By the end of a normal Friday morning, the front of my brain would have heard, dissected and categorized some hundreds of ideas, and I would have figured out one thread of hopefully a meaningful subject to twist around my travels to Vermont, my teaching at Tufts or my working at the NH beach. This Friday is complicated by way too many jumbled "new normal" activities...not any different from any of you, I'm sure.
One does not need to be an entrepreneur to be entrepreneurial, so it's with that thought that I share a few ideas to take you through the holidays and hopefully a couple of days off for a much-needed break.
In the spirit of sharing, the first three of these came to me last week from one of the all-time great entrepreneurs, CB Vaughn, the founder of CB Sports, who revolutionized the world of skiing and championship ski racing by designing and manufacturing outwear that became the market leader in design, while being extremely functional on the hill. Still today, when people notice that I worked with CB, they will stop and tell me about the first CB parka that they bought, its color, and how they had saved up for a year to make the purchase at top ski shops like Pedigree Sports.
Always Inspire !Above everything else, inspire your team and your customers to want to do work with you! At CB Sports, we weren't the biggest, but we were certainly the leading brand in terms of design, quality and functionality! There was never a question as to the absolute focus on our customers and the value that we provided. Long before the clinical marketing term of "persona" was conceived, we knew exactly who are customers were...and were not. With CB's very strong leadership, all of us from associates to suppliers to retailers were totally driven to focus exactly on the team on the hill.
Be Prepared for Your Own SuperBowl !During the time that I worked with CB, he had the drive and, most importantly, the discipline of preparation to be able to interpret and translate the smallest detail into the impact and the value that it delivered to our customers. His SuperBowl has always been the customer experience, which, when you think about it should always define our own success in everything we do.
4th & 1: You Don't Need a Playbook !In any company, whether it's one of my many emerging startups that we innovate out of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, or it's an established rapid-growth company like CB Sports, there are those critical times when you need to take control of the ball and just drive decisively down the field and win!
Entrepreneurship is About Making Change Happen in your own world!Growing up as a corporate guy at Becton Dickinson, even though my great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father were all very different entrepreneurs, I couldn't spell "entrepreneurship" before I started sitting in the audience at the MIT Enterprise Forum, where years later I became an avid volunteer and a committed board member and chairman.
Back-in-the-day, even after working with CB and then starting a company when I returned to Boston, and then another company and another and more, I always thought of entrepreneurship as doing just that. I thought that entrepreneurship was all about starting companies and moving up and to the right from Concept to Team to Structure to Scale to Success. And, while that's somewhat true, that path works only in a tiny 1% of 1% of companies that actually succeed, and even then, it's never a straight line.
Of much more importance is our own entrepreneurial ability that's present in all of us to initiate and make change happen in whatever piece of the world where we choose to make it happen!
In among the holiday presents, the marvelous food and the travel, I would ask you to take a tiny slice of time and think about mapping out your own entrepreneurial journey for 2020. I've just completed mine and looking forward to hearing about yours!
Have a wonderful holiday!
Enjoy ! Hug! Be Safe!
Make Change Happen!
Please stay connected! firstname.lastname@example.org
I've probably listened to, coached or presented in 10-20,000 presentations.
- Early volunteering and chairing the MIT Enterprise Forum, was my first love!
- Being involved in the leadership of 4 or 5 other entrepreneurship associations
- 20 years of teaching at MIT in early stage business planning
- 14 years of teaching at Tufts in entrepreneurial marketing and sales
- Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center & Cummings Professor of entrepreneurship
- 9 of my own startups-a few very good, some just ok, and some "what was I thinking?"
- A venture guy in three early stage venture firms and chairing Common Angels.
A couple of years ago, when we took over what has now been rebranded as the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, we knew we could most importantly take entrepreneurship to the next level at this extraordinary University with 10 of the highest ranking research schools in the country. We're really urgent, so we quickly moved ahead breaking more than a few rules along the way always focused on creating the absolute best student experience!
Sure, I get it...work, life, and relationships are often wicked complicated, maybe even overcomplicated, but that's life! Way too often we overthink things, especially at work, to the point of making the already complicated impossibly cluttered, slow to enact and painful in which to participate. Recently, I've adopted with my work and my teaching a concept of frequently taking a view 100 feet off the deck and asking myself and others..."Aren't we overthinking this?", and, typically, I am discovering that the answer is a resounding "Yes".
May is always a bittersweet time !
It's the end of the academic year and the realization that hundreds of our students at the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center will graduate opening the next chapter in their books of life and in their careers. We know from our data that the majority will join larger companies where they will bring their entrepreneurial spirit of curiosity and innovation. Right alongside our congratulating the seniors going to work at Google, Hubspot, Linked and other companies where we can open doors, we are also closely watching and coaching a handful of companies being birthed right now as a result of this spring's very successful Tufts $100K New Ventures Competition
My Hubspot blog template asks me this morning "What are we writing about today?". This Thursday morning, I'm pretty consumed with the excitement and the logistics of tomorrow's day-long Founder's Workshop and its incredible line up of real-life entrepreneurs, early stage investors and expert coaches, all focused on making sure that our early stage entrepreneurs do not fall off the cliff.
Tags: entreprenurial, business coaching, Tufts Gordon Institute, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, sales success, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
Back-in-the-day, working in corporate healthcare at Becton Dickinson, I didn’t know how to spell the word, “entrepreneurship”. Even though three prior generations of my family had built businesses, that word would have been confusing at best since all that was talked about around the kitchen table was “the stores”. It was the stores, open six days a week and Friday nights where my grandfather, father, mother, and me and my brothers worked. It was never thought to be anything special.
Tags: entreprenurial, sales and marketing best practices, The Competitive Edge, Tufts Gordon Institute, Tufts internships, Tufts ELS, entrepreneurship, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship
Been a wicked busy and wicked cold January, so not much in the way of blogging, but now with this leap into February, I’m back at it. It was my great grandfather Horace, who lived up the road a piece in the beautiful town of Poultney, Vermont, who talked about 8 months of snow, 2 months of mosquitoes and 2 months of “just damn poor sleddin’”. My family has lived in this valley for just about 250 years, and what I know is that it takes real work to live here. Vermont’s beautiful on one hand, and just hardscrabble tough on the other.
Tags: entreprenurial, how to write a business plan, writing a business plan, Tufts university, entrepreneurship, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, Tufts Entrepreneurship, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center
When I became the Director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center, one of the Center's professors, a great guy and a superb instructor noted in our first faculty meeting "since you are the oldest..." , at which time, I jokingly cut him off, and he quickly course-corrected to point out... "I meant, you've been teaching here the longest".
I've also realized during the last six months through Tufts' very unique perspective on entrepreneurship, innovation and research, that age has its benefits.
Two thirds of the way through this superb summer and plenty of time left to take a bit of vaca, squish the sand between the toes, pack those gotta-read-this-summer books into the beach bag, and in general just prepare yourself physically and mentally for the wicked fast acceleration into the first week of September.
The Dog Days of August occur when everyone realizes that the beginning of the summa' has passed them by, and now there's just five weeks left to take some time off and do that forced relaxation thing. Forget trying to find anyone in France or Italy, and the same applies to any venture or PE person in the U.S, who all seem to be hiding out on Nantucket. It is what it is, and September will be here soon enough. To a degree, who cares, since this is all about you, so right now, this morning, click open your calendar and just mark off all the days you can with the words "beach", "golf", "kids" or "nothing". You won't get another chance since when it's over, it's over