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Thursday, January 3, 2013

Entrepreneurs must live in the present and predict the future

Failure to examine the path may lead to disaster!

Some entrepreneurs have been around the block; i.e., a nice way to say they have a bit of age on them.  The age comes with experience and knowledge of things past and present.  One of the down sides of the experience is trying to do what worked in the past without checking to see if it is relevant in the present.  This is not as much an issue for the younger set and first timers.  They have no history to draw from unless they get advice from mentors with “been there done” that experiences. 

There is nothing wrong with trying what worked in the past.  It is a good way to start.  The error comes when one forgets to survey the present and determine whether what worked in the past is even relevant today.  Sometimes, this strategy is outdated and overly complex.  Take for example a reverse merger into a shell company.  The laws for such methods have become more complicated and the waiting periods for listing on an exchange may make the process not suitable to what it being attempted.  In the past, these mergers were more easily funded and were one mechanism of going public; today it is not nearly as easy and it takes much longer than other procedures. 

Marketing is changing and even how you interact with your healthcare provider.  Crowdfunding is new and it opens the door for some companies, but not so for others.  The degree of acceptance of your services or products is altered by the ability for consumers to obtain information that may alter their decisions.  When was the last time you went to the doctor without having done an extensive search on a health issue of concern to you?  If you have not done this, you should.  Your ability to speak more intelligently with the doctor may improve your understanding of what you should do after leaving!

The point made in this article is that history is a guide and may be a great starting point for discussion.  Good evaluation of the steps you take to build your business requires your learning about the present and trying to predict the future as well.  You may elect to go with past strategies because they are solid and well founded.  This is great once you confirm they are still valid.  The later part is essential.  Trying to accomplish a task via an outdated process and failing to make corrections along the way may make your task much harder than it needs to be.  Kodak for example, failed to adjust their strategies even though they could have dominated digital printing.  There are other companies heading in the direction of being outdated and predictions are available for several large companies going that route if they do not change. 

It is up to you as the leader of your startup to know when change is required.  In a prior article, “The best guru for entrepreneurship and startup for your company”, the discussion of learning and taking advice suggested that you are the best person to make the final decisions.  You have many people that provide advice and data.  You must augment that advice and filter it to ensure it is applied in the most effective way. This goes for the seasoned professional as well.  You know what worked in the past, but you should not stick with that process until you have vetted it properly.  This includes listening to others and learning more about the present and predictions of the future.

The surprising aspect is that the more experience you have the less likely you may explore other ideas.  This happens more often than one can imagine; I even do it!  Learning to do things in different ways and modifying your strategies is critical to the PIVOT.  You must learn to change with the times and implement successful programs.  Sometimes, the successful concepts and actions are framed by the past, and then they are modified to fit the present and future. 


Taffy Williams is on Twitter by @twilli2861.  Email questions to twilli2861@aol.com. More is available via his companywebsite ,  photo website, or “LIKE” ColonialTDC on Facebook.  You can also find him in the group Startup Group on Linkedin. Other articles are in the Charlotte,NC- small business section of Examiner.com.


  1. Such good points here that impact EVERYONE, from entrepreneurs, to seasoned business owners and leaders, to all careerists, to job seekers and more. We must always be examining 'what is/what might be' to align with current realities and predict future trends.

    Thank you, Taffy, for another meaningful post!

  2. Jacqui, thank you for the comments. I actually tend to experience these things in realtime with companies I interact with. The recent interactions reminded me of how set we become and fail to question strategy.

    Thanks for reading and for commenting. Hope you have a great New Year.

  3. This is what the M&A Jobs are all about.You have to live in present and plan for future with the strategies which will never fail.

  4. Thank you for sharing these experience of yours with us. Entrepreneurship is not that easy.
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  5. Agree. Marketing is ever changing and as entrepreneurs we should be aware of it. Not everything that worked in the past will work today. Consumer behavior change over time.

  6. You make a thoughtful case about how technology can enhance the good works of early childhood educators. I look forward to hearing more about how EC educators are connecting and sharing through technology. Thanks!
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