The Entrepreneurial Success Ladder


Entrepreneurs are not born. Entrepreneurs are made and more importantly, they are self-made. There are no “Donald Trump” success stories out there that can proudly display a certificate issued by a world-renowned Academy for Successful Entrepreneurs. If there was this, it might suggest that the success of the candidate in question was due to the high quality of their studied curriculum content. Not so. In fact, there are a startling number of not just uneducated but downright lazy people who have excelled at entrepreneurship. This implies that if there was a school for entrepreneurs that one of the key lessons would be the correct positioning of the effort versus return ratio and it is on the foundation of this ratio that I train business owners to structure their businesses.

The effort versus return ratio is all about getting really good at something you don’t necessarily have a natural ability for.

I was born to a family of gardeners and grew up surrounded by lush garden and family conversations filled with botanical names and classifications that I couldn’t understand or be bothered to learn to be really truthful.  Shortly after I got married my husband and I accompanied my parents on a holiday to the Kruger National Park in South Africa where they enjoyed identifying the endless range of very similar looking thorn trees.  Whilst on a game walk deep into the African bush my mother turned to my father, pointed to a thorn tree nearby, that looked remarkably like every other one in the vicinity to me and exclaimed excitedly “look dear, an Acacia nigrescens”.  My new husband stared thoughtfully at the source of this excitement for a few minutes and commented, “really? … And here I thought that was a tree”.  Clearly I had married the right man and we sailed happily off into the “zero gardening” sunset together.

I didn’t escape that easily.  Soon after our move to New Zealand we settled on a lifestyle block in the country and my friends and associates seemed quite offended that we had the space yet none of the inclination to grow our own produce.  A vegetable patch of sorts existed and so I yielded to the pressure to make some effort to bring it back to life.  On the well-meaning advice of a friend we had some organic compost delivered, which we spread around liberally, and I planted a range of zucchini, carrots, lettuces, strawberries and tomatoes.  Within a few days the first few weeds had sprung up and before I knew it I was spending close to two hours per day fighting back the onslaught of weeds that never seemed to abate. I hated every minute of the battle and eventually gave up in disgust, back in touch with the reasons I had never tried before.

Not being one to give up easily and due to the obvious difference in the quality of the vegetables that we had managed to scrounge from the weed patch to those available in the supermarket, I felt compelled to give it another try. I reconsidered an approach where the effort versus return ratio might be more in my favour to my previous attempt.  This involved calling in a landscaper and between his practical knowledge and my “ideal” knowledge we designed a raised vegetable patch consisting of 3 big boxes, filled to brim with a special kind of high quality, no weed soil and an automatic watering system.
The results were quick and really easy.  Enough said.  I am sure you get the point.
But how is this story relevant to EnQ?

Of the many clients I have mentored, by far the most common challenge that they face is the personal time taken to build and run a successful business.  I approach business building in the same manner that I approached my vegetable garden and in my view the “effort versus return” ratio is the foundation on which all other aspects of the business are built.  If this foundation is correctly designed all that is placed upon it functions more strongly.  


Sandy Guyer


Educational Publisher, Author, Specialist sales trainer and business coach

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