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A serial entrepreneur who has exited three businesses and launched a fourth advises that founders plan for how to get out of a venture even before they get in. A corollary is that the end game might not turn out as planned, the author writes, although the strategy keeps a founder focused.
Entrepreneurs must identify ways to exit a business at the onset, which enables efforts to be directed to a goal, writes the builder of two companies. The author, now a venture capitalist, outlines four steps for doing so.
Many entrepreneurs with family-owned or closely held businesses say the most difficult challenges involve deciding who will succeed the current generation.
Entrepreneurs can benefit from seeking to be paired for a fee with a mentor who provides guidance and support, says the author, who pursued such a formal mentorship upon the founding of her second venture. With new skills to learn in an operating company as opposed to her previous professional-services concern, this entrepreneur reports developing company-building tactics as well as respect for mentoring itself.
A helping hand from a beloved family member gave this author a gift more precious than a paycheck: the time and attention she needed to rebuild her career -- and her belief in herself.
A business model that aims to consolidate in the fragmented tour-packaging industry must rely on the entrepreneurial owners of the local businesses it acquires, according to the writer. A case is made for developing the people who will build the business, rather than, as is practice for many consolidators, putting them out of business.
Service companies aiming to grow fast enough to attract financing need to address the weaknesses inherent in such business models, says the founder of a human-resources consultancy.
Effective business planning is critical to an entrepreneurial company's long-term success and its ability to raise capital and grow successfully. A properly prepared Business Plan should tell a story, make an argument and conservatively predict the future. All companies have different stories to tell, different arguments to make and different futures to predict, so they must resist the temptation to copy from others or to follow a rigid outline.
A culture of fun and respect for customers and employees pervades this family-owned furniture business that has been sold to legendary investor Warren E. Buffett, writes the author. Culture is what can't be taken away, even after a company is sold, as both the author and his brother are still actively involved, he notes.
Risk is the essential element of entrepreneurial life but it can and must be managed if company founders are to build profitable enterprises, writes the author, who has founded companies and is currently a venture capitalist helping others do the same. To control risk, he advises listening to instinct, managing to a plan, and working the financials so that there is enough money to fund the need.
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