Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Profile of a Successful Entrepreneur

“An businessman is a hybrid of a dancer and a calculator.” – Paul Valery – French philosopher

What follows are the five MAIN traits found in successful entrepreneurs.

They are Problem Solvers: Entrepreneurs have an uncanny ability to find solutions for difficult problems.

They are Calculated Risk Takers: A successful entrepreneur is a good judge of acceptable risk levels. They always research a topic before trying to make decisions and leave no stone unturned. They tend to be an adventurous group but always minimize their risk with alternate plans should something unexpected arise.

They are Innovators: During their lifetime most entrepreneurs will start several businesses. This is due to the fact that they always have great new business ideas flowing through their head. An entrepreneur will start a company and then move on to the next big project. It is rare for an entrepreneur to stick around and actually "run" a company past the start up phase. The idea of running an established company does not appeal to them so they are likely to sell the business or hire someone to run the daily operations for them.

They Delegate Tasks: One of the keys to becoming an excellent entrepreneur is their ability to delegate tasks to others. They delegate tasks they are not good at to others and run the parts of the business that they excel in.

Handle Rejection Well: Dealing with rejection is part of being an entrepreneur.

Monday, December 26, 2011


“Much of our American progress has been the product of the individual who had an idea; pursued it; fashioned it; tenaciously clung to it against all odds; and then produced it, sold it, and profited from it.” Hubert H. Humphrey (1911–78), U.S. Democratic politician, vice president.

“We are told that talent creates its own opportunities. But it sometimes seems that intense passion creates not only its own opportunities, but its own talents.” Eric Hoffer (1902–83), U.S. philosopher.

An entrepreneur is a person with a passion… A passion for their idea (and their dreams for that idea) that drives them to risk their finances and invest every waking hour in pursuit of these passions.

Their goal is never JUST money. Their goal is to build something. To create something. Sounds like an artist doesn’t it? Well I think entrepreneurs ARE artists… and so did Andy Warhol when he said, “Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art. . . . Making money is art and working is art and good business is the best art.”

Entrepreneurs are the backbone of any society, they are the Edison’s, the Franklin’s, the Ford’s, and the Gate’s of this world. They are people who leave their world better for their passion and, while they take success and thrive on it, they give back to their communities, their associates, and their families more than can be expressed within the context of a dollar sign.

To be called an ENTREPRENEUR is truly the greatest compliment that can be given to a business person.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Things Change - Business Plans Must be Up-Dated

It's important to remember a fundamental fact about business plans: business plans become outdated very rapidly and, if not updated, lose whatever value they may have to a company.
In other words, business planning is an ongoing process and the written plan must be regularly revised if it is going to have continuing value. It is essential to review the plan on at least a quarterly basis and measure results against the plan.

The reality of today's world is that the pace of change is accelerating. What that means is that executives must be constantly making adjustments to their plans. As the pace of change speeds up, it is easy to lose sight of the business plan and simply make the necessary adjustments to the plan on a day-to-day basis.

One way to accomplish this task without being under the pressure of completely rewriting the plan each quarter is to establish priorities and implementation steps as part of the planning and quarterly review process

Another way to help the review and measurement process is to set target dates for completing various components of the plan.

The priorities and dates can be included at the end of each section of the plan or in a separate section at the end of the completed plan. In either case, they should be taken very seriously if they are to have the intended effect of helping in the plan review process. Deadlines have a way of slipping in many companies; simply pushing the dates back a few months at each quarterly review quickly renders the whole process meaningless.

Executives and other employees must be judged on their ability to meet the plan's deadlines. If adjustments or delays are necessary for valid operational or planning reasons, these must be discussed and analyzed.

Dust off your plan and make sure 2012 is ready to rock as soon as the calendar flips! See more business planning tips in Bolts of Lightening in The OED Community!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

What are the traits of all great entrepreneurs?

