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Do You Have What it Takes to Launch a Startup?

February 16, 2010

My good friend and social media guru, Mr. Midas, has been helping me with the technical aspects of my blog. Last week he insisted that I open a Twitter account. As one who is still coming to terms with the various components of Facebook and WordPress, I protested that I wasn’t ready for Twitter yet.  Mr. Midas insisted. In fact he literally opened a Twitter account for me at our very next social media ‘counseling’ session.

Now, needless to say, in addition to coming to grips with posting to my own blog and on my Facebook page, I am struggling with Twitter.  But this morning something happened that forces me to admit – Mr. Midas – you were right!


One of my morning tweets was forwarding (in Twitter talk this is called ‘retweeting’) the link to an article in yesterday’s Harvard Business Review that is a perfect one to share with all those interested in low cost startups and what it takes to transition to an entrepreneurial existence. Professor Daniel Isenberg (Professor of Management Practice) of Babson College posted a 10 point questionnaire for all those considering making the leap to owning their own business. It covers a lot of important points to consider if you want to know if you have what it takes to be self-employed. The comments are worth reading too. And Professor Isenberg does a nice job of responding to his comments.

Another recent article with ideas worth sharing is from New York Times Small Business Conversations.  It is an interview with George Cloutier, a consultant whose recent book has a terrific title ~ Profits Aren’t Everything, They Are the Only Thing (Harper Business, 2009).  I was in total agreement with Mr. Cloutier until I got about half way through the article.  Once he starts on the subject of micromanagement, our philosophies totally diverge. But the first part is dead-on for differentiating who makes money as an entrepreneur from who does not.


Quote for Today

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed.

I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. ~ Michael Jordan

Although Mr. Cloutier focuses his services on existing businesses that need help being more profitable, he has several words of wisdom for the budding entrepreneur as well. Here are the two beliefs that resonate the loudest with me.

1) Many people whose businesses have declined are too quick to blame the recession. Often the reason your sales dry up are because you need to do more marketing.

2) The common thread for many companies in trouble is that they fail to focus on the basic financial information, such as a regular Profit and Loss Statement. Also, business owners don’t pay attention to their cash flow.

For hopeful entrepreneurs it is important to understand what lies ahead in the distant future as well as the near term. That’s why Cloutier’s advice is as important as Professor Isenberg’s test in deciding if you have what it takes to survive a startup.

What do you think?

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