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Entrepreneur Series – Lesson 9 – Execution

I remember growing my career in management with a large Fortune 500 company when my Executive Vice President told me something one day.   He said, “Ted, execution is the one thing that separates the good from the great.  Let me put it to you this way.   If you don’t execute, you’ll be executed.”   I guess it’s hard to forget that, but it still rings true in my mind today.   Some of the best leaders and managers in business don’t achieve peak results because they simply don’t execute the plan. If you like to read, I highly recommend that you pick up a book written by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan called Execution.  There is a wealth of knowledge in this book about execution, and how to be very successful at getting things done.    Here are three mistakes new entrepreneurs make when it comes to execution. Changing the plan too often– One of the sayings I love is that focus beats ...

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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: 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 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 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 ...

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