a restaurant
If you have employees, you will fire someone
Bankers are nice people but they make loans based on collateral and ability to repay
There are no grants (it bears repeating)
The most likely investors in your business are mom and dad
A hobby is not the same as a business
You will handle your business finances in the same way that you handle your personal finances
You will want an exit strategy
By clearly articulating our truths, it may not cause our clients to make different decisions. And, by sharing our truths, it doesn’t mean we are off the hook for helping clients take the next steps by encouraging them to prepare a carefully researched and detailed business plan. Because, in the end, it’s up to them to understand why they will want an exit strategy and for us to help them create it.