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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Your reputation precedes you

Want to come work with me?

Entrepreneurs work hard to create businesses and make money in the process.  Their personal traits are part of the business evaluated by others.  Being stingy or ugly to employees is something that eventually gets around.  Treating tentative providers poorly has the same tendency for negative recognition. People REMEMBER bad treatment and eventually your treatment of others comes back to haunt you!

Success is a great neutralizing event.  People treated like dirt tend to minimize the bad and remember the good once they make lots of money.  The problem is that a limited number of startups achieve sufficient success for this to occur.  In addition, the word may spread before the company becomes successful. This means that people will remember the bad treatment and your reputation suffers.  Worse yet, contractors and future employees may shy away from working with you because the reputation becomes public knowledge.

Adopting a solid business acumen and persona does not mean you must act like an ASS!  Careful thought and treatment of others has a value.  People will work harder and spread your praises when they believe you are the type that everyone enjoys being around and working with.  There is no need to give away free money and ignore achieving great deals in your negotiations, but do it with care and thought.  People recognize that business requires maximizing profits, but they resent dealing with poor business skills and lack of understanding.  In addition, they dislike poor treatment.

The sad part is that some people never recognize that they are in the disliked camp.  They never realize or do not care that people are resistant to work with them.  The company develops and gradually faces limitations attracting the kind of staff and contractors they most need to be successful.  In addition, the investor pool will eventually get feedback from outside.  This can create a different set of issues for the business.

There are many reasons to be a solid business professional and run a tight ship.  You have an obligation to keep costs down and ensure solid performance.  In doing so, try to remember that you may lose creditability by going too far and being obnoxious, cheap, or uninformed. 

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon 

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Multiple paths lead to solutions of business and research problems

More than one path usually exists.  Find the one that best fits your business needs!

Business and research are places where products discoveries occur during attempts to solve problems and make improvements.  It is rare that the discovery process has a singular path; meaning that more than one route leads to the accomplishment of key goals.  If path limitations exist, they arise because of attitudes, knowledge, and skills of the individuals involved.  People see problems differently and backgrounds influence the directions and view of the problems; e.g., is the “glass half full or half empty?” Attitude and knowledge are sure to influence your direction and problem resolution.

It is important to understand the problem from different perspectives to achieve a resolution more useful to a larger group.  Better understanding arises from quality market assessments.  Small or large group studies can lead to a better understanding.  One may also gain information via networking discussions among the right group of individuals.  The ability to identify key issues and consolidate them into goals requiring resolution drives the determination of the best set of characteristics to address. 

Why is this important?  Products that do not fit the best set of desired goals are less interesting to the target market.  Understanding of the market needs influence whether customers buy once and go away, or return to buy frequently.  Good research will determine if the product is even interesting to the target market.  Understanding of key issues and problems assist creation of great products.  Proper delineation of the product characteristics are critical to tasking the development team in the discovery process.  Better definition of the ideal product and intended use enhance the ability of the team to address and create the right products for the target market.

Many problems have multiple solution paths leading to multiple products, but only a limited subset of these may be of interest to your market.  The article “Build it and they will come is not a business plan” described the importance of product creation for the target market.  Business and research require extensive effort to understand the issues and devise proper solutions and desirable products.  In your planning stages, try to incorporate a few of the key considerations:  1) Will the customers like the product? 2) Will they return to buy again? 3) Does the product provide right quality and value?  4) Does it fit their need and solve a problem they have?  These are just a few of the areas to consider. 

Remember, that companies that do not have repeat business or interested customers will find their business a tougher thing to build.  So, start out in the right direction and find the path that is a bit easier to travel.

  Taffy Williams is the author of:  Think Agile:  How Smart Entrepreneurs Adapt in Order to Succeed to via Amazon 

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Second interview of Taffy Williams by Greg Viloria of the Nerd Stalker

Everyone has a slant!  Listen to mine in the interview on Nerd Stalker.
In a second interview by Greg Viloria, the Taffy Williams provided "slant" on startups, leadership and business creation: Nerd Stalker ( @nerdstalker ) calls the segment Startup Blog Insights. The goal is to obtain in-depth thoughts about topics covered in Startup Blog. This interview covered two articles published in the examiner.com: 5 Key considerations while creating a startup " and "8 Hats Entrepreneurs Often Wear."

