Things I Learned Along the Way

  • Business principles are pretty much the same, only the marketplace and products are different.
  • Reputation is everything. It can take years to get and one minute to lose.
  • Know the importance and value of impeccable references.
  • Know the value of maintaining “clean” financials.
  • Regarding venture capital – be very afraid unless you have professionals alongside you.
  • Be prepared to frequently remake product lines.
  • Adhere to the maxim “whatever is best for the customer is also best for the company”.
  • Always be proactive in addressing adverse customer issues.
  • Bank financing is only obtainable if you have good collateral and plenty of it. Also personal guarantees.
  • Always have an “exit” strategy.
  • No matter the problems, there are always options.
  • I did not enjoy banking – from either side of the desk.
  • I loved the freedom and responsibility of running my own business.
  • Always ’fess up when you mess up – then fix it.
  • Three key words: focus, focus, focus.
  • Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone. Know ahead what it takes.
  • Being undercapitalized is usually fatal.
  • If anyone should ask you “so what can I do for you?” Have an answer.
  • Write mission and values statements that are simple, easily repeated, mean something and then live by them.
  • Know the value of running “Open Books”.
  • Get signed agreements on important deals. You will need them when things go wrong.
  • Don’t just hire people who think like you do.
  • Know yourself, your capabilities and limitations.
  • Take a personality test – like Myers Briggs and DISC.
  • Seek a partner or employees to cover areas you are not good at.
  • Understand the difference between marketing and sales.
  • Understand the value and pitfalls of social media.
  • Never burn bridges (other than for dishonesty), for what goes around, comes around.
  • Embrace the latest proven technology.
  • Value recurring over one time revenue.
  • One of your main jobs is to replace yourself.
  • Taking sabbaticals – no one is indispensible.
  • Remember, “Managers do things right, leaders do the right things,” John Maxwell.
  • Keep a balance between work and the rest of your life.

 

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