May 132013

portrait of beautiful young womanTo effectively plan for the growth of a business an entrepreneur has to zero in on the origination of the business. This is important is because you need to orient yourself to the preliminary stages of your business prior to putting yourself on a continued path of success. Think of it a retrospective look with an inclination towards the future. Some say: “the best way to move forward is not looking back.” That adage would not hold true here. In this case, the best way to move forward is to look back. This looking back is purposeful and helps build on elements of the past to strategically position your business for continued success.

A business’ starting point is the ground zero of what the founder set out to accomplish. Most successful business owners can pinpoint to a particular point in time, when they took the plunge into the foray of entrepreneurship. This starting point maybe related to a physical act or it may be just the mental disposition that led them down a path to a particular business venture. Ask yourself the pointed question of what drove you to start this business? What passion did this particular venture arise within you?

For most of us, this retrospective look begins by connecting with the passion that you had for the business in the initial stages. For some, it may be a simple trip down memory lane to recall the passion that drove you to a venture. This passion may be renewed and reaffirmed over the accomplishments of the business or ignite a motivation to overcome impediments by re-positioning. For example, if you started a business in the basement of your house with the hopes of having a brick and mortar business, you may now be able to see sufficient growth to take the next step or maybe the lack of growth will inspire you to shift the direction of business.

A deeper understanding of the intended consumer need the business was designed to address is another important aspect to reconnecting with the origination of the business. You will do that, by simply asking the question and conducting an honest assessment of whether the business is serving that consumer base. Even more important, you should ask, whether that segment needs that service presently? Depending on the answer, you may need to shift or make certain adjustments to fit current consumer trends and needs. For example, a need to create a brick & mortar clothing boutique may have waned with the advent of the internet and rising costs of real estate.

The overall goal of the reconnecting is not so much about the balance sheet of the business, but a more intrinsic self check to align your vision with the reality of the business. Reconnecting with the starting point of your business by taking into account its past history intended objectives and existing market conditions is the best way to grow your business and ensure its success.

Copyright Catherine Delcin, All Rights Reserved.

About The Author:
Catherine Delcin is the Managing Director of Delcin Consulting Group and founder of The Entrepreneurship Movement

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Apr 222013

woman looking through a microscopeIn our Entrepreneur classes, I often hear new members rattle on about their expertise. For many experienced professionals, it is hard to realize that their professional status carries less effect in the ‘real world’. They don’t realize that having professional qualifications and degrees does not really position them to be successful in entrepreneurial ventures. Indeed, it is likely that having expert degrees has no effect, or, in some cases, actually be a liability.

The reason why expertise is a handicap are many. Firstly, expertise is usually not transferable beyond the institution or industry where you work. Having a technical skill is great for your industry, but entrepreneurship requires a whole different skills set. You must know about marketing, business development, human resources, accounting, and general management. Secondly, expertise doesn’t equate to sales. Having great quality products and services, at affordable prices is critical. There is nothing inherent in being an ‘expert’ that transfers this knowledge on to products. Thirdly, experts are often poor are marketing and promotions. For whatever reason – it may be that they are not overly concerned about what other people think, they look down on sales and marketing, they see anything that devalues their expertise as demeaning. Have you ever noticed that people in your field are leaders but have less competence or expertise? Ask yourself, why is that?

Before you get all uppity and accuse me of being an upstart, I don’t want to dismiss expertise completely. Although I have a PhD from a respectable university, I have to admit that a lot of formal qualifications have limited application. For scientists, engineers, and doctors there are changing skills and demands on their time and knowledge. The Information Age is fast making knowledge more general anyway and this will inevitably result in the decline of many highly regulated industries.

When it comes to entrepreneurial ventures being an expert or a specialist is often a liability. This is because the skills set required for running a business is often beyond the technical skills of the entrepreneur. A further problem of expertise and specialization is that there is a lot of competition, particularly in the development of products and processes.

Let’s return to a previous point. Have you ever wondered why so many mediocre people advance quickly, while other experts do not? One of the main reasons this is the case is that of marketing and advertising, better communication skills, and a willingness to go beyond what is already known to look at new ways of learning and achieving things.

Let’s face it: lots of universities are training specialists and experts who do not have positions or future employment opportunities to go to. Lots of universities are seeking out academic ‘stars ‘ and high profile figures (often who are not the best in their fields, but are the best known.)

Fortunately for most entrepreneurs being good at lots of things and knowing lots about a little is the biggest advantage they can have. Expertise should be shunned at all costs, it is the mark of someone who works for someone else. Instead, look to be a generalist with great communication skills, excellent vision, and an insatiable goal to see the mission complete.

