Posts Tagged ‘entrepreneur’



Expose Yourself Out of Business

“We priced it low because we wanted the exposure.” Every young, and even some seasoned entrepreneur can fall on the trap of the “exposure” temptation. In the search for legitimacy and clout, entrepreneurs want to have the recognizable “big fish” names in our portfolios.  After all, that means great PR and lots of new clients, right? Wrong. There are several traps of  such reasoning: It sets the wrong expectations. You will enter an organization at the wrong level. Your first job defines what level of player you are. You do not want to be the “cheap” guy. Trust me on this one. It’s not sustainable. Even if your project is successful and the client loves the results, you have set an unrealistic expectation of cost, timelines, and services. When your next bid comes in at twice the price of your first, your new client will balk. “They’re good but not…

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3 Questions You Should Ask Before Jumping into a New Business

I have made a lot of mistakes in my business career. Thankfully, I have made some good choices that have paid big dividends. Recently I was talking with a friend who is assessing the possibility of buying an existing business. I asked him to answer these 3 questions:

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4 Gauges Every Entrepreneur Should Monitor

As a business owner, I’m never “off.” The mind of an entrepreneur is always working on opportunities, challenges and next steps. Of all the many thoughts that go through my mind on any given time, there are 4 areas of business that I’m constantly monitoring because I have learned that if they begin to deteriorate, so does my business. The Brand. That’s the promise every company makes to those it serves. Whether you sell widgets, services or an experience, your brand promise needs to be monitored. The A Group is a high-end marketing, technology and branding firm. Everything we do is based on strategy and best practices. I’m always monitoring the output of both products as well as services. Are we delivering on our promises? The Model. Is the current business structure a sustainable one? You’d be surprised by the number of busy businesses that end up failing. I remember…

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Is Your Greatest Idea Still on a Napkin?

“The greatest ideas are still left on napkins,” said a friend over lunch. These words stuck with me like some ugly unwelcome platitude. The more I tried to ignore them, the more they nagged at me. My ultimate fear is to go to my grave with my greatest idea still left on a napkin. What holds us back from pursuing our dreams? Here’s where I have landed on pursuing new business or ministry ideas. I don’t like risk, but I’m willing to take calculated ones. For someone who has started several business over the years,  (about 5 to date), I still struggle with the idea of something not working out. The fear of failure is real when you put a lot on the line for your dream.  But I also know that in order for an idea to flourish and become a reality, I have to step out of my…

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The Opportunity During Tough Times

We fear that Wall Street is still spiraling out of control, our economic system might in total chaos and the sky  might be falling as well. While I find myself very concerned about our financial future, there’s something about a shake down in the way we do business that excites me. In my experience, difficult times for the business-as-usual approach always opens up new opportunities for creative, nimble and entrepreneurial organizations or individuals to find a break that fat, entrenched and risk-averse big business cannot or will not pursue. I started The A Group in November of 2001, a few weeks after 9/11. Most people thought I was crazy because of the overall fear and paralysis in the marketplace. “Boy, I hope you’ll be ok; these are difficult times,” I heard over and over during the early days. And they did represented the reality of the day. People were looking…

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5 Reasons Your Business or Ministry Might Not Succeed

Your dream venture might never happen not because it’s not a good idea or it’s not needed, but because it might be under resourced.  Entrepreneurs in their zeal to get their dreams birthed usually shortchange the true cost of what it takes to create a sustainable business. Here’s some of the most common mistakes: You don’t pay yourself enough. In order to get the business going, entrepreneurs will often pay themselves very little or nothing at all. That’s not a sustainable model. If the business cannot pay you a decent wage in a short period of time, then rethink your model altogether. Your financials, income/expense projections are unrealistic. I was guilty of this for years. Being optimistic, I have always projected high on the income, and being very frugal, I default to thinking things cost a lot less than they actually do. Unrealistic targets can put too much stress on…

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The Right Stress: Yet Another Reason I’m an Entrepreneur

We all have stress in our work, but there is a big difference between what I call “corporate stress” and “entrepreneurial stress.” I have dealt with both and I have chosen the entrepreneurial stress. Here’s why. I hear often from friends who work in a corporate environment about the challenges they face daily. While the size of businesses vary, they all share some of the same dynamics, particularly the personnel, policy and culture dynamics that are beyond their control. While I know that control is elusive at best, entrepreneurs have a simple creed we all live by: we eat what we kill. While that might sound simplistic, it’s ultimate the bottom line for those of us who work for ourselves. As a business owner, I cannot blame anyone else for making bad business decisions, or for not moving forward fast enough to take advantage of opportunities. These are usually my…

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Innovators Don’t Ask

I’m convinced you cannot use focus groups to describe a ground breaking idea. I’m usually a fan of research, but not when it comes to introducing a cutting-edge idea or new product into the market. Focus groups might be a valid way to improve on an idea, or a help on choosing new features or services but they fail when they’re are asked to envision something completely new. This morning I read a comment on a blog that drove the point home: “I remember reading an article about the first-generation iPod and thinking: I can’t imagine ever needing one of these. Within months I had purchased one and I never went anywhere without it.” Innovators don’t ask permission. They bet on their instincts and create the experience we cannot live without. Can you imagine if Steve Jobs had decided to get validation from a focus group before building the first…

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