The full interview is available on Nerd Stalker:   http://www.nerdstalker.com/2013/04/startup-blog-insights-building-your.html  


“Key Ingredients for Your Startup


"If you are not thinking about how you plan to structure this organization and how this person is buying into the business...structure is important at the onset"


"I worked for the government for 14 years and one of the things that was a hot button for me what was when I asked someone to do somethings would refuse to do something because it was not in their job description..(in a startup).your job is to do whatever it takes to make it successful"


"if you do the wrong thing at the wrong time it only takes one wrong move to demotivate your people for months"”


The two articles point to the areas of planning and willingness to perform in a startup.  Planning is critical before starting.  Learning to modify the plans as the business progresses is equally important.  The ability to serve in multiple ways contributes to getting all tasks completed and demonstrating leadership to the team.

It was a pleasure speaking with Greg in this second interview and I look forward to future discussions.  The added information provides more insight into these articles.

Taffy Williams is on Twitter by @twilli2861.  Email questions to twilli2861@aol.com. More is available via his company  website ,  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.


Wednesday, April 10, 2013

100 plus articles published in the Examiner

 The following articles are published in the Examiner.com and cover issues of startups and entrepreneurship.  The list covers all articles published as of April 10, 2013.

5 Values that contribute to business success and keep customers coming back http://buff.ly/ZhseU4

5 Key considerations while creating a startup http://buff.ly/16ezjI3

5 Actions entrepreneurs should regularly perform http://buff.ly/YAHw61

6 Areas where contingency plans benefit entrepreneurs http://buff.ly/Y9K79M

8 Hats entrepreneurs often wear  http://buff.ly/14Jphhs

6 Questions to ask before creating a startup  http://buff.ly/12rFuMC

6 Steps toward repurposing you  http://buff.ly/YXbm7C

6 Steps toward that new job and new you - http://buff.ly/XF6PGC

3 Examples of pay it forward networking - http://buff.ly/13DrfiO

4 Entrepreneurship lessons learned by selling Girl Scout cookies -  http://buff.ly/139HZy2

4 Steps to get your development team in line and behind you - http://buff.ly/12X8sib

4 Steps to overcome inertia and build a business - http://buff.ly/X579ek

6 Steps recapture the lead when your to-do list is winning -  http://buff.ly/WXETNV

Draw energy from the positive people around you - http://buff.ly/UPoA4V

5 Stages of mourning entrepreneurs may experience - http://buff.ly/UDpdP5

7 Childlike characteristics that are strengths to an entrepreneur -  http://buff.ly/10JM2p6

7 Questions to ask fund managers reviewing your startup - http://buff.ly/X5yVXz

Leadership, relationship, and compromise get deals done  -  http://buff.ly/UmPEXq

Networking requires certain tools and attitude - http://buff.ly/UfzQUP

Success requires paying attention to details - http://buff.ly/R7xNF5

Entrepreneurs rarely throw in the towel -  http://buff.ly/TcQx4c

Understanding your markets requires good research -  http://buff.ly/RChUI2

EGOs can kill your business deal - http://buff.ly/RwYioD

Entrepreneurs should prepare for an exit - http://buff.ly/YxU2qR

Guard against bad decisions resulting from office politics - http://buff.ly/Ynhvee

Entrepreneurs sometimes get left at the altar - http://buff.ly/WOOis8

Succession planning is critical for entrepreneurs -  http://buff.ly/WxFxTr

Creativity and innovation come from mix of a wide range of ideas http://buff.ly/Y0fwMV

Give thanks for entrepreneurs because they are good for the economy - http://buff.ly/XWBlwP

Know the difference between rules and trends for your business -  http://buff.ly/XSEEVC

The Fiscal Cliff can affect your startup or small business - http://buff.ly/TT8PqZ

Creativity and new discovery end on stating something is impossible -  http://buff.ly/W7iVZG

