Be An Entrepreneur? Naturally

Just in time for the recession is a book from former Victoria consultant Dave Pollard on how to start your own business, naturally, in order to achieve happiness, peace, and, perhaps, success. In Finding the Sweet Spot: The Natural Entrepreneur’s Guide to Responsible, Sustainable, Joyful Work, published by Chelsea Green Publishing last September, Pollard – who was a consultant for 27 years with Ernst &Young, an advisor to entrepreneurs and a member of the firm’s strategy and innovation group — advocates turning familiar economic and entrepreneurial thinking on its head. Instead of copying the industrial economy model, which Pollard says destroys jobs, exhausts resources, externalizes costs, ruins the environment and puts profit above people, those facing a bleak job market should think about forming Natural Enterprises instead. These are co-operative businesses in which budding entrepreneurs identify their strengths, their desires, and their passions, and then marry their unique skills with others with similar beliefs to form businesses that have a useful purpose. This “sweet spot” is where your gifts, your passions and your purpose in life intersect. Natural entrepreneurs, says Pollard, are partners in self-organized, egalitarian usinesses, co-operatives and Non Profits who are making a living together by filling unmet needs in a way that is socially responsible, environmentally and economically sustainable and which allows each partner to do work that he or she is uniquely good at doing, loves doing, and cares about deeply. And while that may sound a bit utopian, Pollard the business advisor leavens the philosophy with some pretty astute and hard-headed methodology for entrepreneurship. I particularly like sections on discovering what you were meant to do and finding and working with the right partners. Both of these, I believe, fit the modern definition of business – that it should be collaborative not competitive. Obviously, there is a strong environmental bent to Pollard’s short tome, but you don’t have to be a hemp-wearing tree hugger to listen to his advice. It applies to anyone who feels they’re wasting their life by chasing “success” in some unfeeling workplace that clashes with their own personal beliefs. And given all the economic fear around today, that’s probably most people.