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Entrepreneurs should cultivate relationships with outsiders who can offer support and advice, even though "mentoring," as it's often called, is typically considered an instrument of corporate career-building. In this insightful article by an entrepreneur who founded a non-profit organization to pair owners of young companies with seasoned business owners, the author advises entrepreneurs to seek help from peers as well as superiors and from several outsiders rather than a single guru.
Barnett Helzberg is so convinced of the value of mentoring, he started a program to benefit up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Entrepreneurs benefit from knowledgeable third-party advice provided by advisors, writes the former chairman of a family-owned diamond business. The author describes his own dealings with informal mentors and the members of his formal advisory board.
The founder and CEO of American Reading Company, Jane Hileman, has seen her company grow from a few teachers ten years ago to 111 employees today who provide books and reading goals for students to encourage a love of reading. Hileman's goals are revenue growth, profitability, and success.
This entrepreneur and strategic coach presents two case studies, from her entrepreneur client base, which approach compensating "A" players in very different ways. Both had the same goal though--keep them on the team.
Boards of advisors are best for helping entrepreneurs build companies in the formative stage, whereas boards of directors lend a hand during times of crisis or change, writes a serial entrepreneur. The author provides a blueprint for dealing with both entities.
A wingman flying beside the fighter pilot is what separates the true ace from the merely great, writes the founder of a company that was sold for $270 million. A look at the characteristics of his own essential second-in-command provides a guide for entrepreneurs seeking the same.
Jensen Huang, co-founder and CEO of NVidia, discusses the importance of having a big vision when starting a new venture. He says that you should not be daunted when others, including early customers, don't share your vision because they don't share your world view. Huang's vision for NVidia involves building a culture of innovation, with the conviction that if you aren't reinventing yourself then you are slowly dying. This culture cultivates risk-taking and, therefore, fosters a tolerance for failure.
Richard Jarman sees entrepreneurship as the backbone of the American economy, and he's doing his part to help by mentoring up-and-coming entrepreneurs.
Adam Berk had a vision of creating an online library where neighbors could borrow tools and electronics from one another. Why buy a fancy camera you only needed to use once for a big trip? Why invest the money in physical tools for a home remodeling project if you are never going to need them again? Adam and his best friend Dave spent 5 years creating this utopian community, neighborrow, powered by a new form of currency. Their business model was to eventually white label the product and sell it to large apartment buildings and others who wanted to facilitate a borrowing community. But they never achieved their vision.
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