Chairman’s Message

Chris Meissner

One of my priorities as 2018 Chair will be to work closely with Bruce Stenslie as the EDC-VC enhances communication and support for the growing network of organizations and programs that support our developing entrepreneurial community.

A 2006 poll by MasterCard of small business owners around the world indicated that the primary motivation for starting a business was financial security (70%). Perhaps, like me, you assumed the primary reason would have been to “be your own boss.” If so, you’re not wrong at least when referring to the U.S. where 67% of respondents cited this as their primary motivation. According to CBS News’ Mark Hendricks, this is because the U.S. is a place where “individual freedom is highly prized.”

However, entrepreneurs quickly learn that freedom to operate is only as flexible as the marketplace allows. Commercial success requires hard work, discipline and a commitment to excellence. Talents needed to survive and thrive are honed under pressure with long hours and often little pay. With success comes employees, more obligations, often less freedom, and bigger challenges. Conquering those challenges requires new skills and personal growth. Failure to do so may require hiring, or perhaps losing control to, a professional CEO.

Professional CEOs are distinct from entrepreneurs in that they don’t found companies, they are hired to run them. If you’re an entrepreneur that has survived the startup phase, it’s worth doing a personal assessment and ask if you think you have the skills that someone else would hire if they were looking for a CEO to run their company. Is your company as successful and growing as fast as it possibly could? If you’re uncertain, it’s time to do a skills gap analysis. The EDC-VC and SBA can help.

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