Many businesses are the result of the passion, vision and sheer bloody mindedness of an entrepreneur whose life’s vision is completely dedicated to creating an enterprise which can solve a long standing problem to humanity and with any luck make some money for that entrepreneur in the meantime. And when I say completely dedicated that’s exactly what they have to be: from dawn to dusk, without deviation, hesitation or repetition as Nicholas Parsons used to remind the Just a Minute panel on their weekly half hour trip into the light fantastic of Radio 4 easy listening.
Without repetition though for many entrepreneurs is a difficult concept. As they begin their entrepreneurial journey they soon find that they have to be not only jack of all trades but master of them all too: whether this be their ability to create product, market it, sell it, fill in the tax returns and keep the bank happy, the budding entrepreneur is soon faced with a stark dilemma: how can they clone themselves in order to make sure their business vision can grow and meet the ever expanding demands that are being made of them?
Many entrepreneurs find novel solutions to the cloning dilemma. Some have experimented with stem cell technology, often with remarkable effect. Richard Branson for example has cloned himself many times over in order to run the diverse business empire he has established since opening that first Virgin record shop in Tottenham Court Road in 1972. How else do you think he has been such a success in industries such as railways, insurance and pet food?
Others have taken more prosaic routes to cloning themselves: establishing a franchise for example is one simple yet expensive route to ensure that other people think, act and behave and in exactly the same way you do. A more risky approach is to write a job description, employ someone, give them a training manual and trust in their ability to absorb everything you wrote, everything you think you wrote and everything you should have wrote and then act in a manner which would indicate that you have completed an effective mind meld, in the best Star Trek tradition.
The trouble with expecting a mind meld to solve the cloning dilemma is that human beings tend to demonstrate the annoying tendency of individualism. This is an anathema to the entrepreneur as the only individuality they are concerned about is their own: it is, after all, their vision, passion and sheer bloody mindedness which has led to the need for cloning themselves in the first place.
The challenge for the entrepreneur is not so much about how they clone themselves, but how they welcome difference and diversity and can tolerate behaviours which might not fit easily in their driven psyches. If the entrepreneur can embrace the concept that they cannot be everything to everyone all of the time, then they stand a much better chance of letting others embrace their vision rather than it becoming everyone else’s nightmare.