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Welcome to the WISE newsletter, a program of
The Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University
 

Thursday, April 12, 2007

WISE2007: Susan Duffy

Dr. Susan Duffy is from George Washington University ands teaches in their entrepreneurship program.

Lessons leader from women entrepreneurs: Six steps to entrepreneurial success

Entrepreneur your life – Build the competence and confidence to believe: You can do it!

Tap into your entrepreneurial past. Likely you’ve already done something that is entrepreneurial.

She talked about a fast food place she worked for and the lessons they learned (and the mistakes they made). They didn’t do their research and the business closed six months after opening.

Her latest venture is the entrepreneurial program at GWU. They think of the program as an entrepreneurial venture. They did their market research, etc.

Tour de entrepreneurship (think if bike riding)

  1. The big wheel: Identify & build on your passion and core strengths. What is your core strength? What is your asset that is different from everyone else? Figure out what you are great at and own it. Do a passion inventory. What are you good at? What activities are effortless? What jobs do you look at and think that you’d like to do?
  2. The training wheels. Develop the tools you need for success. It is about the bike and the rider. It is about the business and the woman (business owner).
    1. What are your value proposition, market, competition, and financials? Put your financials in context. They still the story of your day-to-day operation. Know your leadership strengths and weaknesses. What are you good at? What don’t you like doing? Not only hire people who are good at your weaknesses, but hire people with similar strengths (who can take over for you).
    2. Build leadership skills: effective communications, negotiation, and selling. (Book Selling for Women) Learn the process of negotiation (Book Getting to Yes). Learn to negotiate for yourself (Book Learning to Ask). Learn how to make a pitch and close the deal. Notice the sales styles and techniques around you.
  3. The supportive push-off. Seek out role models. Find mentors. Build network. Look for people who have what you want. You don’t need mentors just for your business, but also for your personal life. You will have different questions for different mentors. How do you find a mentor? They are everywhere. Life gets down through relationships (networks).Networking is very strategic. Spend your precious time and energy in places where there is something you need to capture.
  4. The banana seat bike. Managing and growing your post-startup business.
    1. Be prepared to evolve. Everything you did pre-launch was a plan. It may not work the same way. You will now have real data.
    2. DROOM – DROOM: Don’t run out of money. Don’t run out of money. Keep track of your financial indicators. Don’t look backwards, look forwards. What is coming?
    3. Commit to continuous improvement. (Externally) Learn from customers. (Internally) How did you do? Learn from your successes and mistakes.
    4. Managing your team. “So you have to learn how to step back and let them be great.”
    5. Managing your board. Your board will want feedback. They will be interested in your business. Figure out how to communicate with them efficiently and effectively.
  5. The 10-speed: Expect the unexpected. The 10-speed offers unlimited choices. Unexpected key events.
    1. Managing human capital – employment laws, partnership agreements, and policies.
    2. Sales – building customer relationships. Spread out your customer relationships with a client. Don’t just have one contact.
    3. Role of CEO – You’re going to grow. Negotiate your agreements with employees with a bit more distance. You can’t be their friends (always). Be aware of how you set boundaries.
    4. Financial management
  6. The spin bike: stay tapped into the energy of others. Talk to other entrepreneurs. Join peer groups of similar sized businesses. Peer forums. This is the way people like to learn.

Keep up with the maintenance of your bike!


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