If you want to be an entrepreneur, let the ‘expert’ go and build your business from a more general base. Here are 5 tips to move from ‘expert’ to ‘entrepreneur’:

1. Understand Your Emotional Involvement in a Professional Identity
A lot of people invest a lot of their self in their professional identity. The longer you are in business, it seems, the harder it is to divest yourself from your job. This is paramount to be a successful entrepreneur.

2. Venture into Marketing and Promotions
Look up in your organization. You might be surprised to see those that have advanced quickly are those who are excellent at self-promotion and marketing. If you want to build a reputation as an ‘expert’ outside of the presumably ethical channels of your industry, then you need to do some promotions. Don’t compromise your integrity.

3. Look at the extension of your Professional Identity as a ‘Game’
Let’s face it! Not many people like to put themselves on public display. If you distance your ‘self’ from the advertising and marketing you do, looking at all the activities as a numbers game, and ultimately as a way to share your knowledge with more people, then you are half way there. There’s nothing worse for you and for other people then to be starting out on an entrepreneurial venture in a sombre, morose mood. Cheer Up! It’s all good and you are getting more freedom and independence at the end of the day.

4. Take a class on entrepreneurship
Companies such as Darlo Entrepreneurs offers classes on entrepreneurship, so do many business schools, and some community colleges. Look around. Look in your local community or city and see what additional classes there are to support you. Remember too that just because the people training you may not be in your professional group (or professional ‘class’) doesn’t mean they are not full of great ideas. Embrace and respect this learning.

5. Life Beyond Expertise
The corporate life often takes its toll on people. Most people are miserable in their jobs, hate waking up in the morning, and would do almost anything to steer their ship in a new direction. Now that you have an opportunity to start a venture that you are actually interested in, why not take the trip as an exercise in personal development too? Remember the real you, the non-expert you? Mediocre people tend to be averse to growth, but if it is any sign of your expertise, then be really happy that you have an opportunity to let things go and become an all-rounder.

Breaking free of ‘expertise’ can be a liberating exercise. You have much to gain and almost nothing to lose.

About The Author:
Dr. Brendan Moloney is an author, speaker, and lecturer with Darlo Entrepreneurs. Darlo Entrepreneurs provides business coaching, professional courses, and learning resources to individuals looking to start their own entrepreneurial venture. For further details, visit Darlo Entrepreneurs

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Apr 012013

light bulf over cartoon personEverything begins with an idea. Ideas represent infinite possibilities in a world limited by our existing perceptions. The past, present and the future are interconnected through ideas, analogous to links on a chain. Our creative ideas in the 21st Century will determine our progression as a society.

Thoughts and ideas control the world we live in, we turn simple ideas into concepts that materialized in foundational precepts of our framework; for instance, social welfare through laws and regulations; economic developments through services and products; and cultural development arts and crafts. All of the aforementioned originated from abstract principles set forth by an individual or groups of persons. Mundane rules such as stopping at a red light or stop sign are born from ingenuity, planning and implementation. That is entrepreneurship at its best! The social utility of such developments outweigh any monetary benefit to the creator.

Creativity is at the very core of our human existence. The genesis of the creative process is thinking that is generally geared towards addressing a particular issue, improving a system or problem solving. We need to move away from the norm that an entrepreneur is one who creates a business enterprise in the literal sense because implementing an idea that provides a tangible benefit to a community is in fact, a business organization. Though it may not generate a financial profit to the creator, it can provide other tangible benefits. The term “Entrepreneur” should include, people whose ideas have revolutionized our way of life whether by medical, scientific and artistic development. Those people assumed the biggest risk of all. At the risk of being rejected and denounced, they dared to put forth their ideas.

It is the interplay of creative freedom that will enable us to remain a thriving society where the free exchange of ideas brings us the best in inventions and technologies. We need to embrace the dreams in others who are bold to speak up and somehow awaken the sleeping giants in those with the foresight and vision for something bigger than themselves; but yet are un-motivated to pursue it. Instead of teaching our kids to fall in conformity with existing structure, we should be teaching them to be creative thinkers with a mind and heart geared towards entrepreneurship, which is to be defined as a one who undertakes innovations in the areas of science, politics, arts, literary, finance and business in an effort to provide a tangible benefit to society.

True genius awaits us when embrace the seemingly least of us with a vision and idea. Dreamers and visionaries are what innovation and success are built upon. Let’s make that the backbone of our culture. This reversal will prove more to be more beneficial to us than any capitalistic self-serving notion based on pitting one business against the other. Whether you want to change the world by finding a cure for cancer or would like to open a liquor store don’t underestimate the power of your ideas. Once you believe in them, everyone else will follow suit.

About The Author:
Catherine is the founder and owner of Delcin Consulting Group, a Business Consulting firm that provides comprehensive services to Startup Companies, Existing Businesses, and Non-Profit Organizations. The collaborative effort of the firm generates business solutions and long-term support to facilitate and ensure the successful pursuit of entrepreneurship.

