Startup Professionals Musings

Artificial Intelligence Can Help Or Hurt Any Business

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay Everyone has heard about the big potential for using artificial intelligence (AI) to expand your business, but many of the small businesses I mentor are still wary of embracing it, because they don’t understand how it works, and fear losing control and unintended consequences.

8 All Too Painful Entrepreneur Negotiation Mistakes

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay One of the things I have learned the hard way over my years in business, and in advising others, is that it takes more than passion, creativity, and hard work to start and grow a business.

7 Guidelines For Picking Business Battles You Can Win

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay Many entrepreneurs are not prepared for conflict, or actively avoid it. Their vision, passion, and focus are so strong that they can’t imagine someone disagreeing, much less fighting them to the death.

10 Key Principles To Drive Customer Decisions Today

Startup Professionals Musings

Today’s customers are overloaded and overwhelmed by too much information, so making a decision is a challenge.

9 Strategies For Maximizing Your Social Media Impact

Startup Professionals Musings

If you are an entrepreneur these days, or trying to grow an existing business, everyone is telling you that you need to use social media. There are many ‘experts’ out there telling you how to do it, or even offering their services.

10 Business Plan Tips Too Many Entrepreneurs Forget

Startup Professionals Musings

If you want people to invest in your idea, then my best advice is first write a business plan, and keep it simple. Don't confuse your business plan with a doctoral thesis or the back of a napkin. Keep the wording and formatting straightforward, and keep the plan short.

5 Alternatives To Shutting Down A Struggling Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

If you are just plain tired of working so hard, or your startup is not getting the traction you expected, should you shut down cleanly, or just file for bankruptcy and walk away? For those who think that bankruptcy is the easy way out, think again.

Keep A Real Job Until Your New Venture Shows Traction

Startup Professionals Musings

One of the big decisions every aspiring entrepreneur has to make is when to quit your current job to devote yourself fulltime to your new startup. Some of you are so committed to the new passion that you quit your day job early, and dedicate all your time and resources to the new venture.

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Viral Marketing And Word-of-Mouth Require Investment

Startup Professionals Musings

Every time I challenge a business plan with little or no budget for marketing, I get the answer that they will be using “viral” marketing, which costs nothing.

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5 Keys To Starting A New Venture In Your Local Town

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Wikipedia From the advice I hear these days, if you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to be in Silicon Valley, Boston, New York, or one of the few other financial hubs around the world.

6 Keys To The Best Social Media Platform For Business

Startup Professionals Musings

An all-too-common question I get from startups and small businesses is “Which is the right social media platform for my business?” Is it Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or one of the other 200 active platforms vying for attention these days?

10 Thinking Methods That Foster Business Innovation

Startup Professionals Musings

Innovation is the key to long-term business success, both in startups as well as established organizations. Yet every business and every entrepreneur I know struggles with this challenge, focused on hiring the right people and implementing the right process.

8 Strategies For Winning As A Freelancer Or Employee

Startup Professionals Musings

A big trend in business these days is hiring freelancers or contract personnel for the duration of a project, rather than permanent staff. According to a recent poll , contractors and freelancers could make up half of the American workforce within a decade.

How To Focus On Relationships To Maximize Your Brand

Startup Professionals Musings

Brands are people first. Customers are people too, so customers tend to take their relationship with a brand personally. Thus it’s not a surprise that people love their favorite smartphone brand, cringe when you mention their cable company, or even hate the mention of a particular bank.

7 Action Items Build A Sustainable Innovation Culture

Startup Professionals Musings

Every business founder knows the need for a culture that promotes continuous innovation, an entrepreneurial spirit, and one that creates sustainable value across all functions in the business. Yet most don’t really know how to create that environment, or assess when they have achieved it.

6 Signals That Your Startup Could Be The Next Google

Startup Professionals Musings

Image by Origa via Wikipedia I tell entrepreneurs that Google was an “exception” to all the investment and startup rules, but I’ve always wondered what it takes to be an exception. Since every business is built by unique individuals, I’m totally convinced that exceptional people are the key to an exceptional company.

How To Take Your Business Idea From Dream To Reality

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay In my role as a new business advisor and occasional investor, I hear lots of people talking about their dreams of “someday” starting and running a new venture.

7 Facts Of Business Life People Learn From Experience

Startup Professionals Musings

When I started mentoring entrepreneurs and startups a few years ago, I anticipated that I would get mostly tough technical questions, but instead I more often hear things like “Where do I start?”

Baby Boomers May Be Your Biggest Startup Competitors

Startup Professionals Musings

Contrary to what you might guess, the highest rate of entrepreneurial growth over the last few years is not Gen-Y upstarts, but Boomers over the age of 50, now called encore entrepreneurs.

The Sharing Economy Is Changing The Rules Of Business

Startup Professionals Musings

The pervasive ability and need to communicate constantly and globally through the Internet and smartphones is incenting everyone to get more out of their own assets and time, and capitalize on the idle resources of others.

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5 Keys To Relying On Intuition In Business Decisions

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay With all the progress in analytical tools and big data available, many people feel there is no place in business today for intuition and gut instincts.

5 Investor Types Who Will Test Your Negotiating Style

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Pixabay Every entrepreneur seeking funding loves the challenge of getting customers and investors excited, but dreads the thought of negotiating the terms of a deal with potential investors.

5 Keys To Boosting The Performance Of A Business Team

Startup Professionals Musings

It takes an effective team to attract and serve a community in business these days.

