Friday, September 7, 2007


When I train sharpeners to start their businesses, I tell them one of the best ways to market their business is to go over their competition. They shouldn't go through them, and they certainly shouldn't go through them!

Unfortunately, the sharpening business comes with a shady element! Too often I hear about sharpeners bad-mouthing other sharpeners in their area! I also hear some sharpeners don't have the best business practices! So a sharpeners virtues in this business can play a great roll in his or her success!

Jeff Cornwall wrote about virtues recently in his Blog, The Entrepreneurial Mind. In the post titled, The Good Entrepreneur, he said,

"Traditional entrepreneurial virtues have been thought of in terms like ambition, ingenuity, diligence, perseverance, tenacity, and self-discipline. While these virtues are necessary for building a financially healthy and successful venture, they ignore the fundamental purpose that leads many people to become entrepreneurs."

While this fits the model of the everyday, go getter small business type, in a post Enron society, we also need to prove we have other virtues as well! Later in his post, Jeff said,

"We choose to look at entrepreneurship in our book from the classic cardinal virtues of prudence, justice, courage and temperance.

Prudence refers to being good stewards of the resources we pull together from others to build the business. We understand the obligation we have to those who give us their money, their labor, their business, and ultimately their trust. The good entrepreneur does not take that trust lightly.

Justice refers to treating people fairly. For example, if our employees help us create profits and wealth, it is just to find ways to share that with them be it through compensation, profit sharing, phantom stock, stock options and so forth.

Courage is doing what is right in spite of the added risks and challenges that this path in life creates.

Temperance is understanding that we are more than entrepreneurs. We are spouses, parents, friends and citizens. We need to take actions that lead us to be good in all that we do. That may mean that we temper our ambitions to make sure we have time for family and friends.

So who is the good entrepreneur?

The good entrepreneur is intelligent and technically competent. She is a good steward of the resources and gifts she has available. She is prudent.

The good entrepreneur builds strong relationships in his family, with employees in his business, and in the broader society. He does this by being just.

The good entrepreneur overcomes obstacles in building her company, but does so without ever compromising what she knows to be truly right. She does this with courage.

The good entrepreneur moderates his work ethic with rest. He does this through temperance."

As you work this week, think of how you can improve your business practices and make yourself more valuable to your customers!

Photo by Willingness Works

1 comment:

  1. What I found works out quite well when I started my business was to alert the local county's newspaper's Business section and they did a feature story on my sharpening biz. Worked quite well. Now I sharpen for our city's mayor.