Tag Archives: Business

What is the best advice for a young, first-time startup CEO?

Answer by Emil Lamprecht:

Hard knocks: My top 10 lessons for surviving at a startup

Know Thy Self…
seriously, you have to be very honest about what you can and can’t do, and be ready to pick up the slack regardless if someone doesn’t pull through.

Surround yourself with motivating people you can trust…
basically your company/product is your life. You have to hire people you can trust your life to, people that you know can be diverse and get the job done, but they also have to excite you and make you think!

Product and Marketing synergy…
most of my clients have made the mistake of building a product from the ground up, and then trying to figure out how to market it. Don’t do that. Seriously, just don’t. Envision your idea, and design it together with your marketing plan. These two sides must always play off each other, as the product dictates the direction, but the marketing dictates the function/look/feel. Also key to designing and justifying the business model.

Take a step back…
its really easy to get sucked into your idea, your ideal, and forget that you’re probably not always right, and that most people don’t like being micromanaged. Always take the time to step out of the office, clear your head, let people do their thing, and whether its your own or someone else’s try to actively test every theory before taking action

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Starting to Network for Business

Networking is an effective means of business development. But many folks are intimidated by the prospect of walking into a room full of strangers and initiating conversations.

In my early days of networking, I dreaded the thought of going to a networking event.  Often I would go to an event, stand in the corner for an hour or two and then go home defeated.  I was never going to be the kind of person to naturally work a room.

I needed a plan.  I figured out the business organization I wanted to become involved in and joined the Board.  This did two things for me – at the very least when I walked into their networking events I would know my fellow board members – it was no longer a room of strangers.  Secondly, it created visibility and people approached me rather than me having to make the first move.

As a board member, I wanted to make life easier for the non-networkers like myself.  It became policy that board members would seek out the corner dwellers, break the ice and whenever possible introduce the newcomer to other members.

That approached worked for me, it may not be feasible for you.  Another idea is to agree to attend with a friend or colleague.  That way you don’t have to walk in alone.  Ultimately, it is about breaking the

Recently, I was meeting with a client (who I met through networking) and she was expressing frustration that her staff didn’t embrace networking more.  I asked if she had taken the staff to networking events that she attended.  Of course.  I asked if at those events if she was the prime communicator and if the staff person faded into the background.  AH…

While the staff had gone to the events, they weren’t really networking.  They weren’t initiating conversations. They weren’t pitching the company.  They were simply supporting players at best.  I suggested she once again join them in networking events but let the subordinate lead.  Let the staff person “network” and she could be their support.

Networking is daunting for many.  Especially, if you are not the sell ice to an Eskimo type.  But like anything else, it is a skill that can develop with a little practice.  And if you see someone alone in the corner, break the ice – you’ll be doing them a favor.

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Why I joined BNI 3.0

Last summer, real estate agent to the stars Bobbi Levenson asked if I would visit her BNI group. I hesitated.  I had been a member of a variety “networking” groups in the past and while socially enjoyable they tended to be a huge time sink with nominal return.

But I like Bobbi and there was food involved, so I agreed.  Unbeknownst to me, this group had just launched and only had a hand full of members.   And my hesitation seemed justified.  A large part of the group was about recruiting –Will you join?  Who do you know? Who can you refer? Ugh.

So, I had to think why I would join this group.  OK, so I like Bobbi but not enough in itself to justify joining.  (Sorry sweetie, love you!)

My reasons –

  • Something Different – I have been in business 8 years, my clients come from the same places and I only tend to market when I am done with the current projects.  Typical small business dilemma – we are too busy to network until we are not too busy, then we are scrounging around for the next project.  BNI would ensure at the very least there would be an ongoing networking effort.
  • Get Out of the House – Many small business owners work from home and don’t get to interact with any co-workers.  It gets a little stir crazy.  As Coach Sharna Fey  noted – “This allows me to get dressed and talk to adults.”
  • Business Karma – BNI calls it the “Giver’s Gain” concept but I like to think of it as Business Karma.  You are helping a group of like-minded business owners grow their business.
  • Power Groups – As business owners, we naturally have a referral base within our industries.   Our clients come to us for Web Development and eCommerce solutions.  These same clients need copy, PR, photography, graphic design.  I can go to my Power Team and know I am referring my clients to quality service providers.

I joined and it has been a great experience.  I have gotten new business, developed strategic relationships with other service providers and eaten lots of food!

To learn more about BNI 3.0 check out the BNI 3.0 Fan Page on Facebook.  If you like to join us as a guest – feel free to drop me a note mike@understandingecommerce.com

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