Posts Tagged ‘start up’



Success and the Perseverance Principle

The difference between success and failure in any venture often cannot be attributed to a single incident or cause. It’s usually a culmination of factors including timing, execution, assumptions, economic factors, and more. While much has been written on the success of start ups, one factor usually sticks out in my mind. Recently a friend who is in the process of starting a business told me he was “overwhelmed and not sure of what he was doing.” I can relate to that feeling well. But my advice to him still rings true from the early days of my company, The A Group. My words of encouragement were simple: “Don’t quit. Success is 90% perseverance.” I can’t quantify the percentage. But I know that the great majority of the successes I have seen in my professional career both in business as well as in ministry have been directly tied to my…

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Your Talents Could Hurt Your Organization

The more talents and skills you have the more likely you are to take something from nothing to up and running. Talented people who can learn quickly, adapt, and grow are the heart and soul of start-ups. But unless you learn to let go of most of those things, the organization you serve will not be able to grow beyond your incompetence level. Yes, incompetence. No matter how talented you are, you cannot be an expert on all the skills that your business or non profit need to grow and thrive. The skill set that got the organization from ideation to reality are not the same skills that will take it to the next level of growth. Early in my career as a business leader, I used to spend hours learning how to use software so I could design marketing pieces or edit videos. I had to come to grips…

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Why You Should Start a Business During Down Times

On a recent flight, I sat next to a man who had just started a new business. Unless you’re in Brazil, India, or China, starting a business anywhere else in the world at this moment is a difficult proposition. The recession has not subsided and economic indicators are all over the place. My new friend, Mike, is creating incentive management software for auto sellers. Nissan is his first client. What a way to get started by landing a big fish…no, landing a whale. But then I thought about when I started my own business and decided that this is a perfect time to start a new venture. I started The A Group ten years ago this past November, a couple of months after 9/11.  I have learned big shifts in the economy, such as our current recession, create openings in opportunity because it often changes the rules of the game.…

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Beating the Start Up Odds: The A Group Turns 10

According to the statistics from the Department of Labor and Commerce my business was not supposed to last this long. This month, The A Group turns 10 years old. Only 29 out of 100 new businesses that started 10 years ago are still in business today. Not only we are still open for business, we are having our best year yet both in revenues as well as in the quality of work we produce. While there’s no miracle formula, there are a few things we got right from the beginning that allowed us to still be here today. While I credit God with all that’s good in my life, including my business, I also know that God often gets blamed for poor decisions and misguided business practices of businesses that fail. There are a lot of factors that dictate the success or failure of any given business, some of them…

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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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3 Things You Must know in Order for Your Business to Make It

I love the entrepreneurial spirit. People who can see opportunities where most can’t and have the guts to jump out into and make it happen, are some of my favorites. In my experience, most business owners start their companies without all the “facts.” While some might have a well-thought out business plan, most only have an idea, a lot of passion and energy and enough gambling instinct to pull the trigger on and move forward. But while no amount of education or research can prepare you for the real world of business, here’s a few  things you must figure out if you’re going to make it whether you’re starting a free-lance business out of your home, a manufacturing facility, or a marketing agency. Who is my ideal customer? My company became a lot  more profitable once we decided what our ideal customer looked like. We realized that some of our…

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5 Books Every Entrepreneur Must Read

“I’m thinking about starting a business but I’m not sure how to go about it.” I hear this phrase quite often these days. People who find themselves out of a job and contemplating starting a new business, or  those who are trying to pursue their dreams, often find themselves at the brink of a new venture not knowing what to do next. In my experience most new businesses fail not because of lack of talent, work ethic or drive. I have seen a lot of hard-working, talented people fail because they don’t understand the “business” part of their craft. Figuring out how to deliver a great product is only part of your business dilemma. You need to understand concepts like scalability,  sustainability, and cash-flow management. While those things might not be the “sexy” part of you do, they are vital to its survival. Here are 5 books every business owner,…

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