When I was a teenager someone gave me the sage advice of “To Yourself Be True” (short: TYBT) or as Shakespeare said it: “To Thine Own Self Be True”.
At the time it was meant as a reminder that I should know myself — strength and weaknesses — and, regardless what others think of me, know who I am, stay centered and act from within this knowledge. Good advice for a teenager who is coming into his own.
But this advice may be even more important for businesses.
In essence: You have to be true to yourself; you have to know your strengths and limitations and live within your means. The same is true for a business. The sooner a company tries to be what it is not, the sooner it tries to “have it all”, the sooner it will die.
Sadly you can see this happen way too often — founders believing their own marketing, companies believing their own press, teams falling for their rallying cries.
It takes discipline and a good dose of self-awareness to avoid this trap. You have to separate marketing speak from reality. Sometimes it feels like you have a split personality. And yet — it might be one of the more important traits you need to develop as an entrepreneur.