“That which we acquire with the most difficulty we retain the longest; as those who have earned a fortune are usually more careful of it then those who have inherited one.” – Charles C. Colton

1. They have an idea they believe in… that creates a passion that keeps them moving forward.
2. They sincerely love people and because of this can lead them.
3. They take responsibility for all they do.
4. They are logical thinkers and persuasive because of this.
5. They work HARD.
6. They work smart.
7. They are good organizers and on the top of their “time management” game.
8. They make decisions but are not afraid to say they were wrong.
9. They solve problems and add value to all they do.

"Many of life's failures are people who did not realizehow close they were to success when they gave up." - Thomas Edison

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Can Family Members Continue as Employees Post-Sale?

Family businesses form a large segment of the small business sector. Transitions can often be difficult when new ownership takes over. OED Certified Advisor Laurie Russelberg provides great insight into the concern of the transition on family members who seek to remain with a company.

Q. Our nephews each work for us, along with our kids. Is it true they’ll be looked at as “old wood” by new ownership? How do we ensure buyers know they are critical, not just family pulling paychecks?

A. This is central concern for family businesses considering a sale. Depending upon the situation and buyer, some or all positions may be in jeopardy. Is the potential buyer an existing business that has its own workforce? Or is the potential buyer an individual who will need to depend upon the current workforce?

Each situation is unique, but the best protection for future employment is to ensure the new buyer sees the family members as vital, contributing members of the company. A few suggestions to consider:

Ensure that each family member has a detailed job description. Can business performance be linked back to each employee and their respective job descriptions?

Can this be effectively communicated to the potential buyer? Don’t be shy about promoting the family members as vital to the wellbeing of the company.

After a sale, will the family members be able to adjust to the new ownership and a changed work environment?

Laurie Russelburg is an OED Certified Advisor and founder of Bridge Business Consultants, Orlando, FL. Contact Laurie via LinkedIn to help your business grow, prosper and transition.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Are You Your Own Worst Enemy?

In a recent study done by Communispond, a New York based sales firm, more than 100 salesmen were asked why "the number one reason customers switched vendors." Over half admitted that "being out of touch" was the primary reason. Not that the customer found a better deal or a better product. The reality was this: they sold the customer the product and left him. Period.

Even in a very lean economy, clients will not necessarily jump ship just to chase a better deal. Are there long standing clients with whom you've lost touch? Do you reach out them to say hello or see how business is? Do you reach out to let them know you are at least aware you haven't spoken recently? This is an ideal time of year to contact clients (and vendors) with whom you have been out of touch. Let them know you value the length of your connection, and kick off a more connected 2012.

More sales and connection tips can be found in the resource documents in The OED Community.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Signs of Optimism as We Approach 2012?

The following article appears on by Mary Ellen Biery:

Are things getting better for small business?
After months of understandable pessimism, small business owners have caught a bit of holiday-time cheer.

Two recent surveys show improvement in the small-business outlook even as some economists are reportedly saying U.S. economic growth in the fourth quarter will be stronger than previously expected.

Meanwhile, data from Sageworks’ financial statement analysis of privately held companies shows that small businesses are seeing stronger sales growth and higher profits than last year. And a “Small Business Saturday” promotion during Thanksgiving weekend spurred an estimated 103 million shoppers at independently owned small merchants – more than the 89 million expected by promoter American Express OPEN.
Small business optimism rose for a third consecutive month, the National Federation of Independent Business said this week. The group found small but widespread improvement in forward-looking components of its Small Business Optimism Index, even though the index remains weak and below the January index reading. “After so many months of pessimism, November’s modest gain made it feel like spring, again,” said NFIB Chief Economist Bill Dunkelberg. “We have good reason to be optimistic about last month’s report and hopeful about what it means for the future. Still, our current reality is still very much the ongoing economic winter.

