On October 3rd I heard a panel of uber successful entrepreneurs at the Entrepreneurial Bash in New York. Moderator Robert Jordan, who recently wrote How They Did It: Billion Dollar Insights from the Heart of America, asked how these entrepreneurs accomplished their success—they all built companies with values of $200,000,000.
Five panelists, five answers:
Al Berning, Hardcore Computer and Pemstar
It's about the team. He started a business with 5 friends without an idea in mind.
Jim Dolan, The Dolan Company
Ego. You must have a healthy ego to deal with the ups and downs of being an entrepreneur.
Bonnie Baskin, AppTec Laboratory Services
Start with your value proposition. What can you build (profitably) that people want to buy?
Glen Tullman, ECIN and Allscripts
Play the trends. Identify the trends and go after them.
Mark Tebbe, Answers.com and Lante Corporation
Have a passion. Without it you won't be able to bounce back when you fail (which you will do often).
Which one is right? All, of course.
Image credit: David Schnurman, lawline.com
From left to right: Robert Jordan, Al Berning, Jim Dolan, Bonnie Baskin, Glen Tullman, Mark Tebbe
Tullman also said something that I love. After losing a big deal, one of his salespeople said, “It’s not personal.” Tullman thinks the “It's not personal” line is bullshit—losing a deal is very personal. “This is a small business and not getting this deal might mean you or I may not be able to send our kids to private school or buy something nice for our spouse. The next day the salesperson was gone.” Sounds pretty personal to me. He then added how maybe in a big company these things aren’t personal, but in a small business, they are.
Tullman also mentioned that when you’re working in a new company, work/life balance doesn’t exist. What should exist, however, is work/life flexibility, meaning that you and your employees should have the flexibility to leave the office if something important comes up, but likewise, if you’re working on a big project, you should still be able to get it in on time.
Robert Levin is the Editor-in-Chief and Publisher of The New York Enterprise Report. Levin has extensive experience with midsize and small businesses, having previously held CEO, CFO, and COO positions with companies in several industries. He is also a contributor for The Huffington Post. Levin can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org and (212) 307-6760.