Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

SURVIVAL IS TOO SMALL A GOAL: PANDEMIC LESSONS FOR START-UPS

The instinct for survival may be baked into all life on our planet. But it doesn’t inspire people to do their best work or to leave their broadest mark.  Start-up companies are in some of the most precarious positions in today’s foundering global economy. Some of them, though, at least have the luxury of using other people’s money as life preservers.  Plan to thrive, not merely to survive.  That sort of personal investment becomes even riskier during the coronavirus pandemic, of course: Most startups don’t have the luxury of coasting or treading water in the best of times, let alone in a down market.  Start-ups don’t have the capital, market presence or the runway to simply survive. Start-ups are built for massive growth in a short period of time. If they aren’t growing massively, they’re dying.  Read More >>

YOU GOT REJECTED BY A VC, NOW WHAT?

Entrepreneurs must understand that venture capitalists sometimes filter more than a thousand startups annually and can only invest in a handful. Therefore, by definition, their job is to say “No.”  After every meeting, and certainly if you are rejected, which could happen in person and more often via email, you should reply and thank them for taking the time to meet with you.   Maintain a long-term relationship with all your VC contacts.  Don’t fall in love with your idea.  Do not take VC rejection personally.  VCs require very high returns in a specific time frame that may not be relevant to your specific startup.  Perhaps VCs are pickier, timelines may increase and round sizes may get smaller, but most of the investors and buyers will not back down from a good deal.  Read More >>

TAMPA BAY COLLEGES SEE ENTREPRENEURSHIP SPIKE DURING COVID-19 CRISIS

As Florida’s economy begins to rebound, local education leaders are tracking new opportunities for people looking to launch a new product or service. The innovative nature and creative nature of entrepreneurs is a lot of times what gets us out of a crisis. The United States also experienced notable spikes in entrepreneurship after two other significant events in our nation’s history: The September 11th terrorist attacks and the Great Recession. 9/11 brought security startups. The recession brought real estate and finance companies. COVID-19 could bring innovation to the ways we work from home, get deliveries, prevent the spread of germs and innovate online education. Experts say this could be the perfect time to start a new business.  Read More >>

SEVEN LESSONS FROM REFUGEES WHO BECAME ENTREPRENEURS

According to the UN Refugee Agency, every minute in 2018, some 25 people had to flee their homes. Across the world, there were 71 million people forcibly displaced due to persecution, conflict, violence or human rights violations. These refugees left jobs and professions, studies and dreams, to find themselves in environments often hard to navigate, where they must reconstruct their careers as well as their lives.  The seven lessons we can learn from refugees who restarted their careers are that adversity is the mother of invention, when stuck, be smart and look for alternatives to keep moving forward, education and self-study are key; be curious and seek learning in all possible ways, to develop skills that are transferable and master English, use whatever ideas and passions you have to build your future as best you can, optimism and self-belief are critical to success, and do not assume you need perfect conditions to start a great company.  Read More >>

PIVOTING IN A PANDEMIC: INSIGHTS FROM TWO VETERAN CEOS ON TRANSFORMING A BUSINESS IN CRISIS

How you live in the moment right now while having an uncertain future is something that I’ve been grappling with on a lot of different levels.  It’s not just about trying to make money. It’s not at all about trying to make money, actually.  A lot of companies have gone one way or another in terms of masks and how they think about donations.  We feel like we’re working for more than just a higher stock price. When this passes two years from now, we still remember to say those things and to express just how much we appreciate the team.  We’re working to bring our friends back.  Read More >>

