Think about an exercise where a group in a dark room gets individual candles. One candle is lit and there is light. That initial candle then lights another candle and the room gets a little brighter. More candles are lit, which in turn ignite more candles. From the initial flickering flame, the room explodes into a radiant burst of brilliance!
Working with entrepreneurs reminds me of this exercise. Entrepreneurial success spreads in a business community in exactly the same way. As the flickering flame is shared with customers, vendors, investors, or strategic partners, each of these candles contribute at an accelerating rate to the brilliance of the initial business idea. Explosive value is created when entrepreneurs behave like candles in a dark room.
Great Ideas Spread Faster
This concept focuses on entrepreneurial ideas, more than the entrepreneurs themselves. While the individual may be uniquely qualified to create a business, the business idea and subsequent execution contains the real value. Similar to the candles’ light expanding brighter and faster as more candles are used to light additional candles, the business idea’s power and value accelerates through its business community as more stakeholders become involved. For example, the idea that leads to a new vendor relationship now births a new customer for the vendor. Next, the vendor delights in sharing the great news about their new customer. The better the idea, its expansion, and its execution, the faster the news spreads of entrepreneurial success.
More People More Light
Get the right people involved. Find people who will sustain the light and be willing to share it with others. The room illuminates brighter and faster when each candle lights another, not just the original candle finding new candles to light. Remember the objective; illuminate the room and let all participants benefit from the brightness. Does anyone really notice if one part of the room may seem brighter than another? What is most important is that each candle connecting with others produces disproportionately more light than it could alone. Furthermore, candles that do not or will not participate in contributing, disproportionately hinder the objective of illuminating the entire room.
Size Doesn’t Matter, Sharing Matters
Surprisingly, the size of the candle does not really matter. It is the contribution toward the objective that matters. A longer wick does not really make the room brighter. However, the fact that the wick accepts the light from one candle and then shares its flame with another candle adds significantly to the brightness. Full commitment to the task creates results. In building an enterprise, the entrepreneur should want the brightest people available involved. But, the enterprise benefits the most from the most engaged people that are capable of doing the job. When candles contribute their individual ability to accept and then share more light, the room radiates the most!
Eventually, the light becomes more important than the source. The original candle does not even need to be in the room to sustain light. Nevertheless, the original candle’s impact continues to expand exponentially. So, for entrepreneurs who are in the process of launching their idea, get your candles in the room with the right people. Start the light, launch the business, and engage the team to perpetuate it. The idea ignites the endeavor, but engaged people remove the darkness. Success can only be enjoyed by the collective effort of all stakeholders doing their jobs with regards to the business. Whether the objective involves candles or entrepreneurship, the brilliance results from the sharing and the greater good depends on so much more than the initial individual.
By Glenn W Hunter
Principal of Hunter and Beyond