Archive for the ‘Opportunities’ Category

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Pucker up. Timing can mean everything.

October 10, 2008

You’ve got a great idea.

You have made all the right moves.

You’ve invested all of your money into building an awesome prototype.

Potential clients love it! You even have a list of pre-sales and some great leads on manufacturing.

You have the perfect business plan and stellar financials that would withstand the stingiest venture capitalists.

Then along comes the economy and “poof” everything disappears.
VCs throw cold water on portfolio companies
“RIP: Good Times” from Sequioa
Angel investor Ron Conway to portfolio: Cut expenses now

On top of everything else, you have to have timing… P.S. This isn’t it.

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Choosing Between Opportunities

August 24, 2007

by John Finlay

“Choose, but choose wisely,” says a grizzled thousand-year-old knight, as Nazis try to choose the true “Holy Grail.” They choose a a golden, jewel-encrusted chalice. They drink from it and whither into dust. In response, the knight sagely states that “He chose poorly.”

Now Indiana Jones chooses a ratty old wooden grail, drinks from it, and the knight with a twinkle in his eye says, “You chose… wisely.” Then Indiana Jones saves the day and they all live happily ever after.

Sometimes as entrepreneurs we are faced with choosing between multiple opportunities. How do we know which one to choose? Where is our knowledgeable knight to help us “Choose wisely”? The stakes are just as high. We could easily choose “poorly” and follow an opportunity that will cause us to whither under the pressures of an unhappy situation. We could also choose “wisely” and pursue an opportunity which leads to many personal rewards.

Some might say that you obviously choose the one that will earn you the most money. Given a good, thorough financial analysis, it shouldn’t be hard to figure out which one that is. However we know what happened to the Nazi who chose the “golden” chalice in Indiana Jones. Of course the financial rewards should be considered, but they shouldn’t be the only thing that you use to base your decision on.

In an article entitled “The Questions Every Entrepreneur Must Answer,” Amar Bhide gives us some guidance that can also be used to help us choose between multiple opportunities. There is no easy formula, but by exploring who YOU are, you can tell which opportunity would give you the greatest satisfaction.

Bhide’s thought provoking questions are meant to get you thinking about your goals and what it is that YOU want to accomplish. You may want a business that will make you a millionaire, or you may want to pursue an opportunity that will bring about the most good for humanity. Maybe you are interested in something that will bring you personal satisfaction, that you can brag about to your family. Maybe you want something with a little lower risk so that you can test the waters and see what kind of entrepreneur you are.

In the end you should consider the following taking into account feedback from family and friends:

  • Will I be happy doing this?
  • Will this help me meet my long term goals?
  • What are the risks and am I willing to take those risks?
  • What will it take to accomplish this opportunity and am I capable of doing it?
  • Does this opportunity match with my personal values?
  • Will I be able to support myself in the short term? What are the potential profits in the long-term?
  • Will the world be better because I did this?
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Scrutinize Before You Leap

August 7, 2007

by Andrew Olson

While reading a case study from the Harvard business school titled Eastwind Trading Company. The story starts with two ladies who are deciding whether to jump into a business venture together. The data that they received from the previous owners and the data received from the original owner were both just word of mouth. There was never financial records shared or any documentation shared with them at all. Plus they were not familiar with the venture that they wanted to jump into. I think I would have walked away for sure. It is very important that when you are researching a business venture that you have all the facts you can get your hands on in a quick amount of time.

The result was these girls went in and found out that in that field that designers only order their stuff twice a year and that was not going to cut it for them financially. It ended up being a bust business. I think they could have saved themselves the headaches if they would have seen red flags with the lack of info they had on the business. I may believe people so far but they have to back up what they are saying with actual physical data. Financial records or tax records or something if I am going to throw money and time into it as far as business ventures go.

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Opportunities and Entrepreneurs

July 18, 2007

We spent a long time trying to define what an entrepreneur is and who qualifies as an entrepreneur and who doesn’t.

We talked a lot about risk and that an entrepreneur has to start a business, but we didn’t talk much about opportunity. After spending the week thinking about this, it would seem to me that an entrepreneur is someone who takes advantage of a business opportunity in the face of personal risk. With that idea then, almost all of the examples we discussed could be considered entrepreneurial because they all involved someone taking the initiative to seize a business opportunity.

This would also mean that in some sense an entrepreneur is someone who can recognize opportunities.

This opens up a lot of other questions though. What classifies as a business opportunity? Are all business opportunities entrepreneurial? If not which ones are and which ones are not? Does an opportunity have to have the potential to make money for it to be entrepreneurial or can non-profits and similar ventures be considered entrepreneurial?

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The Proper Categories for this Blog – Simple vs. Complete

July 11, 2007

If you had to boil every entrepreneurial topic and every entrepreneurial issue down to ten categories, what would they be? Could you reduce the list to five instead of ten? At what point does simplifying categories have a noticeably negative effect on clarity?

I would like to keep the comments on this blog focused on all topic entrepreneurial but I would also like to keep things simple and organized. I am going to begin by posting roughly 15 categories that should be broad enough to cover most things entrepreneurial. Over the next few months I will monitor the various postings on this site and use your feedback to shift and consolidate where appropriate. I would like to eventually narrow down the topic list to roughly ten and then find one contributing blogger that will be responsible for each specific category (although I would still like to see five or more contributing bloggers working in each category).

Take a minute to review the categories currently in place on this site and please send me your thoughts and suggestions on what should be added / removed / changed etc. Also, when you are posting your blogs, please try to limit the number of categories you choose for your postings to one or two.

Now…let’s get to work!