Some of the greatest inventions and products occur by accident -  http://buff.ly/TaPAsM

You can rebuild after business failure and devastation - http://buff.ly/Q8R7Cm

Run very fast from unreliable investors - http://buff.ly/SqqEwO

Guard against unknowingly handing over your technology to others - http://buff.ly/Re835t  

The story of Loretto Chapel provides business creativity and planning lessons - http://buff.ly/PE6m68

Successful planning includes contingency plans  - http://buff.ly/T5pQM4

The importance of understanding the winners and losers in your market -  http://buff.ly/Po8tXf

Investors only get involved if they like and understand your company -  http://buff.ly/PfUFhx

Review and strategy change may get investors - http://buff.ly/QiZNRC

The golden rule as applied to business -  http://buff.ly/QdRvKM

Negotiating a business deal requires significant planning and discussion -  http://buff.ly/PXBZCX

Save time and money by understanding and working on the correct objectives http://exm.nr/Q7mhHw

Multiple investor groups may slow the financing of your startup http://exm.nr/NErLW3

Individualize advice before applying it to your small business http://exm.nr/QmF1il

Innovation and creativity are essential for small business http://exm.nr/N5jikx

Good business needs clear goals and precise measurements of success  http://exm.nr/QRlZr4

Innovate away from me too products http://exm.nr/MfjJXU

Me too products are not the best business opportunity http://exm.nr/Rf2hAg

Business intelligence is easy to obtain http://exm.nr/OCNSf3

Negotiating:  Sometimes walking away is required http://exm.nr/P845tP

Project planning is critical to product development http://exm.nr/NAX6ep

‘Build it and they will come’ is not a business plan http://exm.nr/P6Iou9

Leadership sometimes requires consensus building http://exm.nr/MN4bWc

Outsourcing, problem avoidance http://exm.nr/LBMg9B

Knowing your team enhances chances of success http://exm.nr/NCEnPT

Is it the right time for your products? http://exm.nr/LBNWzO 

Motivated Entrepreneurs Strive to Win http://exm.nr/NCEGKh

When In a Tight Spot, Seek Alternatives http://exm.nr/OxKwNW

Good PR or IR Increase Awareness for Startups and for the Region http://exm.nr/Q3G2wx

Mayor Foxx Proclaims Small Business Month in Charlotte, NC http://exm.nr/LKLOWF

BIG Brings Repeat Performance of Deal Desk -   http://exm.nr/LZ0cuB

CanDiag Inc Wins $50,000 in the Charlotte Venture Challenge - http://buff.ly/HZMN2g

Finalists Selected for the Charlotte Venture Challenge - http://exm.nr/IzVqT5

Mentoring Is a Great Way to Give Back -  http://exm.nr/IarnwT

Startups Compete in Charlotte Venture Challenge for Prizes Totaling $100,000  - http://exm.nr/HKZESA

Be Careful What You Wish For, You Might Get It - If You Apply by February 29, 20 http://shar.es/gvzuB

Have a Bad Boss? http://exm.nr/zLFvGT

Startups to Compete in the Charlotte Venture Challenge for Prizes up to $100K http://exm.nr/wQAEui

An elevator pitch for a job search http://exm.nr/Ae3811

Instant Gratification Is Not Likely http://shar.es/WJauL

Network a Little Everyday http://shar.es/WehQX

Learn Marketing and Get a Job http://shar.es/WehD5 

Learn About Startup in a New Job http://shar.es/WehiC

Angel Investing Workshop Held in Charlotte, NC   http://shar.es/b8oYo

Biotech in the Charlotte Region - Conference Summary http://shar.es/bi6XJ

Two Events for Charlotte Entrepreneurs: October 27 & November 2, 2011 http://shar.es/bCdCj

