Dream It! Plan It! Do It!

Follow Your Dream!

A new day has come for entrepreneurs. The torrid and unsustainable pace of investment into start-ups that took place in the late 1990s is history. The rules have changed, and those navigating the waters of starting and managing a new business venture will find a fresh set of value drivers. Gone are the days of plenty of hype and little substance. Businesses today must put forth sustainable value propositions and establish a roadmap for achieving sound objectives.

Today we are welcoming a “back-to-basics” mentality from entrepreneurs and investors alike. This shift is a much-needed response to the economic conditions we are currently experiencing. There is no bear market on good ideas and no bear market for innovations and creative entrepreneurs. So regardless of where we are in the inevitable business cycle, this much is true: To effectively build an organization, you need a clear vision as to where you want to go and a solid business plan that gets you there.

Operating in an economy that is emerging from a recession requires entrepreneurs to enter the market with their eyes wide open. The landscape isn’t pretty; but there are plenty of opportunities for those with rational expectations. For instance, the time horizon for a company to “exit,” either through an initial public offering or acquisition, has returned to a minimum period of five to seven years from inception. For many, this journey to a successful harvest will be much longer; therefore commitment and persistence is the name of the game. Entrepreneurs who are focused solely on the potential windfall at the end of the day will not only be disappointed when it doesn’t arrive on time, but they are also more likely to make operating mistakes at a critical time in their venture’s evolution.

The ability to manage effectively in uncertain times and when problems arise will help entrepreneurs and business executives keep their strategic heading. Such maneuvering requires flexibility and an aptitude for seeing beyond the crisis du jour to the ultimate objective, building a company with sustainable value. These challenges aside, we must not forget that some of the most successful start-ups began during a recession. Those companies that can survive this environment, make difficult but deliberate decisions, and remain focused will emerge stronger than most.

Whether or not you are searching for outside investors, understanding what successful venture capitalists look for in a start-up company will help set you on the right path. The first, and perhaps most obvious, criterion is strong management. Having a great idea is not enough: Your team needs to be in a position to execute differently. Each executive should bring a level of expertise to the table. That goes for the Board of Directors as well. Corporate directors are now presumed accountable for certain company operations including audit and compensation. They can also be indispensable in other areas, such as the sales process.

Today, sound management is when both the Board and the management team set milestones for the company and often review progress against those goals. Knowing that you are on the right track is important; realizing that you may be on the wrong one is crucial.

Entrepreneurs embody the American dream. Fired with ideas, they have been the engine to our economic growth and subsequently have set our economy apart from all other nations. Entrepreneurship is the vehicle for creating new jobs, generating revenue, advancing innovation, enhancing productivity, and improving business models and processes. Despite the challenges, entrepreneurship has never before been more vital to our economy than it is today. It is our best offense for economic progress and our finest defense against the status quo. Promoting entrepreneurship is in everyone’s best interest.

Our articles promote entrepreneurship and provide the necessary tools for both the new and experienced entrepreneur to stay on course and succeed. Our guidance facilitates the strategic focus required to win in the game of business. Launching a new business venture is risky, and nothing is ever guaranteed. We will share with you good management practices, offers thoughtful insights, and this guidance will serve you well throughout the life of your venture. Regardless of your role at your organization, you will find that the decision-making process is subject to a higher level of scrutiny all around. Entrepreneurship is not for the weak at heart. As we say, the risks are plentiful, but so are the rewards for those who make it.

We concur with James Collins, co-author of the bestseller Built to Last, who said that “entrepreneurship is becoming to the world what architecture is to the world of building buildings.” We feel that the true golden age of entrepreneurship is in front of us, not behind us. While the economy in general may still seem tough, we feel that there are many positive factors affecting entrepreneurs today. Today’s creative disrupters will create new market opportunities and new groups of market leaders. We see that IT buyers are beginning to experiment with a range of new architectures and core technologies. Entrepreneurs can find and hire great people, and resources like real estate are plentiful. Business plans are more realistic and the best entrepreneurs are focusing, as they should, on true innovation and on creating sustainable long-term value.

Henry George, an American journalist, once said, “Whoever becomes imbued with a noble idea kindles a flame from which other torches are lit, and influences those with whom he may come in contact, be they few or many.” We sincerely hope that this information has provided a flame from which your torch was lit and can now be used to illuminate your journey to success.