One of our favorite special events that we host at Plazabridge Group is something we call PBG DealDesks. These are complementary sessions where we invite nine entrepreneurs to spend an hour with us and a select few other seasoned entrepreneurs who have been there, made the mistakes, and learned the lessons the hard way, to share our insights and input. The feedback we give is tailored to what the presenter’s desired outcomes are from of our session. For example, there may be a deal on the table, the need for funding how to’s, or to get advise on next years growth plans. The goal of all of our 9 sessions in 9 hours is to have each team leave with tools in their toolbox they can use immediately.
Over the past six years we have advised over 400 entrepreneurs in our 1-hour sessions, at multiple stages of development. Some of these individuals are working on startup projects inside larger corporations, some are seasoned professionals starting a business on their own for the first time, some are young graduates fresh out of the universities and yet others are serial entrepreneurs seeking feedback on their newest passion. Through these sessions, we’ve found many common trends in successes and challenges. We’ve compiled our top five nuggets of insight and lessons for every stage of development. These are great considerations as we continue to plow forward in an economy of never-ending shifts and lightning speed advancements of technological changes.
Below are five observations:
1. Entrepreneurship has no minimum or maximum age, and doesn’t discriminate.
- We’ve met entrepreneurs from age 20 to 80.
- Success and failure has no age discrimination.
- We see the same number of males as females.
2. Passion is your best friend, but can become your worst enemy.
- To believe in what you are doing is critical. To persevere is even more critical.
- We’ve seen too many passionate people turn down advice, because their passion has turned to conceit. Without careful monitoring, passion can be the kiss of death, cutting off feedback loops—not just from us, but also from customers, buyers, partners, and employees.
3. Consider your options from all angles.
- What may look like the opportunity of a lifetime, if not fully evaluated, could send your company down a path of destruction.
- Evaluating what is at risk is very important if there is a deal on the table that doubles your size tomorrow.
- Consider how other parties or partners may be affected.
- How you implementing that big deal is just as important as getting it.
4. Entrepreneurship can be intensely lonely.
- Whether one sits alone in a home office or one sits alone in a shared office, or one sits alone inside larger corporation, it is lonely pushing a new boulder down the path.
- Starting your own project is often accompanied by a feeling of “going it alone.”
- Joining sessions like we host or groups where you feel safe with people you trust and trust to give you honest feedback can help assuage the uncertainty and loneliness that comes with a new project.
5. The ‘If only I had funding” disease affects everyone at some point in time. This is not a point to be simplified easily in this post, so keep an eye out for a future post!
- Everyone needs capital at some point in time. Even in a larger corporation, you must prove a new idea/product/service has merit for funding the commercialization of the idea.
- There are more ways to skin the funding elephant in the room than most ever consider. Revenue opportunities, partnerships, and licensing are just a few of them
- Don’t give up if you don’t have funding. Your business may grow more healthily without outside funding.
We are always struck by the incredible talent of the entrepreneurs we meet and the innovations they bring to the table! We are inspired by the passion and the desire to create something great. And we are even more honored that they trust us to share their stories and spend the hour inspiring us to keep going ourselves. It is an exercise in humility. No egos, no posturing, no politics, no kidding… but lots of jokes, fun and brainstorming of ways to move the project to the next level. I can’t think of a better way to spend a day!
Thank you Terry Cox, President & CEO, The Business Innovation & Growth Council (BIG) for hosting our session this week and thanks to Richard Spangler, General Partner, Plazabridge Group, Brett Guenther, Ph.D., patent agent, and Andre Gien, Global Financial Bridge for participating with us for Plazabridge Group DealDesk.
Flip through the 2014 trends ebook, download Turning Trends Into Products: A CEO’s Checklist For Success
Follow Teresa Spangler @composerspang or Plazabridge Group @plazabridge.Teresa often speaks on trends, disruptive technologies and adoption, leadership and growth during rapid economic changes. She is the author of the Game of Life Book Series, a contributing author to OpenForum. Click to learn more about Plazabridge Group.