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Tag : Entrepreneurship

business leasing success approved

By Bob Callander

Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #2

Trap #2 – Greed

Better, faster, easier, more flexible, more responsive, more caring, less hassle…these are valuable in today’s service-starved and price-driven economy.  They might even be the strengths that separate you from your less successful competitors.  Superior service is worth a premium price, even when your product or service is considered a commodity.

But don’t cross over to greedy.  Your customers always know when you’ve gone too far and your price is too high.  That’s when they disappear without even telling you.

Women Owned Business - Louisville Equipment Leasing

By Bob Callander

Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #1

Trap #1 – Indecision

There are times to wait, to analyze again and again, to ask more questions.  That’s fine as long as indecision doesn’t become a strategy for inaction.  Entrepreneurs thrive on speed.  Our strength lies in beating the larger, slower and less nimble.  Absolute safety is not an option.  After all, we’ve already mortgaged our future for our independence.

Go create something truly amazing.  Delay is unacceptable.  The time is now!

best leasing company louisville

By The Leasing Group

The Money Excuses

“I’m offering 20% of my internet company for $50,000.”

“I’m seeking $500,000 in exchange for 35% of my production company.”

 “I’m here to sell you 15% of my distribution company for $250,000.”

 

These are called the “money excuses.”  They give the impression of success, if only enough money is available.  But, they rarely tell the whole story.

 

Have you ever watched the Shark Tank?  Budding entrepreneurs come on the show asking for an investment from the five sharks in exchange for a portion of their companies.  They pitch and plead and beg.  The passionate ones with good sales skills sometimes walk away with a check.  But in the end, after all the wrangling and negotiating, we discover that money wasn’t the only thing they wanted, or the most important.

 

As any good entrepreneur knows, the importance of money is often overstated.  Although these sharks are valuable partners, their value is much greater than any amount of financial support.  A well funded bad idea is still a bad idea.  Likewise, a good idea can succeed without funds from the sharks.

 

So why not be honest and change the pitch?  How about opening the conversation with something like this…

 

Sharks, I’m not here looking for your money.  Any wealthy investor can write me a check.

I’m here because I need your time, expertise and experience. 

Most importantly, I need your connections.  I want you to be my partner. 

What will that cost?”

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shark tank louisville

By The Leasing Group

Lessons from the Shark Tank

Heads up Shark Tank fans, the sharks have something to teach us.

 

Yes, they are self-promoting.  Yes, the “real” investing is done after the show and off camera.  Yes, the producers select the most outrageous and colorful wanna-be entrepreneurs, not only the most viable.  Yes, conflict theatrics and performance often trumps investing in the best start-up companies.

 

And yes, in the process the show’s creators become wealthy while the sharks become house-hold names.

 

Still, the Shark Tank can teach us something, maybe even something about ourselves.  Because money aside, the sharks gravitate to those with certain traits.  They will invest not in only an idea, but in idea people who clearly exhibit the following:

 

  1. Enthusiasm.  If you pitch your business, you better explode with excitement.  Passion must ooze from every word you speak.  Your body language must scream “invest in me, my product is the next light bulb, the next horseless carriage, the next IPhone.”

 

  1. Communication.  These sharks are smart and quick, so tell your story without stumbling.  Who are your customers?  How do you reach them?  Why will they buy?  If the Sharks can’t visualize a path to sales, they will eat you alive in front of five million viewers.

 

  1. Commitment.  Working hard and long isn’t enough.  The sharks want every drop of your blood and sweat invested in implementing the plan.  Quitting cannot be part of your DNA.

 

These sharks are radical individualists.  Lorie looks through the lens of her Shopping Network, while Kevin prefers licensing opportunities and Mark invests when he sees connection to the world of sport.  Daymond can open doors to retail and Robert to IT.  But, when they see enthusiasm, communication and commitment they circle their prey as one.

 

Why?  Because enthusiasm, communication and commitment are the traits that predict success!  

 

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business advice

By The Leasing Group

Do it Anyway

In 1865 Lincoln needed a two thirds majority of Congress to pass the 13th amendment abolishing slavery.  His cabinet said he would never get the votes.  Lincoln did it anyway.

