Essential Characteristics of Great Entrepreneurs

Kathy and I were in NYC for a wedding last weekend. We met two different young men from two very different backgrounds over two different meals. Both of them had a clear and compelling vision. Researching Opportunity Changes Lives Karim Abouelnaga founded a nonprofit at the age of eighteen. He was born in poverty in […]

Why a Willingness to Shrink is Critical for Growth

“You look terrible!” I said. “Worry is painted all over your face.” “I just sent out an SOS to donors for our ministry,” he explained. I met Tim nine years ago at a startup seminar for ministries. The attendees were called by God to start a ministry, and they came to learn how to do […]

What Big Companies Expect When They Invest in Your Startup

This is the second in a three-part series on strategic investors and startups. “When we cut this deal, we will have money, distribution and credibility. It is going to be fantastic!” exclaimed the entrepreneur. “Hold on a minute,” I said. “Big companies move slowly. Just because they have everything you need doesn’t mean it will be […]

Necessary Tension Every Successful Entrepreneur Must Balance

“You’re not making money,” I said. “But I am trying to make an impact,” replied Mike, an entrepreneur friend. I met Mike six years ago. His idea was a B2C services business which I believed had too many moving parts. In other words, too many things had to go right to make money. From Meager to […]

How Perfect Start-Up Pitches Are Born

The Story of Brock Control Systems

“They are stuffing my gold into their desk drawers!” said Richard Brock. “What are you talking about?” I asked. “Our direct mail campaigns are generating an incredible number of qualified leads. We sort them by sales territory and then give them to the reps.” Peril of Low-Hanging Fruit Brock said, “Yes, they are working on the […]

Radical Approach to Acquiring Real Business Smarts

David, my son, invited Kathy and me on a double date one Monday night to hear Joe Gransden and his 16 Piece Big Band at Atlanta’s Cafe 290. They were amazing. The band included a couple of Grammy award winners and some of the best musicians in Atlanta. The bass trombonist, Lee Watts, was David’s […]

My First Interview in the Software Business

“You show me you can sell, and I’ll hire you.” I was 22 years old and working as an accountant in a South Florida CPA firm. This was my shot to be a part of the newly forming software industry. I became acquainted with the founder of Management Control Systems, Richard Brock, through IBM in […]

From the Arduous Journey Flows a Full Life

I looked around the room at the people I was working with and said, “I can’t be them.” I had just graduated from the University of Miami with a BBA in Accounting and landed my first professional job. And then it happened. I realized I enjoyed studying accounting but not doing accounting. My first job at the CPA […]

How I Stole My Client’s Girlfriend and Learned Selling…All in 48 Hours

“I would love to go on a blind date,” I said to my client in November of 1976. I was partners in a software company, Management Control Systems (MCS). We wrote and sold software to CPAs. I was in Denver installing at our client, Leslie Whitemore & Co., working with Jared Whitemore, a partner’s son. These […]

What a Weary Entrepreneur Taught Me About Angel Investing

I was speechless. The entrepreneur, Randy, had just said, “I don’t want to do this anymore.” It was 1995, and I had backed Randy in starting a professional services company. “I don’t like worrying about payroll and cash flow all the time. It just isn’t fun.” When I invest in a raw startup, the entrepreneur […]