5 WAYS TO PIVOT YOUR BUSINESS DURING A CRISIS

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.” —Charles Darwin.  There are likely changes you wanted to make in your business but haven’t and now is a time to act. Evaluate your talent, review your contracts, decide what is truly necessary to run your business.  It’s time to streamline so you can move forward without the weight of unnecessary cost burden.  If you’re primarily run out of a brick-and-mortar store, it’s time to find the digital version of whatever work you were doing.  Leverage your current assets and resources and align them with your customers’ current needs.  Continue to maintain a strong relationship with your clients whether directly, individually, in newsletters, and or/via social media. Show them you care.  The objective of collaboration can be new ideas, exploring synergies, and creating new business partnerships, where 1+1 = 5.  There has never been a better time to try (and fail!). Now is the time to experiment. Quickly launch new ideas with minimal investment. Focus on results. Learn and improve with each iteration.  Persistence pays off in the end.  If your business has been greatly impacted by the current crisis, you’re not alone.  Don’t focus on what you can’t control…think about what you CAN.  Read More >>

WHAT START-UPS NEED TO SCALE AND SUCCEED

Statistically, the odds against a start-up are formidable. Companies that emphasize talent, customer-centricity, and core principles are the ones most likely to succeed.  Most start-ups have one thing in common: they usually fail. But the minority who beat the odds and survive share a number of traits. To overcome those extraordinary odds, an unusual amount of speed, hard work, and agility is required by the founders and first employees to rapidly develop the business and achieve enough momentum to delight initial customers, attract great talent, and secure further funding. The impatience you highlight is more about ambition, competitive instincts, and, ultimately, survival.  Successful scale-ups also need to listen carefully to what customers, staff, partners, and other stakeholders are telling them—through data or otherwise—and act quickly to adjust their model accordingly. Fundamentally, the frame of reference needs to change. You need to think like a start-up about the market and how best to serve customers, free of legacy and other constraints.  Read More >>

USE THE CALM TO PREPARE FOR THE STORM: HOW TO TEST YOUR BUSINESS PROCESS DURING THE LOCKDOWN

The long-term effects of COVID-19 on society and the global economy are yet to be fully seen, however, is that as markets plummet, businesses of all shapes and sizes are facing a harsh reality–rapidly adjust or risk going under.  While remote working was once a flexible perk for employees, it’s now commonplace amidst the COVID-19 outbreak. The result is a mass experiment whereby companies have to coordinate teams in separate locations and still function efficiently.  Your client relationships are likely to be strained during a crisis. Keeping regular contact with your clients is crucial. Many founders are panicking and making impulse decisions to counter temporary shortfalls in revenue. Instead, ask yourself if the time could be used for other activities that deliver more value in the medium and long term.   Read More >> 

 

HOW TO ACTIVATE MENTORING AND CAREER DEVELOPMENT WHEN YOU WORK FROM HOME

As more employees work from home because of the COVID-19 outbreak, virtual mentoring and collaboration have become part of the new normal. Companies are suddenly transitioning to remote work, which can impact development. Leaders need to rethink how to manage and develop their teams.  Virtual mentoring is a key investment for companies to build talent capability. A virtual mentoring program done well motivates and inspires employees and increases productivity by providing structure rich with career development opportunities. It boils down to three essential components: communication, clarity, and connection.  Cultures thrive when employees are learning and rising to meet new business challenges, which drives sustained success and long-term value creation. By prioritizing development, companies grow effective leaders to create a better employee experience.  Read More >>

CO-FOUNDER COLLISIONS

You’ve worked side-by-side with someone for over a year: iterating over and over again until you have your MVP, bootstrapping your way to your first users and revenue, arguing over how to best present your app in the stores, working all-nighters to get your investor deck just right, networking from coast to coast.  And just when the pressure reaches a new height, the little grievances compound and you’re contemplating ending the whole thing before your startup rocket ship has a chance to take off. When looking at statistics for marriage in the U.S., where between 45–50% of couples will divorce, and comparing marriage to a co-founder relationship, it kind of (sadly) makes sense.  If founders take the time to talk through issues rather than allow every discussion to devolve into a battle, there is usually a good chance that an amicable solution can be discovered. There’s no perfect formula for finding the best possible co-founders. However, you can arm yourself with knowledge and take precautions where possible, and boost your odds of success.  Read More >>