Entrepreneur Syndrome

In a recent blog called Accidental business leaders I shared one key characteristic of SME business leaders that I have learnt from working with them for just over five years (as well as being one myself twice in my career).

In this second blog I cover another of the things I’ve learnt about SME Managing Directors that I’ve christened The Entrepreneur Syndrome. This is a behaviour that stops the accidental (or even deliberate) business leader moving on and limits the growth of their business.

They know they need to step back and be more of a director and less of a doer. They know they need to work ON the business not IN it. And they know they need to get out and about, see the wood for the trees and learn from others. (To use a few catch phrases) BUT THEY’RE JUST TOO BUSY. It’s just never the right time and there’s never quite enough time! If only they could get just a little more business in, and make a bit more money and then they could take the time out to look at where they are going and invest a little of that extra cash in the future growth of the business. BUT THEY CAN’T AFFORD THE TIME OR THE MONEY JUST NOW! They’ll do it tomorrow. Which, as we all know, never comes.

The ironic thing is that the very behaviours that make an entrepreneur successful when they start a business – their focus on sales, their tight control over everything (which in the early days delivers excellent service at minimum cost) and their grabbing of opportunities as they come – are the very behaviours that can eventually cause their business to plateau. Sometimes, natural talent, instinct and sheer hard work sorts things, and the business leader develops anyway, and eventually works out how to lead a successful medium sized business.

But the sad thing is, there are many cases where Entrepreneur syndrome gets in the way of that happening. Which is one of the many reasons I run MD2MD. I believe it helps business leaders up their game, enables their businesses to be more successful and in a small way helps make the economy of the UK more successful.

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Bob Bradley


Bob is a specialist in running high value added service businesses, having run five such businesses as General Manager, Managing Director or Chief Executive. His last employed role was as Chief Executive of a £16M, 200 person family owned business having previously been Chief Executive of an AIM listed company for which he raised £5M funding and which he grew from £4M to £12M in three years through two acquisitions and organic growth, and a corporate PLC subsidiary where he was Managing Director responsible for delivering £10M profit on £45M turnover through 450 staff.

Bob is now following a portfolio career providing entrepreneurial business leaders with mentoring and coaching around business leadership, business growth, merger integration and exit planning.

Core to his portfolio is MD2MD. Having experienced for himself the value of having a strong sounding board of fellow Managing Directors he founded MD2MD in 2004 to provide groups of business leaders with a confidential environment within which they can support and challenge each other to raise their game as leaders and by doing so improve the success of their organisation.

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