Being an Entrepreneur Means That Sometimes, You Just Have to Say No

A while back, I met with an employee to do an interim performance review. I was excited because I was about to surprise her with a significant pay increase in recognition of extra responsibilities she had taken on. Giving raises is one of the greatest pleasures for a business owner (at least it should be), and I had been looking forward to it all week. At the end of the review I told her what her new salary would be, and the entirety of her expressionless response was: “I thought this would come much sooner.”

You know that “wah, waah, waaah” cartoon sound when something ends in excruciating disappointment? Yeah, that.

Then there was the supplier who asked if we could pay him a month early for a big production run, “just this one time.” Having been on the other side of that situation a few times myself–and given that this was a friend, not to mention our key supplier, whose terms were a critical part of our inventory turnover and cash flow–I obliged.

When the next production run came around, I got the same request, with the promise: “This is really the last time I’ll ask.” Not wanting to let my pal down, I helped out again, though any experienced businessperson–and common sense–will tell you that repeated requests of this kind are a warning sign.

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6 min read 10 Ways Entrepreneurs Think Differently

10 Ways Entrepreneurs Think Differently
Entrepreneurs are a unique breed of people. While some people sit and fantasize about the glamor of being their own boss and creating their own business, those in the thick of business ownership understand that even considering all its rewards, entrepreneurship is a difficult and complicated path.

The world’s most successful entrepreneurs aren’t the ones who impulsively quit their jobs to chase a get-rich-quick idea. They are the ones with an entrepreneurial mindset — a set of perspectives and values that allow them to achieve greatness.

These 10 perspectives are differentiators you’ll need to have or develop if you’re going to be a successful business owner.

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Magic and the CEO — Applying Lessons Learned From the Stage

Upon seeing a magic trick for the first time, a child is filled with awe, wonder and excitement and left thinking about greater possibilities. That’s because a magician knows exactly how to draw people in and engage and encourage them to believe in what they saw.

Selling a belief is at the core of magic, as it is in business. Prior to my becoming the CEO of Perfecto Mobile, I worked as a magician. The many tricks and magical acts that I performed in front of a wide range of audiences provided lessons about being a leader, a presenter and getting people to believe.

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Be a Better Leader by Pondering these 4 Philosophers

The contemporary emphasis on instant gratification has seeped its way into almost every aspect of our lives–from the creation of credit cards to fast food to smartphones, we rarely have to wait for anything. But mindfulness and thoughtfulness are important for leaders to practice. You need be decisive, but if your values and beliefs get swept away by the fast pace of life, your behavior can change in negative ways.

As a leader, you need to give yourself time for self-reflection and think about philosophical issues like “values, character virtues, and wisdom,” David Brendel, an executive coach and philosophical counselor, writes in Harvard Business Review.

Brendel cites a recent study that found the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), a critical region of the brain for evaluating emotional, motivational, and cognitive information, is activated during times of self-reflection. “Activating the ACC via self-reflection, in other words, can promote business success by helping leaders to identify their values and strategic goals, synthesize information to attain those goals, and implement strong action plans,” he writes.

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You Might Be an Entrepreneur If You Meet These 3 Conditions

I’m a recent convert to the lean startup movement. But after four years of operating a small startup incubator at a private liberal arts college I’ve learned a lot about creating business models that work and who might become a successful entrepreneur. It’s not about having access to capital or area of study. Rather, it’s about having the right skills, the right process and the right heart.

1. The right skills.

Marketing innovation. As Michael Ellsberg wrote in The Education of Millionaires, the prerequisite to selling is listening. It’s important to understand people and their needs, build networks and relationships and create unique solutions to pitch effectively.

Managing risk. Entrepreneurs aren’t risk takers as much as they’re risk minimizers. One way to minimize risk is to bootstrap: Provide the resources for a startup with customer revenues. Another way is to follow the advice of Eric Ries, pioneer of the lean startup movement, proponent of the “build-measure-learn” mantra.

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Why Entrepreneurs Should Listen to Alibaba’s Jack Ma

The two options for Internet startups, all entrepreneurs know, have long been B2C (business to consumer) or B2B (business to business). But in his speech at Softbank World 2014, Jack Ma, Alibaba’s self-made founder and CEO, declared open the era of C2B, or consumer to business, an era in which customers will soon completely dictate to companies what they need and only companies that accommodate them will thrive.

Ma’s notion is so on-target that it would be worth heeding even if his company wasn’t launching a record-breaking IPO. Currently, seven major trends back his paradigm-shifting vision.

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10 Things Entrepreneurs Didn’t Worry About 10 Years Ago

It’s hard to believe, but 10 years ago entrepreneurs somehow managed to start, grow, and sell companies without spending even a second of mental energy on these now all-important topics:

1. iOS versus Android

In 2004, the iPhone was still just a twinkle in Apple’s eye, and if you wanted a cell phone for business you got a Blackberry. Today, you must decide whether to build your business infrastructure on Apple’s proprietary system or the Android family of products–a decision akin to going with either Apple or IBM in 1984.

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