Friday, March 4, 2011

Climbing the [Venture] Ladder

The entrepreneurial world is made up of the 'have's and 'have not's. That is to say, most will agree that the ability to start one's own business is a drive [and mentality] that not all people possess. Even fewer are those who become tremendously successful business-people, carrying their ventures from infancy through maturity; weathering the 'storm' of economic turbulence and unfortunate circumstances, amid a sea of competitors who would just love to capsize their rocking dingy. Truth be told, the vast majority of these entrepreneurs have failed...repeatedly. And while they might not stand atop their podium, or the cover of Time magazine, and boast about the oh-so-tragic missteps - I assure you, wisdom seldom comes cheap in the business world. Truly successful entrepreneurs must have an undying belief in their cause. They must have great mental fortitude, a reasonably calm disposition [when sh*t hits the industrial fan], and thicker skin than a desert lizard (that's Thick). In full disclosure, I do believe I have all these traits...and might go so far as to say that I pride myself on them. After all, this blog is meant to chronicle my experience as an entrepreneur; following my business's progress from 'pitch' to launch - and beyond.

So far, things have been moving slowly. Slow, but steady...and last I checked, the 'tortoise' still swears by that strategy. My company is currently pursuing two means of securing the funding necessary to develop and launch our venture. It has taken us a year of extremely hard work to get here. So many avenues have already proven to be 'jammed', closed or just too unsure. I've introduced myself (and my idea) to so many individuals and firms who could have, would have or (my personal favorite) should have helped us...but didn't. Refusing to interpret their 'pass' as any indication of our potential, we continued along our path to Validation. In late 2010, we found it. Through a strategic partnership with a local state university, my company has received the management consulting, resources and support needed to gain traction and push forward. With our documents in order, a solid plan in place, and a team of venture specialists cheering behind us, we now make an exciting push towards fruition - up the 'venture ladder', carefully side-stepping any chutes on the way to the top. The top, or at least a significant market share.

Monday, February 28, 2011

The Human [Entrepreneur's] Brain

Millions have heard the myth that humans only use approximately ten percent of their brains (or it's considerable resources). Surprisingly, even more believe that the utilization of the remaining ninety percent would allow them extraordinary wisdom, capabilities & power. Well, the myth is wrong...laughably wrong. And the would-be telekinetics and rocket scientists? They're using more of their brains than they would like to admit. Luckily for me, the Cerebrum upstairs is working a lot harder than 16hrs a week (thats 10% folks, so says my TI-83) this line of work, I'll need it.

Being an entrepreneur requires a diverse set of skills. This by no means that a successful diner owner could necessarily step into the shoes of a Fortune 500 executive. But it does mean he can likely operate the register, fix the gas range, negotiate supply contracts, design a menu, and get Table 12 their drinks before his tip suffers. 'Diversity' in this sense means that one must assume a multitude of roles during the course of their 'hustle,' as it were. Adapting. Learning. Strategizing. Improving.

I have learned more about venture development - more about business - in the past year than I had in four years of college. I have held more 'jobs' within my own 2-person company than I have in the past 10 years of employment. I continue to further my knowledge every day. Forecasting. Branding. Marketing. Crafting a presentation & making the 'elevator pitch'. Understanding the intricacies of Valuation and Financing Term Sheets. As the company draws closer to 'event horizon', I push myself to be the executive that my firm demands (often encountering exhaustion in the process). So far however, I have managed to keep my head above water; more importantly, I am becoming a stronger swimmer. Good thing my brain IS 75% water - that should help keep me buoyant, at least.