Category Archives: Entrepreneurship

4 traits for success

Seems like there are common themes to my conversations of late. I have had no less than five instances where other professionals have failed to do what they said they would. So, I’ve done what anyone else would do. I’ve told others about the situation, and recommended they not do business with those folks.

Now, keep in mind I am not crucifying the offender for a first offense. That would be unfair, as no one is perfect.

But it got me thinking about what it takes to succeed in business. So, I asked some of my peers their thoughts if they have experienced the same issues. And through all the frustration, one phrase kept coming up…

Show up!

Here are four traits that involve showing up.

– Time management

Be on time. In fact, I recommend being early. Better safe than sorry.

– Attention to detail

Don’t miss the little stuff. I once read that David Lee Roth, lead singer for Van Halen, always wrote into his performance contracts that a bowl full of M&Ms, void of red ones, had to be on hand back stage at all times. He figured if they missed this, what else are they missing. While a little extreme, the point carries weight.

– Integrity

Plain and simple, do what you say you will. You can’t earn a reputation on what you are going to do, only what you do.

– Hard worker

Always be willing to do what others are not. Never lose on effort.

Can you put a check mark by each of these? Every day? Then success is bound to come sooner than later.

P.S. What did I miss?

Building relationships, connecting resources, growing businesses


The true moment of independence

First, let me wish each and every one of you a Happy 4th of July. I encourage you to take a moment and send out a prayer to the past, present, and future service men and women that protect our freedom each and every day.

I wanted to take just a moment to talk about the idea of independence.

For me when I think about the United States gaining it’s freedom from Britain, I tend to think about the Revolutionary War and the battles that were fought. My thoughts don’t tend to drift back to the statement of freedom that was made and that started the war via the Declaration of Independence.

True independence was realized at that moment. Not after the war was won.

How can I say that? Because, making the decision to declare the country’s separation from Britain had to have been the hardest part. Once notice was served there was no going back.

So, let’s tie this back to entrepreneurship for a moment.

Your independence as a business owner doesn’t begin with your first self employed check. It doesn’t begin with your first paying customer. It begins with your declaration that you will no longer be an employee.

The struggle I see so many entrepreneurs deal with is having the attitude of “no turning back”. Too many times we (and I am including myself here) start down the path of launching a new venture, only to turn back when things get tough. Couple this attitude with lack of proper planning and execution and you have a recipe for disaster.

What will you do today to proclaim your independence? What steps will you put in place to ensure you are on the right path? A path of no return.

Feed your network and indepedence!

Facebook’s newest feature is a startup killer

This weekend popular startup publication TechCrunch ran an article reviewing Facebook’s newest feature.

“Friendshake” is an application designed to help you discover friends, and friends of your friends, that are nearby. Social discovery, as these type features are called, is not new to the startup world. Social discovery startups took the world by storm at the most recent SxSW convention a few months ago.

What’s most intriguing is going to be how this new feature affects social discovery companies like Highlight and Glancee that got the lion’s share of the attention at SxSW. Slightly less intriguing to me personally, is that one of my own startups has been active in social discovery for almost two years now. So, this is nothing new.

It is however problematic. As a startup you have only three possible scenarios when it comes to competing against larger companies that have deeper pockets.

Option 1 – You have to grow fast enough that is more attractive for the larger company to buy you out, instead of just spending cash to build their own model of what you do.

Option 2 – the larger company buys a similar company in your space.

Option 3 – out execute everyone and become the top company.

As you can see there is only one favorable outcome. In the case of Highlight, Facebook chose door number two and purchased Glancee.

The message is clear. Go big or go home.

Feed your network

Failing forward ( guest post by @cleverkibitzer )

Kathi Browne is a fellow member of Entrepreneurs of Knoxville and a go to professional when it comes to marketing. Particularly social media. She has been a member of for quite some time and a big supporter.

Failing forward

Are you a risk-taker? According to Peter Sims, author of Little Bets, successful people don’t usually start out with a brilliant idea. They discover them by taking risks. Trial and error is a healthy process to weed out that one good idea from the pile of bad ones.

Many great entrepreneurs have failed forward through experimentation: jumping in with both feet to test ideas until something worked! Simms points out that Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin didn’t plan to build the powerful search engine we know today, but rather a solution to prioritize library searches. Eventually, their search algorithm lead to Google AdWords and the rest is history. Google teams continue to seek out failures in an effort to learn from them. They understand that the successes are formed through the process of elimination and discovery. Each failure is a chance to gain insight into what will result in success.

But experimentation only happens if you are willing to take action: If you are willing to take chances, and if you are willing to see each failure as a new discovery. Are you actively seeking opportunities to fail? Or are you playing it too safe? Take a chance. Meet someone new for lunch and ask them what failures they have learned from. It will make for good conversation, and may spark new ideas. That’s what the napkins are for.

You can find out more about Kathi here.