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According to this, most serial entrepreneurs display persuasion, leadership, personal accountability, goal orientation, and interpersonal skills.  But, there are four distinct skills lacking in most serial entrepreneurs: empathy, planning and organizing, self-management, and analytical problem solving.  Given they are critical to success of an organization, it seems advisable for investors to keep an eye open for these leadership deficiencies and have a plan for filling them.

In reading this a couple days ago, I was considering that I’ve met thousands of people seeking the big idea that will make them a lot of money. Something I’ve learned, though, is that while big ideas are fun, their role in making money is way overrated. Sure, if you came up with the idea for eBay or Amazon, you made a lot of money off the idea. But what you really did was win the lottery. Your passion, hard work and good leadership skills combined with a very unique set of circumstances – product, supply, demand, and timing – to produce a home run.

What the majority of entrepreneurs don’t realize is that the big idea is not essential to building a successful business. Just find a product or service you feel good about and can become impassioned about delivering, define premier quality in the eyes of the consumer, and go out and deliver it. It can be as mundane as a plumbing repair business. What is premier quality in the eyes of the consumer in that business? I’ll bet it involves reliability and dependability, honesty, clear communication, cleanliness, professionalism, and competence. Deliver these things, charge the premium prices you deserve, and you will capture all the market share you want and make a lot of money. This is true even if the market is crowded with competitors, because at least 80% of your competitors will not deliver premier quality.

If we have said this once to clients and early stage companies and entrepreneurs, we’ve said it a thousand times.  

Check this out from Steve Tobak in Inc. Magazine.  He says the biggest reason start-ups fail is that they don’t know what they are doing and they don’t know what they don’t know.  And he provides solid advice for overcoming this.

Remember the days of 120-page private placements memorandums, 60-slide PowerPoint decks, and 90-minute investor presentations?  That was way back like, what, five years ago?  Actually longer than that, but the point is that today is a whole new world.  If you have something to sell, you have to communicate it in five minutes.  Sure, if you can initially hook a prospective investor, you’ll get a longer time with him or her down the line, but if you can’t set the hook in five minutes when you first have the opportunity, you are history, at least with that investor.  The “elevator pitch” that used to be confined to venture capital is now de rigueur virtually everywhere.  Investors simply don’t have time for anything else.  And even if they have the time, they demand simplicity in the business or at least that you have the ability to express it simply.  Here is a good guideline for your pitch.

I’ve had countless people ask me, after telling them that their start-up, or even later stage company, needed friends and family money, “Okay, excellent, can you introduce us to your friends and family?”  ”Sorry, dude,” I tell them, “it’s YOUR friends and family.”  Here’s some advice on going that route.

Click herehere, here, here, and here  for good overviews of some of the top start-up incubators and accelerators.


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