Good Attitude Costs nothing yet…it can lead to Entrepreneurial Success

ATTITUDE The difference between success and failure in most human endeavors can be mental, the attitude of the individual. Of course, knowledge, skill, and talent (and to some extent) resources are important success components.A shortfall or lack of some of these components can be overcome by one’s attitude or mental makeup, which is totally controlled […] Read more »

What’s to Lose ….. JUST ASK

I truly believe that people must periodically step outside of their comfort zone to grow as a company and a person. In fact, once you start to do it, you will discover that your comfort zone expands. Doing this will empower you to request bold things that may elicit comments from your peers and associates like “outrageous, overreach, impossible.” You can overcome these naysayers and your own inclination of fearing failure by your preparation for this bold request, which I like to call Just Ask. Read more »

SHARK TANK-Helpful or Harmful for Start-Ups?

The hit TV show "Shark Tank" helps start-ups get started. Would-be business owners come on the series to solicit money and help from a panel of five heavy-hitting entrepreneurs. After giving a pitch and going through a grilling, the contestants find out if they'll get funded or not and how much equity they will have to give up. On the air for five years and counting, "Shark Tank" is an entertaining and successful show. However, as a founder of 16 start-ups, my criteria for evaluating potential businesses differs from most of the panelists—I often find myself arguing with the screen. Read more »

Testing…. Crucial for Small and Large Companies

Last year I wrote a blog on Testing. . .Reduces Risk and Maximizes Success. It was geared to small Business. I said, “Large companies can absorb a failed product. Small company failures can be fatal. Now I would like to focus on two very large entities who neglected to test their ideas and paid a […] Read more »

No Trivial Matter

The below article was posted by the HBS Alumni Publication about the case study on Bob Reiss’ former company, R&R. No Trivial Matter By Garry Emmons It was 1983, and Bob Reiss (MBA 1956) was looking for a new game to play. A Brooklyn native and former basketball star at Columbia University who had become a successful entrepreneur […] Read more »

An Open Letter to Management of Major US Companies

Dear Managers: The NY Times on May 26th, 2013, in their lead editorial titled “A Is for Avoidance” with a sub-headline of “Apple Is the Latest Example of how American Multinationals Avoid Taxes” continued the demonizing of American business. They specifically mention Apple, Microsoft, Google, Amazon, Starbucks, Hewlett Packard, and General Electric for using aggressive […] Read more »

Partner with Established Brands to Build Your Own

You are known for the company you keep (as well as the company you are). There are several ways to bask in reflected glory. For example, you can run an ad for your product featuring your most prestigious customers. There’s some chance that those customers will kick in some money to support your ad, but […] Read more »

Closeouts. . .A Fact of Life

Even if your product has a long and happy run in the marketplace, it’s likely to reach the end of its run eventually, and leave you with a significant inventory on hand. Welcome to your first closeout! Think of this as an entrepreneurial rite of passage: If you’re in the game long enough, you’re almost […] Read more »

Interpreting the Numbers for Better Decision Making

Entrepreneurs do not love risk and express this dislike by devoting energy and brain power in determining risk and then deciding whether to proceed or not. Before they would abort, the smart Entrepreneurs would first look to minimize or eliminate the risk by Partnering, Sharing, Mitigating, Testing, etc. Analyzing the numbers can be a vital […] Read more »

Profits

Your ultimate goal is to make your product yield a profit. Obvious, right? So much so that it’s not worth mentioning? Well, yes and no. I’m always surprised to discover how many entrepreneurs take their eyes off this ball, elementary as it is. So I’ll go ahead and restate the obvious: The sustainability of your […] Read more »

Managing Your Inventory

 “too much carryover inventory can wipe away all your hard-earned profits and wreck your cash flow” For those who sell products, one of the key challenges in responding to a flow of reorders is keeping a large enough inventory on hand—but not too large. The constant dilemma you face is that you know your customer […] Read more »

Product Knockoffs— One Idea to Combat

If your product is very successful and if you have no legal way of protecting it—which is true, in most cases—then why not knock yourself off before someone else does?  Put yourself in the knockoff artist’s shoes. How would he or she copy your product? In most cases, they will look to make it less […] Read more »

Packaging A Major Factor in the Sale

Many times, the packaging of the product is as important as the product itself. Of course, if you’re making a product like industrial machinery, this may not be true. But in the case of consumer products, packaging can be an overwhelmingly important element. Perhaps the most extreme case involves products bought by collectors, such as […] Read more »

Hiring the Right People

Okay, let’s assume that you’ve got your idea, your business structure, and your money in hand. The next thing you’ve got to get your hands on is good people. In many ways, this is the scarcest commodity of all. Before you hire, you have to figure out:             •           what skills ­you’re looking for, and […] Read more »

Publicity: A Wild Card for Small Business

Publicity is the great wild card for small businesses. Certainly, advertising can be effective. However, a story in the media about you, your product, or your company generally carries far more weight and legitimacy than any paid for ads. Such a story is likely to reach both consumers and any intermediate customers, such as retailers. […] Read more »

TESTING Reduces Risk and Maximizes Success

Oftentimes entrepreneurs–blinded by their belief in their new product idea which is reinforced by their loved ones–lunge full force forward in the production and marketing of their can’t miss product. They will invest in some or all of an optimistic quantity, expensive brochures, displays, molds, public relations campaign, advertising, and more. All this, based on […] Read more »

How Small Companies Can Sell Large Customers

Competition for customers in most industries is extremely intense. This is exacerbated if the customer is a large one and your product is not particularly unique or patent protected. Your customers are also in a high pitched battle with their competitors. This can be seen in your everyday life. Look at the competition in cars, […] Read more »

Universities – How They Can Help Your Small Business

Professors at schools prefer to assign real life problems to their students. At most graduate business schools, they assign students singly or in teams to analyze a real company in their city. The other subject areas like engineering, graphic design, advertising, etc., are also looking for real life assignments for their students. If you have a product that needs to be engineered, you can approach the professor teaching that subject to ask if students can be assigned to your project. Read more »

Why Small Business Can Succeed in a Tough Economy

In many of my blogs and articles, I’ve emphasized that the key to starting and maintaining a successful small business is to find, sell, and satisfy customers. If you can do this, I believe there are lots of opportunities for new start-ups and growth, despite the condition of the economy. I read a story this week in the New York Times that illustrates this concept clearly. I have reproduced it in its entirety. Read more »