 

In 1933 Franklin Roosevelt proposed radical new government programs to pull the country out of depression.  His legal advisors said these reforms were unconstitutional and would never pass a Supreme Court challenge.  FDR pushed them through Congress anyway.

 

In 1948 Mother Theresa asked the Church for permission to create the Missionaries of Charity, an organization to care for the poorest of the poor.  The Church warned it would be too demanding and unsafe.  Mother Theresa did it anyway.

 

In 1954 Walt Disney needed the Board of Disney to approve construction of Disneyland in AnaheimCalifornia.  The Board said the project was much too ambitious, that it would likely lead to financial ruin.  Disney did it anyway.

 

In 1996 Steve Jobs returned as Apple’s CEO to find his company nearly in bankruptcy.  Friends and associates said he was foolish to go back, that the company could not survive.  Jobs did it anyway.

 

Bold moves are not reserved for the famous.  Thousands of ordinary citizens do extraordinary things everyday in spite of loud opposition from those around them.  Clangs of “it can’t be done” and “it won’t work” and “it’s a waste of time and money,” are common, followed by, “it’s better to play it safe, think smaller, and wait for just the right time.”

Fortunately for us… they do it anyway.

 

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buisness advice 101

By The Leasing Group

Creating a Culture of Superior Service

“Will you be dining in with us today?”

 

“Please let us know if anything fails to meet your expectations.”

 

“Enjoy your lunch and have a great rest of the day”

 

“It’s been a pleasure serving you.”

 

These words are straight from an employee at a certain local restaurant…a “fast food” restaurant.  And they aren’t just words.  Based on its level of service, this restaurant really means what it says.

 

With so many horror stories related to bad customer service, superior service is a welcome change that grabs our attention every time.  How does one company do it when others can’t?  Do they only hire and train people how care?  There must be a logical explanation.

 

  • Perhaps caring employees are too hard to find.
  • Perhaps good service is not something that can be easily taught.
  • Perhaps customer service is difficult to practice consistently, no matter how intentional.

 

 

While all three possibilities have some validity, there might be another explanation, one having more to do with employers than the people they hire.

 

Could it be that most businesses really don’t care about superior service, at least not enough to invest company time and resources?  And, if employers don’t care, is it any surprise when their employees don’t care either?

 

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business advice

By The Leasing Group

Boomerangs and Business

Have you ever thrown a boomerang, one of those funny shaped pieces of wood that promises to come right back?  I was eleven or twelve the first time I threw one.  My first toss looked more like a wounded duck than a graceful swan, crashing well before making its turn.  On that day I learned that boomerangs will not come back unless they are thrown exactly right.

 

Generosity is kind of like that.  Whether we give our time, talents or resources, generosity is best expressed without expectation of personal gain.  We should give for the right reasons, especially in business.  Here are three opportunities:

 

  1. Introduce a customer or associate to another customer or associate.  The connection might be magic for them.  Just don’t ask for even a hint of compensation in return.
  2. Give valuable advice in your area of expertise.  Share your knowledge with those who might benefit from it without secretly hoping you’ll get paid or make a sale.
  3. Serve on a non-profit board.  When you do, don’t show up to meetings to network in hopes of building relationships which might one day payoff.  You’re there to serve, so lose all selfish motivation.

 

We only experience the boomerang effect when our gifts are offered without any expectation of return benefit.  That’s when they surprise us and become something truly powerful.  That’s also when our generosity moves us away from lives of self absorption, creating space for heart and soul to flourish.

 

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buisness advice louisville

By The Leasing Group

What We Learned Selling Lemonade

Do you remember when a paper boy really was a boy on a bike, not a person in a pickup or SUV?  In those days a kid also mowed his neighbor’s grass, sold homemade potholders door to door, and enticed passing cars with a hose and a sign reading: Wash and Wax – $1.00.  People should have paid attention to these young tycoons.  Today they run much of our commerce.

 

According to Venture Capital firm, Cue Ball, 65% of all new businesses are started by men and women who previously launched childhood entrepreneurial ventures.

 

Did the young CEO’s know they were learning about responsibility, integrity, discipline and customer service, as they pushed their mowers around the neighborhoods?  Were innovation, creativity and product quality top of mind when they wove their colorful potholders?  Did they realize they were actually learning valuable lessons that would shape their lives?