For more information please visit our website: [].

You may also connect with Catherine via email, or connect with her via Twitter at:

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Feb 122013

illustration of an androidHarvard professor Clayton Christensen coined the term disruptive innovation to describe “a process by which a product or service takes root initially in simple applications at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly moves ‘up market’, eventually displacing established competitors.” An example of disruptive innovation is the cell phone (disruptor) displacing fixed line telephony.

There’s never been a better time to be a disruptive innovator. If you have a good idea, the barriers to market entry are shrinking. Business innovations like crowdsourcing and outsourcing provide cheap access to technology development, marketing resources and administrative support. You don’t need massive resources to invest in hiring employees to perform these business functions for you – you can design business graphics, develop an iPhone app or outsource your IT function using the new business models.

At the same time, large corporations have never been more vulnerable. A new survey by Right Management, the consulting arm of staffing group Manpower, finds that a whopping 84% of employees are planning on searching for a new job in 2012. That’s not surprising, considering how big business has laid off employees, reduced salaries and eliminated perks over the past 4 years. Do you think that this 84% is focused on providing innovation and exceptional customer service to their employer’s customers? I would posit that they are not and that their customers are ripe for the picking by a nimble competitor, particularly a disruptive innovator.

Small businesses that focus on providing groundbreaking solutions to customer problems are in a good position to take business away from corporate monoliths, particularly at the smaller end of the market. While large enterprise customer-facing employees are focused on internal politics and avoiding the next round of layoffs, small business owners can focus on providing excellent service and solving customer problems efficiently and affordably.

A good example of a disruptive innovator is Hubspot, a provider of marketing automation software located in Cambridge, MA. Formed in 2006 by MIT graduate Darmesh Shah and venture capitalist Brian Halligan, Hubspot started their business by providing an end-to-end internet marketing software solution to small businesses, a market that was not served prior to their entry. Five years later, Hubspot has grown to be ranked #33 on the Inc. 500 list (#2 for software providers.) As is typical of disruptive innovators, Hubspot is moving upmarket into the enterprise market.

Small businesses that use inbound marketing technology like Hubspot’s can get found by buyers and earn the right to have a conversation with them. When prospects see that you have the capabilities, determination and drive to solve their problems, you will win your share of business.

So take heart my friends – become a disruptive innovator!

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Jan 162012

baseball with "China" stamped on itA great many startup “experts” now recommend that new entrepreneurs outsource as much of the noncore tasks as possible. The arguments sound logical – leave the work to the professionals; focus on your core competencies; don’t be distracted by accounting/marketing/whatever details. But there are a few problems with this advice that you should be aware of before you send your business out to be handled by others.

Consider the Source.
Much of the outsourcing advice comes from those who benefit from you choosing to outsource. For example, “free” websites with startup information are making money…from the ad clicks and paid advertisements of outsource professionals! Check out the ads on and around these sites…if they convince you to hire one of those advertisers to do your work, they earn a piece of your fee. It’s not always bad advice, but be aware that they aren’t really providing you valuable information for nothing in return.

Is an Outsourced Business Really Yours?
Being a business owner is all about taking control of your work life and financial future. How much of that control are you willing to hand out to others? The job of an entrepreneur is more than just being your own boss. You are also your own accountant, attorney, sales staff, secretary, and janitor. If you only really want to play one of these roles, you might be better off working for someone else. Turning over too much responsibility to outsiders can be a huge mistake, especially if you don’t know exactly what they are doing for your business!

What you don’t know...
Many new entrepreneurs do not have a strong background in finance and accounting, or just plain don’t like to deal with numbers. Some figure it would just be easier to have someone else handle the marketing. Many believe the legal paperwork is just too complicated to do for themselves. The thing is that all of these skill sets are part and parcel to owning and running a successful business. It’s OK that you don’t know everything right now, but the trick is to use the startup process to learn all you can. After all, how can you pick the right professional to outsource to if you don’t know what you are looking for? Don’t let anybody tell you that it’s a good idea to let some stranger make important decisions for YOUR business…you need to have your hand in everything, especially during the early stages.

The reality is that in business the bottom line is the bottom line…the whole point is to make money. Turning over all responsibility to an outsource professional can be an enormous, irreparable mistake. They can’t possibly understand your business like you do, they can’t make the best, most strategic decisions for growing your company, and as long as you pay them their fee, there isn’t much motivation to go the extra mile. Business owners, especially those who want to make some serious money, must master the money matters on their own before handing it off to an outsider.

About the Author:
K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business based on their own idea. It includes step-by-step business startup instructions, key software, business tools, and more — a complete business kit. Visit to learn more about this revolutionary way to become an entrepreneur.

