'I Wish I Did It Sooner' - The Entrepreneur's Mantra?

Posted by Michael McLachlan on 20/06/2022 2:11:20 PM
Michael McLachlan


It’s the best thing that ever happened to the company and I wish I did it [The Icehouse Owner Manager Programme] when I was 20 or 30 years old,” says Euan Sparrow of The New Zealand Sock Company.

It’s hard to believe that many entrepreneurs battle with “hesitation”. After all, entrepreneurs are often characterised as the bravest of all our business leaders. They’re risk-takers, challenge tacklers – gritty and resilient, innovative in their thinking, and dedicated to the pursuit of growth through success.

But, for some, something gets lost along the way as the business grows. Suddenly you’re responsible for others, you have other people to answer to in the form of investors and the board, and the very qualities that got you to where you are in the first place; independence, quick decision-making, thinking outside the box, dynamism and passion, become a little diluted.

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That little bit of self-doubt and, worst of all, procrastination, becomes second nature. According to Forbes, the hesitation gene in entrepreneurs is real and manifests in many ways.

Some of the most common reasons why entrepreneurs hesitate to execute include limited time, money, know-how, team or a person with complementary skills, or it may just not be a priority or good timing.’

This is especially true if the business isn’t doing what it should. “Tomorrow” is a great excuse for some because it’s a way to ignore the present, which means another opportunity for disappointment.

Could the biggest thing holding back your business be your hesitation? ‘I wish I’d done it sooner’. We hear that a lot at The Icehouse, particularly regarding the Owner Manager Programme. Thankfully, when they do begin the journey, they never look back.

I looked longingly at OMP for about three or four years because I’d concluded that it was the best option and the most appropriate programme for me,” says Symon Thurlow, co-founder and CEO at Parallo.

After some initial wrangling I jumped straight in and within the first session of the first block I was thinking, ‘Why didn’t I do this sooner?’.

The moment you think you’d benefit from OMP – don’t be like me and delay – honestly find a way to make it work. If you think you’ll benefit, that is the indicator that you need to attend it… My business would be bigger and it would have been a smoother journey if I had attended sooner.

It's a very common theme. There are often many reasons not to do the OMP, from a new big contract, to staffing issues, to purely not having the time – but what OMP Alumni understand is that spending time away from the business on the OMP can assist with all of these things,” explains Gareth Bayliss, Sales Manager at The Icehouse.

We prefer hesitation, but “workplace procrastination” is very common. ‘Studies suggest that it regularly comprises more than a quarter of many people’s workdays, and evidence of it has been found in a wide range of jobs, among everyone from junior employees to managers and executives, with approximately 25% of adults considering procrastination to be a defining personality trait for them,’ suggests SolvingProcrastination.com.

Hesitation can also stem from ‘what can they teach me?’ syndrome. Again, a lot of our Alumni say that the set-up of formal and structured education wasn’t really right for them and when they do embark on their OMP journey, they soon realise that they love the education – it was the system that wasn’t right for them all those years ago.

Entrepreneurs know that success doesn’t mean an “A+”. Practical experience beats book smarts often, but when you combine practical knowhow with repeatably successful and demonstrable business learnings – that’s when the magic happens.

Entrepreneurs don’t do missed opportunities and ‘doing it sooner’ can have transformative effects on a business and the people behind it.

[OMP was] 100% the best thing I have ever done. My mates and associates are sick of me talking about it... I kind of wish I did it five years ago – I can’t talk more highly about it,” says Mason Pirie, Managing Director at Brightline Construction.

I can’t even count the number of times I have heard an OMP Alumni say, ‘I hate to think about where me and my business would be if I’d only done this sooner’,” says Liz Wotherspoon, Chief Executive of Growth at The Icehouse.

[At The Icehouse] we need to keep working on dispelling the myth that owner-managers need to have a whole lot of things ticked off in the business before they join an OMP. There’s a myth and misconception that they need to ‘have’ the time before they can step away from the business and be able to justify and leverage the investment of time and money.

“The truth is they need to ‘make’ the time. We want them to know and understand that they don’t leave the business behind when they start the Owner Manager Programme – they bring the business with them on their learning journey.

Owner Manager Programmes have limited spots and are often filled months in advance, so now is the time to secure your spot. Follow this link for calendar dates.


For information about the Owner Manager Programme from The Icehouse, click here.

For more business ownership and leadership advice, check out more of our resources.

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