[By guest blogger Mary Bruce]
I thought it was a pretty simple question. "What do you want this business to look like in five years?" However, Joan didn't like it at all. "That's not a question I can answer. Our market is limited. In order to grow, we have to be opportunistic - see what pops up and then pounce." Joan is at least partially right. Many successful business owners have gotten
A Harvard Business Review article (and podcast) called "The High Intensity Entrepreneur" makes this shocking claim:
"To be successful, entrepreneurs should wait until they are in their 30's before launching a business."
I almost dropped my iPod when I heard this.
The article actually quotes a study that says most highly successful entrepreneurs worked for three or more years in a large
A funny thing happened to me during the 5th year of my 3rd start-up: I fired myself. The company continued on, but I walked away. Why? I could say that the company could no longer afford a CFO. (Sales had dipped during the recession, and I was working at half pay.) But that's just an excuse.
The real reason I fired myself from the company that I helped start has everything to do with
I had a rare opportunity to speak with Elon Musk. In case that name is not familiar, you certainly know him by what he has done in the last decade: Musk revolutionized online payments with PayPal, re-imagined space travel with SpaceX, and created one of the hottest (and all-electric) cars ever made at Tesla Motors.
Musk, now just 40, has accomplished more in the last 10 years than most people
There are hundreds of ways to look our business – we can spend hours staring at financial statements and ratios. But financial statements alone won't help us make progress...what an entrepreneur really needs is a map.
A great "business dashboard" can be that map, showing us not just where we are, but also where we are going. (Financial statements tell us only where we’ve already been!)
I was 27 and struggling with my first start-up when I met my wife. She seemed like the perfect addition to my growing company. She worked without pay and never complained when the job kept me at the office until midnight - because she was there too.
I told this story to Charley Moore, CEO and founder of Rocket Lawyer today, and we lamented how terribly shortsighted that was. We talked about how
I've often said that you should not start any business without a business plan. So are you surprised that I put this strategy step at the end of my Business Tune Up Program?
There's a good reason. A "strategic growth plan" is entirely different than a start-up business plan, and plotting strategy takes a deep understanding of what drives your business -- and your profits.
If you've followed my
Entrepreneurs are an odd lot. We pursue a passion but end up with a business. Sure, launching a company seems like a good idea at first. We start with stars in our eyes, but end up married to the dreary demands of running a company.
If your business is not helping you pursue your dreams -- by generating both income and opportunity for you to do what you love -- then it's time for a bit of
I've accepted it: Retirement is dead. Anyone still working today might never be able to retire.
So why are we all putting money into retirement savings accounts? Between IRAs, ROTHs, 401(k)s, SIMPLEs, SEPs and SOLOs, there's no shortage of ways to save for a day that may never arrive. And yet Morningstar reports that the average retirement account lost value last year! (Mine certainly
Like it or not, customers are not all created equal. Are they all equally profitable? No. Can your business afford to service every customer? No. Shouldn't you treat them all the same? No. No. No.
If you don't know one customer from the next, wake up and smell the segmentation.
In almost every business, just 20% of customers account for 80% of profits. And many businesses would