3 Prerequisites to Becoming a Successful Entrepreneur

“I have to ask you a serious question,” Bob said. “Go ahead,” I replied, having no idea what he was about to ask. “How do these entrepreneurs pay their living expenses?” Bob is a professional services vendor who is new to the entrepreneur community. He sees a lot of money and attention being focused on […]

Why Early Stage Involvement Is Critical for Success

What I Have Learned in 24 Years of Angel Investing

“What do you see as the responsibilities of a Chief Operating Officer?” he asked. “A COO’s mission is to execute on the company’s strategy,” I replied. This was a high-level question. I gave a high-level answer. We then slowly moved our discussion to some useful advice. The kind he could act on when he got […]

What’s the Secret to Successful Product Naming?

How Personification Led to a Market Winner

That’s a catchy product name, I thought. I was running a software house which was building and selling software to CPAs. Sales growth was slowing so we decided it was time to move to other vertical markets. After all, the thinking went, we are selling accounting software. We Had Lots to Learn Accounting is accounting […]

Founding Entrepreneur’s Key to Priority Setting

“There is just too much to do,” said Mike, Jim, Tyce, Greg, Robert, Kristin, and all the other entrepreneurs I am involved with. I hear this all the time. They will come to me with a problem. It all starts with fundraising. After fundraising, it is all about growth. This quickly gets to strategy and […]

The Single Most Important Factor in Choosing Investors

I was talking to Michael (not his real name), an entrepreneur who is interested in raising money. He is likable and capable, and people with money are recognizing him for it. He has recently been letting people know he is interested in expanding his business and will need to raise money. He is surprised by […]

One Thing That Could Radically Impact Your Business Success

“Whose office is that?” I asked the secretary. “That is Don Thompson’s office,” she answered. “Who is Don Thompson?” I asked. Sterling Software, led by Sterling Williams, had just completed the unfriendly takeover of Informatics General Corporation. Sterling was a $20mm public company, and they completed a leveraged buy-out of a $140mm public software company. […]

How to Make Time Stand Still

When Passion Is Magnetic

“Come into my store. I have a free gift for you,” said 85-year-old Jerry Glenn of Reminisce at the Promenade in Hilton Head, GA. He was shorter than I was, broadly built and slightly bent over. He had a kind face and a friendliness in his voice impossible to resist. “A free gift? There is no such thing as […]

Why Market Traction Takes Longer Than You Think

“Did you know that Sue ordered JuicePlus from Julia? Out of nowhere, she called and ordered it,” said my wife Kathy about our oldest daughter’s JuicePlus business. “Really?” I said with surprise. “How long has Julia been selling JuicePlus?” The Three Year Rule “Well, Charles (our grandson) just turned three. So I guess it has been […]

What Problem Do You Solve?

“I help increase sales productivity,” he said. I met with a friend recently who is doing sales consulting. Sales consulting is a big market. There are lots of areas to focus on, so I asked, “What do you mean when you say you increase sales productivity?” “Did you know that 97% of sales people have […]

How Do You Fire Innocent Employees?

And Get Those Left to Trust You

This is the second in a three part series on trust. “You have to do a layoff,” said Jim Porter. We were a fast growing company and an icon of success. In fact our byline was “We are success.” Cracking the market was exciting. We experienced amazing growth through market acceptance. When a market is buying, there […]