Getting a business off the ground is hard. It takes ideas, commitment, and a willingness to fail that supersedes all else. You have to be willing to fail or you'll never have the guts to start.
But nobody goes into a new business with the mindset that they're going to fail. They go into the new business with the mentality of that they're going to get it done, no matter what.
Entrepreneurs are especially guilty of letting their ax get dull. Their business becomes this all-consuming monster of a project that requires endless amounts of resources to be kept at bay. And since you started it, the burden of feeding this monster falls in your lap.
I understand this cycle, I've lived it from the inside and I've observed it from the out. Most businesses needs tons of attention in the beginning. There's always something that needs to be done and there's never enough resources. But after that initial push to get things up and rolling, many entrepreneurs continue to feed the beast their lives.
Relationships whither. They spend less time researching and more time checking off menial tasks. And worst of all, they set the tone for how they want their team to act.
When I was with the furniture company, I had to fit into the culture. The culture consisted of a husband and wife I worked for. It was simple, they championed long hours and hard work. They didn't celebrate family time or continual education. They took pride in the fact that they worked 14 hour days.
So I began to take pride in 14 hour days. And then 80+ hour weeks. And 3 week work trips. And then I burned out...
Reenact that scene with my former employers leaving at 5 PM each day to be with their kids. My priorities would be different. My idea of approval (as I was seeking it from them) would have been different.
Just like children, employees will put more importance in your actions than your words. If you, as an entrepreneur, want to create a culture of workaholics all you have to do is stay late every day. Watch how people compete with you. Your early mornings and late nights won't be lonely for very long.
The way in which you set your priorities is one of the most important examples you set for your people.