Review Category : Entrepreneur Series

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business: marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly subpar.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to face with ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 6 – Poor Staffing Decisions

One of the first things I heard when I got into management in my career is the phrase “you have to put the right talent on the bus”. While I understood its meaning, it took many years to realize how important hiring decisions are to grow an organization the right way. I also felt the pain of making poor hiring decisions, and how much time and productivity you can lose from just one bad hire. No entrepreneur lives in the panacea of having zero turnover as sometimes they might like to make it seem, but certainly making the right staffing decisions by putting people in the right roles can allow your start up venture to get off on the right foot. One of the critical questions to ask yourself early in your venture is what role do you (the CEO/owner) play in your firm. If I was to use a baseball analogy, what jobs are you going to be a ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 5 – You Must Hire Professional Consultants

Since many new entrepreneurial ventures are often started on a shoestring budget, where you spend your financial resources can be a prickly situation. Far too often, I see new business owners who in some sense are really penny wise but pound foolish as the old adage goes. When is the right time to get yourself legal help? Do you really need an outside person to do your books or can you do it yourself? Does it merit having a financial person talk to about entity planning and business structure? Can’t you just figure this stuff out yourself? Even with many years of corporate experience, I faced these same questions when I opened my business. The costs for some of these professional feels like a waste of money when you need those precious resources for things like marketing, staffing, and technology. However, I will tell you that a big mistake in any of the areas below can be a brutal blow ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 4 – Avoid Rookie Mistakes

I am not a professional athlete.  However, I would imagine that the rookie year on any of the professional sports circuits has to be daunting in nature.   Not only are you in front of some type of large crowd, it takes some time getting used  to all of the decisions you have to make to be the best of the best in what you do for a living.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs can make first year decisions which can put a major dent in the first year of your new entrepreneurial venture.  Even someone who has a lot of corporate experience cannot understand the firefight of being a business owner until you have to meet your first payroll.One great idea my business partner and I have put into place in our business is the 48 hour rule.   We’ve set criteria around what a ‘key’ decision is for our business and once we have made a decision on the direction ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 3 – Know Your Role As The Owner

As an entrepreneur starting a new business, you often have to wear the hat of cook, dishwasher, accountant, and general manager.   However, one of the biggest mistakes a young owner will make is not quickly clarify their role within the organization.   Far too often, new entrepreneurs will try to control every aspect of a new business which inevitably slows the growth of the organization.  In some cases, it can make hiring and training new people so difficult it can be destructive to the success of a company. One of things I recommend to new business owners is to draw a T chart with one axis being things you like to do and one access being tasks that you are good at.    What you should quickly try to figure out in the early stage of a new company is to list all of the items that you are good at and those tasks that you like to do.    After figuring out ...

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Entrepreneur Series | Lesson 2: Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition. Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generations of revenue to pay the bills of the business. However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself. If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product or ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 1: Being Undercapitalized

It’s always exciting to think about the idea of having your own new start up. You hear about stories where entrepreneurs started with just $300 and a cardboard box and then turned their business into millions. In reality, having worked with many types of business owners, the first mistake made by most is simply not having enough capital or access to capital while growing your business. Undercapitalization really involves the language used when a person cannot sufficiently fund their business venture. An idea alone will not lead to business success. This lack of capitalization not only includes the initial outlay to get the business up and going, but really miscalculating the operating expenses in the business—especially in the first year of operation. Here are three smart things to be thinking about so your new entrepreneurial venture doesn’t fall short financially. Lines Of Credit. Whether it is a true banking relationship or you have set up an arrangement with family and friends, ...

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Entrepreneur Series Lesson 10 – Passion, Persistence, and Perseverance

Lessons one through nine of my entrepreneur series were lessons extracted from my own business and other business owners across the country over the past twenty years.   Undoubtedly in your first year of business, you will make your fair share of mistakes like anyone starting a new venture.   There are so many valuable pieces of wisdom to learn as an entrepreneur, but here are my big three traits you must have to truly succeed in your business. Passion – Many business ventures people conjure up in their heads often revolve around the dreams of making a lot of money.  While building your wealth can be an outcome of a successful entrepreneurial pursuit, passion around your dreams is what will get you through the good times and the bad times.   When you get out of bed every day with emotions that are so compelling around what you are doing, it becomes easy to motivate others to get excited around that dream.    ...

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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 8 – The Marketing Plan

Marketing your products and services is the lifeblood of a new business.   While you can ultimately have all kinds of long term business strategies, without having a steady stream of new revenue your new business venture can close up in a short period of time.   In my opinion, if you look at the three big areas of business including marketing, the actual product or service you are offering, and client service, marketing is the one driver that can help sustain a business even if the other two areas are slightly sub par.    There are really two parts to the marketing plan.   One section involves dealing with implementing strategies that will specifically drive new client acquisition.   The other arena is building the brand of your new company. Many new entrepreneurs substantially underestimate the time and money it will take do marketing in the first year of their business.    From a time perspective, your networking functions, community involvement, and meeting face to ...

Read More →

Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 2 – Incorrectly Pricing Your Product Or Service

In the first year of a start up operation, there is a great focus of energy from the new business owner on client acquisition.   Gaining new customers opens the floodgates for the generation of revenue to pay the bills of the business.   However, one of the tough lessons learned by young owners is not thinking clearly though pricing out the services of your business correctly. Most new business owners tend to undervalue what they charge for their work and services in order to compensate for not being as established as their competitors. As long as you have a top notch customer service experience and offer a product or service that’s similar or better than a competitor, you shouldn’t devalue yourself.   If you set this pattern up early with clients, it can be very difficult down the road to raise your prices with your initial customers. Here a few tips to determining if the price is right on your new product ...

Read More →