Rambling Confessions of a Recovering Entrepreneur
I told my family that I finally accepted that my passion had become an ob- session, and you could even call it an addiction. They all laughed. What had taken me 25 years to accept, they had known for years.My wife detected my addiction as early as our honeymoon in Paris. All I wanted to do was spend time at the Bourse trading francs on the spot market. She kept on nudging me to see some old picture in the Louvre.
For my daughter, it became clear when I demanded that her prom date be an officer in Junior Achievement. I thought it was a good way to ensure that she dated a young man with career aspirations. She saw it differently.
It had been six months since I had read a business plan. And I missed it. I mumbled when the Wall Street Journal driver came down my block? only to skip my house. My wife had a block on our cable television - no more MSNBC, and it was no better on the Internet; I couldn't access Bloomberg.
Last Tuesday, a power stronger then myself won out. I don't know how, but I ended up at the Harvard-Yale-Princeton Club. My eyes focused on the booths along the back wall. I immediately saw the signs. A shot of single-malt Scotch, half finished, was being used as a paperweight on a four-color business plan. The reader, a silver-haired executive with monogrammed reading glasses, was analyzing spreadsheets as he simultaneously served volleys of staccato-like questions at the young man across the table.
This young man was obviously new to the game. His dark blue suit looked like he had not worn it since his bar mitzvah, and the tie must have been knotted eight years ago and never unraveled. He had ordered the latest micro-brew, but had not taken even one sip.
I sat at the next booth and listened in. I smiled as I heard the two argue over burn rates, traction projections, alpha/ beta sites, and most stridently about valuations.
A cell phone rang, and the single-malt Scotch stood and walked a few steps to take the call in private. I jumped up and got into micro-brew's face. I told him he was under-capitalized. He was giving away his intellectual property. His burn rate was twice as fast as this so-called "angel" investor was revealing. Big Pharma would pay a much higher multiple for the company if he would listen to my suggestions.
He looked bewildered. I said it again, "Don't make the deal - you'll lose your company to this chamber of commerce man of the year wanna-be in seven months."
The conversation on the cell phone ended, and Mister Single Malt Scotch asked, "Do we have a deal? " Micro-brew looked at him, then me, and said?. "No way!" He reached for his beer and slid into my booth.
I don't have to tell you what happened next. You all know it too well. We sat for three and a half hours, re-doing spreadsheets on his laptop, and playing out various pro-formas.
I finally stumbled home, embarrassed and yet delirious with joy over the deal I had structured. My wife could see me hiding the business plan under my coat. She demanded to see my cell phone. Quickly she went through the calls I had made in the last four hours. She knew the area codes: New York, Brussels, London, and my newest haunt, New Delhi. I had been lining up angel investors.
What could I say? I had already used up my inventory of "I promise it will never happen again." She had been going to her own meetings and knew that she needed to go on with her life and not let my addiction manipulate her.
Had I called my sponsor? She had not seen his number in my cell phone's call list. " No," I whispered.
She made me return to Entrepreneurs Anonymous (EA). I had stopped going to my meetings. I had beaten it or so I thought. But the truth is, we never do. I was just like everyone else in EA. I matched the profile perfectly. Eighty percent of members have a relapse within their first six months. I was now another data-point confirming that statistic.
Entrepreneurs, Are You Hauling Buckets?
Once upon a time, there was a village on the banks of a fine, clear river. The villagers all drew their water from the river, and used it to cook, and bathe and water their gardens. Life was good.
Designing a Comprehensive Franchise Company Computer System
One of the most important management tools a franchised company needs is a great computer system. The system must integrate with all the franchised outlets and also be able to interface with the Corporate HQ computer system. There are many companies which have already set up specialty IT systems for franchisors, but much of an off the shelf system will need modification. Be sure when talking with software vendors that you make sure that you get what you want and do not simply fall for the sales approach of them telling you what you need? After all, how on earth would they know that? Designing and/or securing a computer system will require some pre planning thought on your part.
An Entrepreneur and a Life To Be Remembered
I was reminded of my own mortality today. I guess you can say I had a near death experience, though the death I experienced was not my own.
Franchisor Sample Grand Opening Launch for New Franchised Outlets
It is paramount that all franchising companies work hard in the critical launching of all franchises in their new territories. In this present period most franchisees come into the franchise systems with much personal debt and barely squeak by on their initial capital needed. One major error or mistake and the franchisee will fail due to under capitalization. Below it a sample outline and message to new franchisees; I recommend that you take a look at this and develop a policy and plan to help your new franchisees in the beginning gain ground on their new markets. You should copy this article and make notes on it and then take the outline below modify it to fit your business model and write several paragraphs for each number and lettered item to cement your new franchised outlet marketing plan. While reading this policy and outline below realize that it was written for a mobile car wash business and your plan will be significantly different but this will help you in making a first class strategy to win market share for your newest team members.
