Both questions are interrelated. If you don’t know how to handle the unknown, you will fear every obstacle. If you believe there is no way around them, then fear itself will blind you to solutions.
Obstacles and the unknown are inevitable. What is needed is a set of principles that you have thoughtfully established to rely on. Just like a navigator who uses tools like sonar, radar, and GPS to get safely through the storms, currents, and tides, you too must have reliable tools to handle obstacles and the unknown. And just knowing you have these tools at your disposal reduces fear, increases confidence, and opens your eyes to solutions. That keeps you going.
If you know that you are equipped to handle the unforeseen, you will be more likely to confidently keep going. Tenacity is the better part of entrepreneurial success. Confidence is the fuel of tenacity – and the fuel of creativity.
When you are confident that you are going to overcome any obstacle because you are equipped with the tools to do so, you look intently for the solution that you know is there. That’s when you see the bigger picture. You see beyond the immediate obstacle to identify strategic allies who benefit if you succeed. And that’s when you redefine the obstacle and discover the way around it. But first you have to know and utilize these methods of problem solving.
And of course, there are more methods and principles. But now we are getting into philosophy and most new entrepreneurs want tactics and processes, not philosophy. You know, “Just tell me what to do.” They want to get around the immediate problem without knowing the principles that will help them solve not only this one, but future problems as well. Only an effective business philosophy can do that.
So now we have a dilemma. On the one hand, we want to be prepared for the unknown, and on the other we don’t want to learn and apply the philosophies that will prepare us. But it is only the familiarity with these tools that can help solve any problem that will give us the confidence to keep going.
Several years ago, we created a course called Guiding Principles for Success, or GPS for short. It is designed for new entrepreneurs and brand builders, and is based on over 20 years of our hard-knocks experience as entrepreneurs. We spent many months just deciding the best way to present this vital information. Finally, we came up with 4 modules: The Entrepreneurial Mindset, Cash Flow Management, Personnel Management, and Distribution Management. These are the four essential categories of all business mastery. And within each category, we explore the classic and time-proven tools and philosophies that can prepare you for the unknown and give you the confidence to keep going.
We were told at the time that the demand was for more tactical and procedural courses. And so, we developed a series of tactical courses with many processes. But even with the best tactics and processes, failure can happen because of the attitudes, preconceptions, and restrictions you may have that influence every decision you make.
The sooner you understand the larger, philosophical framework of entrepreneurship and master the tools needed to navigate the unknown, the sooner you will develop the true confidence you need to keep going with creative solutions. You may eventually learn all this on your own, but they are long, painful, and expensive lessons.
Who Are We.
Having built and sold a bestselling national brand, we appreciate the value of brands and everything it takes to make them successful. Companies are valued by their brand equity. Achieving and maximizing brand equity requires tremendous respect for all your customers, from your wholesaler to your end user.
Starting in our laundry room with no money and no knowledge of the industry, we built the famous Barefoot Wine brand. We learned a lot they don’t teach in school and much of it the hard way. Although our success was in consumer products, our real world experience will be helpful to anyone looking for information and advice about brands.
We have written the New York Times Bestselling Business Book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand, which chronicles the history of the famous brand from its inception through its acquisition. Our book is now required reading in schools of entrepreneurship across the country. We hope this book will provide inspiration and encouragement for all those contemplating starting a brand or wanting to improve their existing brand.
Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey
-Barefoot Wine Founders