All professional athletes have coaches. No serious competitor would attempt to compete at peak level without one. A coach is not just another player or colleague; a coach is a specially trained person with a very specific role. A coach does not have to be a star athlete. Sometimes the best coaches were never really good at the sport. They have different skills. So why do athletes need a coach? Is there a real purpose that the coach fulfills? Is it really necessary?
Let’s look at what a (good) sports coach does: Continue reading Coaching Athletes vs. Coaching Entrepreneurs
Today I feel like Johnny Depp in the movie Alice in Wonderland, who plays the role of the Mad Hatter. An entrepreneur in an early-stage startup company has a lot of different hats to wear, and this can be enough to drive you stark-raving mad.
In order to keep my business afloat I need to be skilled with a number of different tasks such as: Marketing (including web, CMS, branding, advertising, social media, desktop publishing, copywriting…), Sales (including distribution models, negotiation, networking…), General Administration, HR & Personnel issues, Engineering, Legal issues, IP & Patents, Government reporting and compliance, etc. The list is endless and each area requires some time and energy. How do you keep from going crazy?
Continue reading The Entrepreneur Mad Hatter
Starting a business is tough. No one will refute that fact. USA Statistics back this up to tell that approx. 90% of all startups will fail within the first 5 years.
What is the key entrepreneurial trait that differentiates the other 10 percent? No, it is not that these entrepreneurs are smarter, have better technology, have whiter teeth or have rich sugar daddies. There is a key personality trait that keeps them trying until they eventually succeed. They are simply stubborn.
Continue reading What every entrepreneur should learn from Abraham Lincoln
I watched the crazy downhill guys on TV yesterday. As these skiers were getting ready to plunge down the icy slopes of a mountain at speeds of up to 140 km per hour, they prepared themselves by closing their eyes and envisioning skiing the course, turn for turn, in an absolutely perfect ski run. With eyes closed, they leaned left, then right, going down, up and through the entire course. I guess that they also saw themselves winning the gold medal and standing on the podium with a shiny trophy raised overhead in victory.
So why do they bother to do this? Does mental practice really affect performance? Is this just silly “positive thinking” jargon or does this really have a measurable impact?
Continue reading The perfect ski run
I often get everything backwards… ass backwards. Whether it is in my life or with my business, I often get things turned around the wrong way… and this causes me to struggle and flounder. While running a small business I am continually confronted with problems and challenges that are complex and difficult to navigate. That’s part of the game, but as I stand knee-deep in a big problem it is really tough to figure out how to lift myself out and to find a good solution. When I am standing in a hole, I have no perspective or overview. I often see only the problems and I get stuck there. Stuck in the mud.
Continue reading Starting at the End
“If you are so smart, why are you not rich?”
I saw this written on a T-shirt the other day at a gathering of entrepreneurs. It was a blatant challenge and it made me stop and think. In looking back on my 20 years as an entrepreneur, have I failed if I am not rich? Is that really what has driven me all these years? No, not really.
Continue reading “If you are so smart… why are you not rich?”
I saw a strange French movie in 1979 that made a big impact on me. It was called Meetings with Remarkable Men and told the story of G.Gurdjieff, a philosopher who traveled through Central Asia in order to discover spirituality through dance, music, near-encounters with death and by meeting remarkable people along the way.
Over the last 24 hours I have had 2 encounters with remarkable men. Both related to my last blog entry regarding how to handle a crisis. I learned something new.
Continue reading Meetings with Remarkable Men
My own company is in a crisis right now… a real crisis with tough decisions to make, sleepless nights to endure and an impending sense of doom that is like a nasty hangover. A bit of bad luck, bad timing, some strategic mistakes and a global financial crisis have all combined into a witch’s brew of a startup company cash-flow mess. The squeeze we have gotten ourselves into is not all that uncommon for most small business leaders and entrepreneurs. A friend said “just get used to it… the bigger your business, the higher the stakes and the smaller your odds of survival”. Thanks for the depressing thought.
Now before you all start to worry that I am about to throw in the towel, shipwreck the business and go take a job flipping hamburgers at McDonalds, just relax for a moment. I am attacking this situation head-on because…
A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste.
Continue reading A Crisis is a Terrible Thing to Waste (Part 1)