Being an entrepreneur! Now, who didn’t ever dream of starting up their own business? One came up with a unique idea; the other had a dream, while a third jumped aboard a running train and a fourth began a firm out of frustration or disappointment. Whatever moves us to start something new, everyone who begins a business does it because they have faith in their abilities and in what they can achieve. Entrepreneurs never stop building. What keeps them going are their successes, big and small; driven by a will-to-win that cannot be defeated (for long). Difficulties do come up, of course, but that’s also when we can rely on the confidential forums of Entrepreneurs’ Organization, where fellow entrepreneurs share their experience with us and help us back on track. What’s fascinating is how well it works! Examples abound: everyone is familiar with the cases about your role in the company, staffing problems, growth challenges of when personal life issues have intruded. When you think about it, they are universal challenges we all face, so why have they never been brought together in a book? Sure, we can find endless success stories to read about. In fact, that is how the world sees us: they really seem to think that we’re just running on water to fetch pots of gold…to mix a metaphor, or two. But we all know that nothing could be farther from the truth. Building a business is a long haul, full of ups and downs, with miles to go before we reap. Our purpose here is to share the road stories from life on the entrepreneurial trail. What did we come across? How did we deal with it? What did we learn? You’d better know before you set out on your trip what you might encounter. Not to scare you off but to arm you against the unknown and let you know you’re never alone. So many of us have already had experiences of this kind that is only natural to share what we know. Our title, OUCH! The Hard Lessons Learned will no doubt let most of you grin/groan in wry recognition of the hard facts of life. We think that for most it also offers new ideas to think about. New insights and new experiences to give you a leg up for the horse race ahead.