Customer-Centric Strategies Win Over Product-Centric

Startup Professionals Musings

Is your marketing focus product-centric or customer-centric ? If you only sell products, it’s time to realize that times have changed. With a wealth of products now available, customers look for the most memorable experience , not just the best product.

Reasons Not To Make Decisions Today On Gut Instincts

Startup Professionals Musings

I still know some entrepreneurs who boast of simply following their gut instincts, rather than listen to anyone or any data, to make strategic decisions. We’ve all worked with autocratic leaders in large companies who seem to thrive in this mode.

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10 Clues That A New Business May Not Be Your Passion

Startup Professionals Musings

People who get stressed managing their own lives don’t make good entrepreneurs. Small businesses require multi-tasking, work prioritization, and decision-making, with no assistants or help from specialists. That’s why Fortune 500 executives usually don’t survive as startup CEOs.

Keys To A Winning Public Profile, Online and Offline

Startup Professionals Musings

With the reality of LinkedIn, Facebook, and dozens of other websites profiling you, the old-fashioned written resume is an artifact of a hiring practice that is now superfluous.

10 Ways To Improvise, Thrive And Survive In A Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

As an entrepreneur, you have to improvise and adapt quickly to survive and thrive in the face of the unpredictable challenges of the market. But this improvisation a not a comedy, although there are some distinct correlations, in relation to reacting, adapting, and communicating.

5 Keys To Career And Business Success For Introverts

Startup Professionals Musings

In this age where every person feels the need for a relationship with people they do business with, introverts like me might seem to be at a distinct disadvantage. Most of us just don’t have the urge to proactively get out and talk to new people, face-to-face, online, or through an app.

7 Job Qualifications For Intrapreneurs In Any Company

Startup Professionals Musings

Every mature company I know is looking for more innovation from within. They are painfully aware that tenure on the list of S&P companies is shrinking – from thirty-three years back in 1964, down to twenty-four in 2016, and predicted to be just twelve by 2027.

10 Questions To Test Your Aptitude As An Entrepreneur

Startup Professionals Musings

Currently there is no professional certification, or standardized testing, as there is for accountants and lawyers, to see if you are ready to tackle the rigors of starting a new business.

5 Indications That Your Work Culture Needs Attention

Startup Professionals Musings

Whether your company is a startup or a mature business, the last thing you need in the office is a toxic work culture. Yet, according to a recent study , more than half of tech employees see their current office culture as toxic.

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7 Success Principles To Drive Your Next New Venture

Startup Professionals Musings

Many aspiring entrepreneurs are looking to the Internet as an opportunity to get rich quick, instead of a place where you can start a business you love, for very little capital and minimal technical expertise.

Fear Of Failure Makes It A Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

Startup Professionals Musings

People with a victim mentality should never be entrepreneurs. We all know the role of starting and running a business is unpredictable, and has a high risk of failure. For people with a victim mentality, this fear of failure alone will almost certainly make it a self-fulfilling prophecy.

9 Simple Approaches To Creating A Sure-Fire Startup

Startup Professionals Musings

Image via Jisc As an advisor to startups and entrepreneurs, I often hear the myth that all new businesses must start with a great idea. I have to disagree. I believe the best entrepreneurs start by finding a large opportunity, and only then use good ideas to capitalize on that opportunity. The best opportunities are recognized from painful needs, plus a growing population of customers with money to spend.

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4 Keys To Consciously Making Your Team More Creative

Startup Professionals Musings

Most entrepreneurs I know are individually very innovative, but a successful startup can’t be a one-man show (for long). That means they need to build an innovative team, which is not a skill that most people are born with.

7 Strategies To Accelerate Creativity In Your Company

Startup Professionals Musings

Within the startup realm, there is a big difference between having an innovative product versus an innovative business. Some startups have a new technology, but stick to a tried-and-true business model. Others take an existing product, and give it new life with a creative business model.

An Old Style Of Leadership Is Winning In New Ventures

Startup Professionals Musings

Startups provide leadership in the market. Entrepreneurs provide leadership to their startup. There are many styles of leadership, like dictatorial, laissez-faire, and democratic. One that I hear discussed more these days, in this age of relationships, is called “servant” leadership.

5 Strategies For Business Growth Many People Forget

Startup Professionals Musings

In this age of constant market evolution and new technology, there is no such thing as a static business that is self-sustaining. The traditional approach of implementing stable and repeatable processes, so that your business can run itself, no longer works.

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10 Collaboration Myths No Entrepreneur Should Believe

Startup Professionals Musings

If you listen primarily to the popular press, you could easily be convinced that all successful startup businesses are built by one smart person, such as Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook, or Jeff Bezos at Amazon.

5 Phases of Leadership Growth Lead To Company Success

Startup Professionals Musings

Most of you aspiring entrepreneurs have no idea how dramatically your own role has to evolve as you develop a solution, start a business, and expect it to scale into a successful self-managed company.

If Your Passion Is Saving The Environment, Start Here

Startup Professionals Musings

Although I hear more and more about “global warming,” and the many ways we are destroying our environment, I still don’t see many global business winners in this space, comparable to Facebook and Amazon.

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Do’s and Don’ts For Entrepreneur Business Networking

Startup Professionals Musings

I often recommend business networking as the most effective way for a startup founder to find investors, advisors, and even key executive candidates. But what if you are an introvert, or new to this game, and don’t know where or how to start?