Starting Your Business: It All Boils Down To Making Money and Saving Money
Bootstrapping in the context of business start-ups refers to the use of creative financing approaches such as leveraging personal savings, credit-card debt, loans from friends and family, bartering, and other means to launch a business. Some business founders use bootstrapping because they have no other choice. Just about anyone who has approached a bank has learned that "only established businesses need apply." Bankers typically look for cash flow, assets, an established customer base, and a successful track record on the part of the business that is seeking a start-up loan. Obviously, this is a short list that is impossible to fulfill when you are just getting started.
Adding a Service After You Buy a Business
When you buy a business, you should have a plan. Why have you chosen that particular business? Why that particular time to buy a business? What can you bring to the business? Some of the most successful business stories are of people who buy a business with the intention of bringing their specialized set of skills to it, and using them to grow the business.
Go Slow to Go Fast - Why Over 80% Of High Tech Startups Fail And What To Do About It
With billions of dollars of venture capital residing down the street on Sand Hill Road, two Stanford professors are attempting to answer a fundamental question "why does it always take longer and cost more to build a hi-tech company than anyone ever expects?" For all the intellect, experience and graduate degrees in the venture capital industry, the sad truth is that 80% of venture capital investments do not pan out. While the reasons for this high attrition rate are too numerous to list here, a simple fact defines every successful investment - the company figures out how to bring in more money than it spends. The secret to solving this fundamental equation these two professors believe lies in the Sales Learning Curve.
Double Down on Marketing
If you want to compete in the world of high growth startups, you better know how to play the marketing game. Marketing has become a big stakes game where companies are betting fortunes on the success of their products. Nowadays if you can't play the big marketing game you may not even get the attention of the customers you need to grow your business.
Franchise Business and Franchise Businesses
Franchise business is being part of a successfully proven business that has a name or trademark that is well known and profitable. Franchise businesses are strategically tried and marketable with options to expand by offering products and services that appeal to the consumer. Having to make the decision on which franchise business to buy can be challenging. Franchise business consultants can offer assistance to evaluate current franchise opportunities with valued insight. A franchise business consultant may also be able to offer assistance to the business owner who wants to make a current business franchisable.
3 Essential Elements of Operating a Successful Business
Have you ever imagined what it would be like to live your dream? A good place to start would be to recognize that there are three elements, and only three elements, that separate success from failure. If you exercise one of the elements, you might just be successful. Two and you will probably succeed. Three, and you can practically guarantee your success.
Something From Nothing, With Something To Share
Betrayal, it can hit you like a load of bricks falling from the sky, leaving you with a pit in your stomach that no pill can cure.
Does It Really Take Money To Make Money (Online or Offline)? A Reality-Check of 2 Case Studies
The short and simple answer to this question is NO!
How Home-Based Business Entrepreneurs Think
Too many people are trying to start their home businesses with an ordinary employee's way of thinking. This has become a common reason why not long after sitting down and giving it a fair look into even the most lucrative business opportunity they bump into, they put it away and decide not to take any chances.
Secrets of My Favorite Government Auction
I love bargains. And there's no better place to find bargains than an auction. And there are no better auctions than government surplus auctions. My favorite government surplus auction takes place the 3rd week of September every year in the County Park. I won't tell you which county park as this is my best-kept secret! Even though the auction is advertised in the local papers (as required my law), I usually find the same 20-30 people mulling around, looking at all the lots. And many of them I know are not high-bidders!
The New Paradigm for Entrepreneurial Success
Entrepreneurship is a great magnet to deliver new ideas, unique approaches and innovative technologies. When conducted in a proper way, turning people into entrepreneurs improves a country's economic situation and aids sustainable progress. However, transition to become an entrepreneur is not that aspiring to all. Risks and uncertainties involved in starting a new business coupled with stagnant economy discourage people to step up the plate and take a swing.
Are You an Entrepreneur That is Starved for Time?
Being an entrepreneur and running a successful home-based business is stressful at times, and can be hectic. Success within a home-based business though, absolutely demands time management skills, or the chores that need to get done will be left undone, and procrastination, as well as a serious "personal time deficiency" will occur.
The Business Leader as Ultramarathoner
Have you ever heard of an ultramarathon? A standard marathon isjust over 26 miles. An ultramarathon is usually on the order of50 or 100 miles, though there are some that span one thousand! Imagine the endurance required to run such a race.
Mobile Car Washing Long Term Opportunities in the Market
The long-term outlook for the Mobile Car Washing industry is positive. It is ripe for savvy company to develop regionally or nationally to dominate the market. Currently in the mobile car wash industry there is no well-known companies as is the case with other service businesses such as Domino's Pizza, Midas Muffler, Thrifty Rent-A-Car, and Jiffy Lube. These companies will be able to develop revenues and market share sufficient to sustain franchisees as local leaders in their fields. The Mobile Car Washing Industry awaits a company, which can standardize the industry and allow for consumers to know what to expect.
Documenting Partnerships in Your Business Plan
Forging partnerships to improve market penetration has become commonplace, particularly for "new economy" businesses. And, most companies proudly mention their many partnerships in their business plans.
Health Insurance for Solo Entrepreneurs
One of the most important benefits employed people enjoy is health insurance coverage. It is also the single most costly expense for self-employed entrepreneurs. So what can you do to reduce ever increasing costs of health care coverage? Here are a few tips.
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