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Dec 192011

unemployed man with a signThe latest figures show the unemployment rate in the US is near 10%…that’s one in ten people out of work! And, the future isn’t looking particularly bright. Recent reports estimate the lack of work will continue through 2011, at least. You can’t sit around and wait for big business or the government to turn the economy around, so it’s pretty much up to you to take control for yourself. How can you get your financial life back on track? Put yourself to work!

Starting a business of your own is the best and only way to take complete control of your work life. Working for yourself means no layoffs, no wage freezes, no begging for a day off, no hoping that the big bossman will grant you a meager year-end bonus. When you work for yourself, YOU set your income goals and work as hard (or not) as needed to reach those goals. YOU develop a company culture that fits your personality. YOU establish your own work hours. And YOU decide when it’s time to grow.

Of course, starting a business requires a good bit of time and effort, but at least the work you do is just for you. When you want to earn more income, you put in more work. When you want a little time off, you take the time you need. Because it’s all on you, you will do the work to control the risks and because you are taking control of your worklife, you are more likely to stay motivated.

For many new entrepreneurs, the toughest part of independence is taking the first step…or even figuring out what that first step would be. If you’re just not sure where to start, start here:

Define Your Goals
Take a look at where you are now and where you want to be. Write it all down and cover all areas of your life.

Make the Tough Decisions
If you are drowning in debt, decide how to handle it. If you hate your job, set a deadline to make the change. If you don’t have any startup cash, figure out how to raise it. Look at the gap between where you are and where you want to be and create a concrete plan to close up that gap. If it seems like it will take forever, don’t let that bother you. If you start today, you are one day closer to where you want to be!

Pick a Startup
Brainstorm business ideas, find a modified version of your own big idea, talk to your friends and family about startup opportunities. It really doesn’t matter where you start with your independence, just that you get started. Most wildly successful entrepreneur change direction a number of times before landing on the perfect opportunity. And, more opportunities seem to appear once you’ve taken the first step.

Educate Yourself
Entrepreneurship is its own separate profession. Becoming an expert requires that you learn the fundamentals of a bunch of other professions, including accounting, marketing, financial management, sales, logistics, even secretarial and janitorial duties. Beyond that, you will learn to incorporate all those basic skills and add the key ingredient to success – innovation. Innovation is finding a new, better way to get things done. It might be a change in the product, the sales process, or even in administrative functions, but innovations are the one factor that will make you a success. To be able to identify those innovations, you have to know the basics.

Watch for opportunity
Once you have taken the first leap into entrepreneurship (which might even just be making the decision to go out on your own!), you will begin to see opportunities all around you. Don’t be afraid to pursue multiple opportunities. As long as you manage your time well, having a bunch of hooks in the water will multiply your odds of catching some fish!

About the Author:
K. MacKillop, a serial entrepreneur, is founder of LaunchX and authors a small business startup blog. The LaunchX System is designed to help entrepreneurs start a business based on their own idea. It includes step-by-step business startup instructions, key software, business tools, and more — a complete business kit. Visit to learn more about this revolutionary way to become an entrepreneur.

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Nov 112011

young business womanThere are different ways in which people approach leadership responsibilities, but evidently the best way to do that is when people take them up joyfully. It is within you to make your leadership journey interesting. And it has to be a constant effort. What can you do to make your leadership more exciting for yourself, and for your team? Here is a blueprint to create more joy in your career.

  1. What is it that can put a smile on your face? Think about your career. There can be various aspects about it that you look forward to. Maybe you look forward to those group discussion sessions or those team building games. Maybe you really enjoy creating strategies. Analyze and find out things that truly make you happy.
  2. What is it that is putting a dampener on your happiness? You have to sort that out first. What are the setbacks, constraints and limitations? Make a list of them.
  3. Make an effort to do at least one thing every day that makes you happy. This could be something as simple as taking a break in the midmorning or walking through your team’s cubicles. Do something that you like every day.
  4. Sit down and assess how the detrimental factors in your life are holding you back. Think of the impact they are making in your life.
  5. Which of the negative aspects in your life can you control? You will find out that some of them can be controlled by minor adjustments, while others will take some effort. Make short and long term plans as necessary. Then implement those plans.
  6. Was there something in the past that has held you back? Are the shadows still lingering? If that is happening, you just have to think how your future can be enhanced by letting go of those shadows. You need to break yourself free of those ghosts and look at the future.
  7. Maybe you need to share things with others. Most times, keeping issues within your heart can compound matters. If you have trusted people you can speak to, your burdens may be lightened.

Think about these points. If you want to reclaim joy in your career and make your leadership a more interesting journey, these are things that you should plan on and implement in your career.

About the Authors:
Jodi and Mike specialize in executive coaching with individuals and teams. By the way, do you want to learn more about leadership in your company? If so, download your free ebook here: Elegant Courage Leadership.

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