Read the complete article on Forbes!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Ten Ways to Be A Leader

1. Begin with praise and honest appreciation.
2. Call attention to people's mistakes indirectly.
3. Talk about your own mistakes before criticizing the other person.
4. Ask questions instead of giving direct orders.
5. Let the other person save face.
6. Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.
7. Give the other person a fine reputation to live up to.
8. Use encouragement.
9. Make the fault easy to correct.
10. Make the other person happy about doing the thing you suggest.
Dale Carnegie (1888-1955) American writer and speaker

Monday, December 12, 2011

Leadership Characteristics

"A good leader takes a little more than his share of the blame, a little less than his share of the credit.”

Leaders have the authority of knowledge. Leaders have demonstrated ability/talent that colleagues and subordinates admire. To be a leader you cannot just be a talker ... you must bring something special to the situation.

Leaders are visionaries. Leaders see things, that others see as ordinary, in a way as to make them extraordinary. Leaders can make the complex seem simple. Leaders look beyond today.

Leaders produce positive change. Change is seen by leaders as an opportunity and a challenge. Leaders always question why things work, or are done, the way they are.

Leaders give their all. Leaders do not hold back. They do not allow themselves to be sidetracked and always exhibit a high degree of energy and ability.

Leaders are good listeners. They are able to really hear what people are saying and empower people to follow their vision.

Leaders are good communicators. They are clear and concise, complete and consistent. They create enthusiasm and excitement

Leaders are students. They never stop learning and growing. They are willing, and able, to learn from their mistakes. Leaders read ... read ... and read!

Leaders take risks. They create change which requires risk because they visualize how things can be done better.

Leaders are ethical. People will not follow someone who cannot be trusted, consistently.

Leaders are optimistic. Trust and hope are the basis on which leaders empower other people. They believe (and have proven) they are winners

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Make Profit Everyone’s Responsibility

To many entrepreneurs do not talk to their employees about PROFIT. They often feel one of two ways:
It’s no ones business but their own.
Their people wouldn’t understand it anyway.

Both are disastrous attitudes.

It is the employees business because without it they won’t have a job for long.

If they don’t understand what profit is then the boss must explain it to them!

Without a firm commitment to the profitability of the company people do not see it as part of their jobs and will see no relationship between the businesses profitability and their jobs. This causes waste and inefficiency.

Profit MUST be part of everyone’s job description!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Hire A Great Bank

Bankers are NOT villains – they can be the biggest allies an entrepreneur has because it is very much to their benefit to see the entrepreneur become successful.

Make a list of what services you need form a bank: checking and savings accounts; credit card processing; lines of credit; wire transfers etc. Take some time and make a complete “wish list”.

When your list is complete look for a small community bank that is close to your business and active in the area. Choose one that advertises for local business and has a customer list that includes business like yours.

Also, make sure to ask your mentor, friends and other business people for recommendations.
Once you have a list of possible banks make an appointment with the bank president or the VP in charge of the branch nearest you and interview then completely.

In the final analysis you must have a bank that can service all your needs and “personal” banker who you can deal with to be successful.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Made In America- For Christmas

We love this ongoing series by ABC News. Kudos to the American Broadcasting Company for bringing the spotlight to the most effective way to jump start job growth: Buy American. It sounds... what? Simple? Costly? Everyone has their own take. Is it a simple but quaint idea that will cost more than buying readily available goods in a big box store? Is it impractical due to the huge percentage of goods produced overseas? Yes. And No. To jump start your creativity thought process and give Santa a little help too on holiday tips, the Made in America Series is now running The Great Made In America Christmas

The premise is simple yet astounding. If every American spent just $64 (just 1-2 gifts on your list) on products made in America, the result would be 200,000 jobs. Read that again. Now think of all the merchants in your area, mail/web order businesses you know, restauranteurs with gift cards, holiday cheer... you name it, choices abound.

There is an ever-growing list of merchants and items on ABC's website. Check them out, do some holiday shopping, and let's support these fellow American entrepreneurs and their employees!