Building a Better ‘First-Time Entrepreneur’

This week I talked with an entrepreneur (no names; no pack drill!) who isn’t happy with the speed with which their business is progressing (come to think of it I’m not sure I’ve ever met an entrepreneur who was happy with their speed of business progress [superemotions file=”icon_biggrin.gif” title=”Big Grin”]) – and, actually, my conversations were with more than one such entrepreneur.

This got me thinking about weaknesses exhibited in the businesses of first-time entrepreneurs, specifically during the period before they get to revenue.  My conversation with this individual covered most of the topics that I’ve detailed below; they are ones that commonly come up in conversations with first-time entrepreneurs (I’m sure you can come up with others!!).

Business planning, not business plans

I usually cringe when I hear an entrepreneur or small business owner talking about writing (or worse, being told to write) a business plan.  The reason I cringe is that, too often, what people mean by “business plan” is some 30+ page Word document that no-one will ever read and which will end up as a dusty binder on a bookshelf, or some forgotten bytes on a dusty hard drive.

Isolation vs. collaboration

In The New York Times’ Sunday Review section (January 15th) the front page opinion article was “The Rise Of the New Groupthink” by Susan Cain.  It was subtitled “Collaboration is in.  But it may not be conducive to creativity.”

As someone who believes in the power of collaboration – it’s part of the name of my company, Collaborative Xceleration – I had to read the article to see if my view of collaboration and creativity needed to be revised.

Would You Want a ‘Fool’ Investing in Your Business?

Recently, in one of the LinkedIn Groups I belong to – Business Owners & Entrepreneurs – Sandra Brevett-Dib posted a link to an article on Forbes.com: ‘Early-Stage Startups Need Friends, Family, and Fools’ by Martin Zwilling.

I posted a comment that, when I talk about the 3Fs, I use the term Fanatics not Fools, because:

“I don’t like the term ‘fools’ when applied to people who are investing in your business – because to me it implies that your business is a foolish one to invest in.  Fanatics are people who love your idea so passionately that they are willing to overlook some things that a ‘professional investor’ may see as dealbreakers.”

That inspired me to talk in more detail here about Fools vs. Fanatics.