Customers: Who Are They  http://exm.nr/omJHBG

Networking:  Essential for Job Search & Startups http://shar.es/b3Xll

Keeping Your Startup On Track http://shar.es/baTnv

Networking Can Enhance Chances for Success in Your Startup http://shar.es/baS6g

9/11 - Determination From Devastation, A Startup Story http://shar.es/HRFjN

Staff & Money http://shar.es/HU5KW  

Examine the Competitive Landscape http://shar.es/HUtnq

Don't Forget You May Have a Partner(s) to Manage   http://exm.nr/nXri3V

Lean Startup Conference – Charlotte, NC http://shar.es/HEOVK

Licensing Rights to a Technology http://shar.es/HExhP

Forming the Company & Structure (Part 2)  http://exm.nr/pHD7pW

Forming the Company & Structure (Part 1)  http://exm.nr/qauaVH

Patents Cost Money & Need Maintenance http://t.co/SEjcZfT

Where’s the Money? http://shar.es/HyEKP

Are You an Entrepreneur? http://shar.es/HxyJS

Packard Place - Incubator for Innovation and Entrepreneurship http://shar.es/Hwqky

The Entrepreneur, Learning, Networking, and Mentors   http://exm.nr/kDAc98

7 Questions You May Get from Potential Investors   http://exm.nr/lpBIQd

Intellectual Property (IP) and Know-how: Defined   http://exm.nr/kdU0Xx

Resources for Startups – Research at Carolinas HealthCare System http://exm.nr/iX75eE

The Business Plan http://exm.nr/kFwdlc

Startup Basics Recap from Interview http://exm.nr/jgWzSb

Resources for Charlotte Startups – UNC Charlotte Technology http://exm.nr/j0dSX1

Resources in Charlotte for Startups - IMAF http://exm.nr/mStspK

Starting a tech or biotech company, the beginning steps -  http://exm.nr/jrBVyZ

Resources for Startup Companies in Charlotte, NC http://exm.nr/lrb7C8

Raising Capital (or NOT) for the Startup http://exm.nr/jx6oEu

Corporate Presentation to Raise Capital http://exm.nr/mRhNVK



Tuesday, April 2, 2013

4 Comparisons to consider before making expenditures

Evaluate spending to ensure you do not throw money away!

Some people are great with money and are able to save and spend in a manner that does not create financial problems.  Others are not so great and manage to amass large debt with little to show for their expenditures.  Many times those that are not good with finances run businesses in a similar manner.  Managing assets of a startup or any business is critical to the success of the business.  Many businesses borrow funds as a primary means of growing.  Managers of businesses should always give careful considerations to use of available cash or borrowing funds because the actions have long-term consequences. 

The goals of building a business are to make money; i.e., cash flow must turn positive.  Debt can make companies grow faster if used to make improvements that result in achieving greater earnings or turning cash flow positive sooner.  Debt has a potential tax advantage because interest may be a deductible item.  The long-term loan payments may create a burden on cash flow that escalates the company financial issues in times of reduced earnings. 

Companies sometimes have cash reserves.  The reserves help weather downturns or slow periods.  The decisions to spend versus borrow is one that should be carefully considered.  The following may help your analysis. 
Borrow versus Have:  Some purchases are beyond available cash assets requiring one to borrow funds to make the purchase.  Loans can be great until the cash flow crunch comes and the creditors are banging on your door to get their money back.  On the other hand, spending money you have in the bank can reduce reserves and cause cash flow crunches as well.  For example, not making payroll is a very demoralizing event.  Carefully evaluate all decisions of borrowing versus using cash reserves.  Estimate cash flows and ensure your ability to weather cash flow problems with and without a loan.

Want versus Need:  Some purchases are things we want but may not need.  A new phone with all the latest technology may be exciting, but the old phone may do everything required.  The same is true for most items where a replacement of functioning equipment takes place.  It is much easier to spend when the item is a necessity that will improve business and cash flow.  

Enjoyment versus Improvement: Aesthetic improvements can bring more customers or they make your employees happier.   Spending that creates enjoyment should translate to improvements in the business: otherwise, consider delays in the purchases.  Evaluate improvements in light of anticipated business improvements and increased earnings and cash flow. 

Short versus Long Cycle:  Some purchases are products that have short cycles causing them to become obsolete in a few years. Other items purchased have long and durable performance requiring minimal maintenance.  The cost and lifecycle of the items are worth consideration as to how they affect cash flows.  Try to make expenditures based on need, improvement, and earning improvements.