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!
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