Our First-Time Visitors

A Serial Entrepreneur Becomes A Millionaire From An Accidental Startup

Monis Rahman, serial entrepreneur, accidentally launched Rozee.pk when he needed to find more programmers for his startup.

Getting A Mentor

I had a strategy session with a business start-up owner a few months ago. She was six months into her start-up and needed some ideas during her development stage.

Simple Steps To Creating Your First Website

When you make that decision to start a business, you immediately become a multi-tasking maniac. Let's face it, you will have a lot of work on your hands.

Why 'Core Competency' Is Important To A Startup

Well, I like the answer that Norm Brodsky gives in his book, The Knack: "It was the one thing we had that our competitors couldn't offer, and by the time they caught up, we had a foothold in the market and were known for providing that service."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Can You Call Yourself An Entrepreneur When You Start-Just-To-Sell?

"True entrepreneurs want to build and execute on that vision," says the owner of FourSquare, who is said to have turned down a buy-offer from Yahoo this year. Facebook's refusal to sell their company has also been a hot topic of many business discussions.

Are entrepreneurs who start a business just to sell it, "true entrepreneurs?" When big companies get bigger by buying smaller, competitive companies, does small businesses run the risk of allowing big businesses to become monopolies?

Groupon turned down a $6 billion deal from Google and everyone is screaming about it. Venture capitalists are furious that the "young snobs" can walk away from such a deal. After all, their business model "can be so easily replicated." When I hear this argument, I think of OpenTable, a service that I use and have downloaded to my Ipad. It's a great service that has a model akin to that of Groupon's, with a focus on restaurants. Then I also think about the client who called me the other day, very excited about her call with Groupon. She had tried to cancel her service with Groupon. The excellent consultative service she described from Groupon, reminded me of what sales professionals have taught small businesses for years. Let's just say she is still on Groupon and has been offered a solution to her problem. It makes me wonder whether Groupon's competition can replicate that kind of unbelievable service.

Who Wins in the deal? During the PayPal sale to Ebay, Associated Press captured Ebay's officials bragging that  they now had a chunk of e-commerce action they were missing out on. The founder of Victoria's Secret alledgedly committed suicide by jumping off a bridge because he sold his business for a nominal amount and saw its worth not too long after.

In his post, Positioning Your Business For A Sale, the author of Built To Sell cautions against entrepreneurs even writing a book, since it does more harm then good. Small business owners are tied to their business when they become authors. Instead of just selling the business and walking away, they become part of the business sale. They become commodity slaves to a buyer. They start their businesses to be free with their ideas and creativity and then all of a sudden, boom! Someone else becomes their boss and they find out that they've created the corporate America scene right within their small business.

So why give away your freedom (in some cases), your energy and hardwork? Well, for some folks it helps them move on. Instead of getting rid of a business, you can pass it along to someone else. Noobpreneur argues that the Number One Reason For Selling Your Business should be  because you're ready.

The question remains, are you really an entrepreneur when you create a business simply to sell it? Could you be messing with the entrepreneurship "equilibrium" by doing that? I had this discussion with some Ashland University business students last month and my take was this: somebody's got to do it. There are idea generators and idea executioners. Perhaps someone needs to let the "big boys" know that it can be done, and how it could be done easier and cheaper. Ideas could sit on the shelf for ages, and solutions could be offered in an unfair way to consumers, if it wasn't for the build-it-to-sell entrepreneurs who create a level playing platform, and a better way for providing solutions.

For big company buyouts, the true winners may still end up being the big companies with their "big" lawyers and tightly-fitted contracts. They buy the brains of true entrepreneurs and hold their creativity captive with their legal lingo and protective clauses. The small business owner may move on with both the money but a what if thought will linger with them for years to come.

Cheryl Isaac is a business planner who helps make business planning simple for new businesses and small businesses starting something new in business. She is an entrepreneur and the author of the book, A Different Business and the creator of the startup business planning bootcamp, The 48Hour Business Plan Challenge. She is also a blogger for Entrepreneur.com: the Plan With Pizzazz blog.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Getting Naked In 2011

I'm a regular blogger for Entrepreneur's WomenEntrepreneur.com. Recently, I blogged on this topic: To Make Or Not Make It Personal?  I think this was my first step in treading the shallow waters of my personal branding venture focus in 2011. That's right folks, I'm ready to go naked in 2011! OK not literally so get your minds out of the gutter. 

When you read that post, you will learn about my journey from the after-maths of war in West Africa, and my willingness to finally talk about it. Before you judge me, I've never talked about it before not because I was being inauthentic--at least not on purpose. Traumatic experiences are usually not easy to talk about. Plus I'm not talking about it to get sympathy from you either. One thing I hate more than anything else is pity! Honestly I'm not sure why I'm starting the dialogue. All I know is I feel a burning need inside to just let you have all of me and I'm willing to have the people who won't accept me, walk away. I just know and feel like it's time to tell my story. I go to sleep thinking about it, I wake up in the middle of the night itching to talk to someone about it, and I daydream about it during the day. It's time!

You see, I blog sometimes about defying odds and about startup issues. Most times people see only see what looks like a young entrepreneur writing passionately about startups, service and purpose-driven businesses. Or another consultant who talks about business planning or starting a business. Truth is, I'm a simple girl who has defied so many odds in life, that I itch to help others do the same.

Most people don't know why I really talk about small business startups. Why I'm such a big advocate for aspiring entrepreneurs entering the small business community. I first started talking about it via my website for daredevils: A Different Business and my book for new and developing entrepreneurs: A Different Business; 7 Easy Steps To Starting & Planning A Business Around Your Purpose. I help "non-glamorous" startups because in order to keep entrepreneurship going, we have to keep new ones coming in. And in places where governments, organizations, or individuals can't adequately help (like a war-torn country for example) "non-glamorous" small businesses are the ones prepared to go in quickly, with less bureaucracy, roll up their sleeves, and provide solutions that create long-term social change.

So in 2011, I plan to continue the talk in a more authentic way. I will have a personal and business website in one--I'll blog about my personal journey to writing my memoir, I'll give the business tips that I usually give on this blog and others, I'll tell you about what goes on in my entrepreneurial life, I'll include you on trips I take, I'll have videos for you...I'll blog about the good and bad...basically, I want you to really meet me and I want to really meet you. I'm taking a big step and a huge risk (you'll find out later why this is a risk) and I would be honored if you would join me on this journey.

People who know me know that I am all about relationships. I can go up to just about anybody and start a conversation. And I continue to build upon my relationships--with no strings attached. So I figured, why not do the same online? I've blogged consistently for three years now and I believe it's time to take things to the next level.

I'm not sure what would become of StartupBizTalk. I may: 1) Try to have the link redirected, 2) Or it may take the form of an online magazine. Either way, you will still have access to the same kind of information you get from me here, on the new website. I will keep you updated as we make the changes.

Thanks for continuing to follow this blog!

Cheryl Isaac is a business planner who helps make business planning simple for new businesses and small businesses starting something new in business. She is an entrepreneur and the author of the book, A Different Business and the creator of the startup business planning bootcamp, The 48Hour Business Plan Challenge. She is also a blogger for Entrepreneur.com: the Plan With Pizzazz blog.

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