While it is often exciting to be an entrepreneur, we sometimes forget to be successful in any business; we must be prepared to wash the dishes. I found myself in the unique position several times of reviewing business opportunities with both young and seasoned entrepreneurs. These are people that have exciting ideas in exciting times and carry with them a great deal of energy that can translate into success.
One of the first things that I offer as advice to any entrepreneur or business owner, is to take the time to think about how it is that they would feel about being a dishwasher.
My father once explained to me that the most successful restaurant owners and successful managers of restaurants have often spent time in the kitchen, on the line themselves preparing food cooking and even washing the dishes.
In considering this advice, I offer you the following thoughts. When you think of creating a successful business, the first thing you’ll need to consider is the actual infrastructure of the business, how will this business operate, what role and how well will that be defined. This is what often leads me to think of the dishwasher. Take the most successful restaurant anywhere in the world and that restaurant will be traditionally be defined by the number of seats, the quality of food and level of service. Although, if the restaurant only has 60 seats and 80 dishes on any given busy night, they would be lost without the dishwasher.
The Smart business owner or entrepreneur quickly realizes that it is important to understand his/her business and every aspect of the business. To have respect for every role and function that that business or service has. This is why I mention the dishwasher. When you think of a business, in this case a restaurant, we often overlook the importance of others or in this case the dishwasher. When a consumer walks through a restaurant door it has always been emphasized how important it is to have the first experience with the restaurant be its finest, it is often overlooked that all of this is made possible by the “dishwasher”. Imagine how a restaurant would function if it had no dishes. If everyone in the business thought that they were better than being the dishwasher. If they thought that the dishwasher was insignificant and unimportant to the success of the business. In such a case, the business would fail. Surely the chef could not cook the steak, prepare the chicken Cordon Bleu or serve his famous French onion soup without dishes. One could even argue that he would not even be able to cook if someone did not clean and prepare the utensils.
So it is my advice to any small business owner or would-be entrepreneur that you consider the importance of the dishwasher not just in the structure of your business but in how it is that you may be called upon to serve that function to develop the success of your business. No business owner or entrepreneur, at least not the successful ones, develops a business based on great ideas and money alone. The true success of every entrepreneur and small business owner is the sweat, tears and hard work that they are willing to put into their own business. At this very moment there is an extremely successful business owner somewhere in the world scrubbing the toilet because there is no one else to scrub the toilet, and while you may believe your above scrubbing toilets, that business owner who provides for his family, sends his child to Harvard, or uses that first business and that first toilet to build the next multimillion dollar business. Their success began with the concept that a great idea and funding will not be enough to be successful.
So a word of caution to all you would-be business owners, entrepreneurs, inventors and silver tongues. When someone talks about America being based on the hard work of its citizens, they are talking about an economy built, sustained and developed by small business owners. This is a experience, endeavor and honor that is not always white sandy beaches, luxurious vacations, or penthouse apartments. It is a rite of passage, a part of the American dream, that if you are willing to work hard, invest yourself, your time, your pride, you may be rewarded with all that you put in. America will always need its “dishwashers”.
If you’re not ready to be the dishwasher, I urge you to reconsider starting or running a business, organization or campaign.