Archive for March, 2013

PASSION LEADS TO COURAGE

Posted: March 31, 2013 by Tom Heuer in Leadership, People

heuerWhat are you truly passionate about in your work? What do you really believe in? Is there anything that you will risk it all for? Or is financial security your “true North?”

There is a real paradox blooming in corporate America today. And it is causing personal conflict and anxiety at many levels in organizations. The paradox is associated with an employee’s beliefs and their unwillingness to step up and hold fast to their vision and values in the face of adversity. It is easier or more convenient to back off and go along with the pack. Our stamina for what we believe in fritters away under our absence of courage.

What is startling to me is that even people in firm’s with “leadership reputations” have acquiesced. I asked the question recently to a group of leaders from a principled, growth-oriented company with an outstanding reputation of being a “great place to work.” We wanted to know “why it is difficult to have courage in the workplace.” The response heard most often was that “I am not ready to leave the company or to be put on the back burner. I just can’t trust my boss to respond in the right way.” Such statements tell us fear and lack of passion is a prominent part of the business environment.

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Telling Your Story Is Paramount

Posted: March 24, 2013 by Bill Cunningham in Leadership, Marketing, Startup

Bill Cunningham BioStarting a business requires many talents – marketing, sales, finance, fund-raising, project management among others. Communicating well is the critical thread running through all of these talents. Your ability to tell your story as founder, designer, programmer or sales warrior will make or break your venture. After all, if the world doesn’t know what you can do for them, then how will they be motivated to trade their hard-earned money for your product or service.

Make these ideas of your bucket list for becoming a great startup.

Guy Kawasaki’s 10/20/30 Rule

Whether pitching an investor or giving a presentation at a conference, use Guy’s 10/20/30 rule as a guide.  ten slides, twenty minutes and thirty point type. If you can’t tell your story in ten slides, then your story is too complicated and your audience (VC’s or customers) won’t remember much of it. Timewise, don’t plan for more than twenty minutes max for presenting. In investor meetings, expect interruptions and questions throughout your talk (a good sign) – so planning for any longer means you won’t get to finish your story in an hour. Guy suggests using thirty point type as a minimum because a) people with money tend to be older and don’t want to squint to read your presentation, and b) using at least 30 point type limits the amount of information on your slide. After all, you want people to listen to your story, not read your slide.

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CarolynPioneMicheliPeople have asked me recent what is behind all the new entrepreneurial energy in Southwest Ohio.

Maybe you have noticed how startup companies are regularly featured in the media and how seminars and workshops are proliferating on topics such as how to launch a technology company, how to fund a technology company, how to work with a technology company.

Local universities are expanding entrepreneurship and startup accelerator programs, and new organizations such as Cintrifuse, the Brandery and Innov8 for Health have risen up to complement existing groups.

In just two years, the numbers have jumped dramatically: In 2009, 14 Cincinnati-based startups received $27 million in venture capital. In 2011, 36 companies received $70.2 million, according to Ohio State’s Fisher College, which is still gathering 2012 data.

A reporter from Louisville asked me last fall whether this activity was driven by the revitalization of downtown and Over-the-Rhine, drawing new people into the region. Others have credited a down economy with seeding ‘disillusionment’ toward corporate America.

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Dealing with Uncertainty

Posted: March 10, 2013 by Chuck Matthews in Leadership, Planning, Startup
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UC Chuck Matthews“Il n’est pas certain que tout soit incertain.” Blaise Pascal, French Mathematician

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and more who lived in Paris in the 17th century. I first learned about him while reading a book on French history for an undergraduate class I was taking at the time. I was fascinated by his quote, “It is not certain that everything is uncertain.”  I am not sure why it resonated with me, but over a decade later, as I was researching and writing my doctoral dissertation, I was intrigued by the concepts of certainty and uncertainty and it would become the basis for my including the construct of uncertainty in my entrepreneurship research that I continue to this day.

Previously, I introduced four core entrepreneurship process areas – focus, environment, the entrepreneur, and the process. There are three elements on which entrepreneurs must focus: product/services, customers, and the competition. While it is essential to have a clear focus, a changing business, economic, legal, political, social, and technological landscape suggests that we need to continually assess the environment in which we conduct business. As entrepreneurs, how do we deal with uncertainty, ambiguity, and outside forces that might impinge on and/or distract how we do business?

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Mi Amor

Posted: March 3, 2013 by Ray Attiyah in Innovation, Leadership, People, Startup

ray attiyah“Success is getting what you want. Happiness is wanting what you get.”

— Dale Carnegie

Shortly after my wife and I began dating, she took a trip to Costa Rica. After a few days of missing her, I decided to call her, and practice my Spanish. Someone answered, “Hola!”  I responded (in my best Spanish,“Mi nombre Ramon.” The confused party responded “Que?” The silence seemed like it lasted for eons. Finally, my wife-to-be answered cracking up. The person who answered the phone told her I asked for “mi amor,” my love.

The word “amor” derives from the Latin root for the word “amateur.” Amateurs, of course, are typically contrasted with professionals, especially in terms where professionals do their work for a business while amateurs do it simply for the love, the amor.

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