 

Many experts today profess to have proof of an “entrepreneurial gene,” convinced that newborn babies are hard-wired to start and run businesses.  Maybe so.  But I also suspect that a tiny seed is planted whenever a kid sets up a lemonade stand.  Whether successful or not, that kid’s seed grows from the experience.  Isn’t it just as likely that the so-called “entrepreneurial gene” is more environmental than it is random selection?

 

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how to finish big in buisness

By The Leasing Group

What is Your Edge?

Check the Internet any day of the week and you’ll find no shortage of “experts” promoting easy paths to intelligent investing and wealth accumulation.

 

“Follow these seven strategies to achieve investing success.”

 

I’m always surprised by how simple they make it sound, because successful investing is neither simple nor easy.  Becoming a successful entrepreneur isn’t either.  Recently, I found the following list.  Although intended to help navigate the troubled waters of the stock market, this list also serves as a guide for entrepreneurial “wanna-bes.”

 

  1. Find an Edge
  2. Manage Risk
  3. Be Disciplined
  4. Stay Flexible

 

Find an Edge

No company will get far without a solid value proposition, be it price, location, service, experience, quality or whatever else drives its revenue.  Every entrepreneur must discover an edge.  What sets you apart from your competitors?  When you figure it out, go tell the world.

 

Manage Risk

We evaluate options and make decisions everyday, and options carry risk.  The trick is to manage the process.  Before going bankrupt, the Penn Central Railroad bet the company on the future of passenger trains.  That was a big risk.  Penn would have been better off hedging their bet with automobiles and airplanes.

 

Be Disciplined

Someone once told me that a good entrepreneur never does anything between 8:00 and 5:00 that can be done between 5:00 and 8:00.  In other words, working hours are made for selling.  Paperwork comes later.  That takes a lot of discipline.

 

Stay Flexible

Back in 2002, Apple was unprofitable.  Early internet flops tarnished its appeal, its retail stores were viewed as dumb ideas and music-playing iPods were seen, even by some Apple executives, as relatively insignificant.  Worse yet, the Macintosh wasn’t selling.  Thankfully, the company was flexible enough to innovate.  The rest is history.

 

Find a market advantage, manage your risks, be intentional and disciplined, while also flexible.  Maybe you’ll be an Apple too.

 

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By The Leasing Group

Five Questions before you Quit Your Day Job

Thinking of launching a new business?  Better first ask yourself these five questions:

 

  1. You’re in an elevator with a total stranger.  The stranger asks you about your business idea.  Can you explain what you sell, who you sell to and why they buy from you, before the elevator stops at the next floor?  You have just twenty seconds.  A short, crisp, understandable message is your first step to success. 

 

  1. You love good food and you love to eat it, so you decide to open a restaurant.  Do you also love working in the kitchen, managing difficult people, and paying attention to every detail from perfectly bleached table cloths to perfectly seasoned quiche?  When your strengths align with your interests and passions, anything is possible.     

 

  1. You’re willing to work hard.  You consider yourself a high achiever and top employee.  Can you also get up and go when no one requires you to get up and go, stay focused on the vision when no one else sees it, and refuse to quit when you are obviously failing?  Unrelenting determination is your best friend.

 

  1. You easily sailed through high school with above average grades and numerous compliments from admiring friends and teachers.  Did you also excel in sports, serve on the student council, play first chair violin, captain the debate team, or run a successful mowing business after school while delivering newspapers in the mornings?  A history of personal achievement will bolster your confidence at just the right times. 

 

  1. You are recognized as one who quickly digests complex ideas, communicates them effectively, understands how they apply and turns them into productive action.  Are you also driven to continuously set new goals, rarely satisfied with the status quo and always searching for the next learning opportunity ahead?  Humble curiosity coupled with 20/20 vision might just give you the edge to succeed.

 

 

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business leasing success approved
Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #2
Women Owned Business - Louisville Equipment Leasing
Traps Entrepreneurs Must Avoid #1
best leasing company louisville
The Money Excuses
shark tank louisville
Lessons from the Shark Tank
business advice
Do it Anyway
buisness advice 101
Creating a Culture of Superior Service
business advice
Boomerangs and Business
buisness advice louisville
What We Learned Selling Lemonade
how to finish big in buisness
What is Your Edge?