Entrepreneurship for the rest of us

Last Tuesday, I wrote about The Tufts $100K Business Plan contest and its upcoming semi-finals which occurred last Thursday night. 50 Plus solid teams of students and faculty who had completed detailed applications, provided business plans and videos were narrowed down to 15, who will now be moving on to the Finals to be held on April 13th 6:00-9:00 PM.  I am looking forward to seeing you there!   For more information on last Thursday and just superb examples of the reality of what true entrepreneurship is, please click here for our LinkedIn post.   

Unfortunately, what has also occurred at exactly the same time is the very difficult situation caused by the mismanagement of the senior execs of Silicon Valley Bank, which continues to make waves in the tech market and will most probably cascade into the general banking community of small banks everywhere.  Clearly a very tough situation, and for those of us who start and invest in companies, the reality of corrections we will now need to take will slow down what we should be doing at this time of year...which is figuring out how to better market and sell our products and services.  

as managers, It's important to focus on what we can control

What we, as entrepreneurs, personally cannot control is the external banking environment and what will now assuredly result in in terms of tighter controls.  For many weeks ahead, we'll listen to the histrionics of politicians, bankers and administrators pointing fingers at one another while mandating increased controls, and that, in turn, will hopefully reign in bad management.   

In the meantime, what we can not only "control", but we can invest time and money into are a few of five business fundamentals of successful entrepreneurship.  Success in entrepreneurship for the rest of us always ...especially in difficult times...comes down to intense leadership focus in markets, in product, and in selling value to real people and not allowing the team to be distracted. 


Just a few ideas to think about this morning while a different type of a wicked weatha' storm encompasses us here in Boston!   



For more than a few ideas and real fingers-in-the-dirt details, take a look at our free Writing the Winning Sales Plan for 2023.  

Or you can just email me, and I will send you a free copy, and
, of course, you can connect with me at any time for questions, comments or just catching up. 


Connect with me at any time for some quick ideas and feedback. 

There's never a cost for a call or two, plus I love listening and talking about Sales & Marketing.   

Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts.






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Tags: angel investing, how to write a business plan, Derby Entrepreneurship Center@Tufts, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Entrepreneurship starts with Ideas

Last week, I noted with great pride that Pitchbook's annual university rankings of the top producers of U.S. venture capital-backed startup founders listed Tufts in its top 50 universities in the country!  Great to be listed alongside other MA-based universities like MIT, Harvard and BU, who also made the top 50. For me as a Tufts professor, this listing drives directly to the overarching mission of Tufts and its uniqueness to actively promote innovation and research across all of our 11 schools. 

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Tags: how to write a business plan, Tufts Entrepreneurship, entrepreneurshipfortherestofus, Teaching at Tufts University, Derby Entrepreneurship Center at Tufts, 2023 Business Planning, 2023 Sales Planning, 2023 Marketing Plans

Everyone has a plan until you get punched in the mouth!

That phrase about planning comes from the infamous Mike Tyson decades ago, and it came immediately to mind over the last two weeks as I listened to the unfolding 5G fiasco after ten years of planning for a much-anticipated rollout. 

Tyson's plan was always to be to be the brawler, the bruiser, the biggest and ultimately the baddest guy in the ring which he demonstrated to the extreme by biting off the ear of Evander Holyfield in a title fight.  Not much of a plan, but maybe it was.

More importantly to the fiasco of the 5G plan...

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Tags: sales and marketing best practices, how to write a business plan, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan, how to write a sales plan, writing sales plans, 2022 business planning, 2022 sales planning

Come & write a book with me...

This past Wednesday, I started to see a few hundred downloads of my ebook on "Writing the Winning Business Plan", and then a few hundred more on Thursday, and already early this AM, lots of detailed questions from readers. Then I realized that it's that time of year that new students in the MITx course on business planning were gearing up, and this is a core read.  The book is also used in my own teaching every fall at MIT in the ME course taught by Dr. Chun, who asked me 21 years ago if I could assist in teaching a few business principles to his undergrad and grad students.  That exciting experience, which continues every fall at MIT, also led me to the opportunity to teach at Tufts 16 years ago.  

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Tags: marketing productivity, small business management, business coaching, how to write a business plan, marketing planning, writing business plans, 2022 business planning

The marketing of me...and you

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Tue, Sep 15, 2020

I've been a student of marketing now for decades.  I teach it, I practice it, I study it, and I always seem to be running fast just to keep up...which is exactly why marketing is so exciting today.  So that I never overthink the subject, the profession or its complexities, I always come back to the simplicity of Regis McKenna's iconic February, 1991 HBR article, "Marketing is Everything", which still rings true today...maybe even more so today...as I re-read this morning just one paragraph from the article.

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Tags: sales management effectiveness, sales effectiveness, marketing productivity, how to write a business plan, how to write a sales plan, marketing planning

Embracing healthy change in unhealthy times

Yesterday, I completed my virtual follow-up visit with my cardiologist, Dr. Michael at MGH.  It's hard to even use those words, "my cardiologist" after being diagnosed with "massive heart disease" (another uncomfortable choice of words) five years ago with 100% of one artery blocked and 60% of another. 

The only reason I lived was that I had grown two new arteries which "naturally bypassed" the two diseased arteries. Who knew?  Not me!  Not my Vermont country doc who had incorrectly diagnosed my shortness of breath as asthma and loaded me down with three different scripts for inhalers which I used for years before moving back to Boston and new docs at MGH.  

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Tags: Sales Best Practices, Sales Management Best Practices, sales effectiveness, sales enablment, how to write a business plan, sales planning meetings, 2020 business plans, 2020 sales plans

Jump Off ! Don't Look Down!  Plan! Push & Measure!

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Sat, Mar 09, 2019

It's the beginning of March, and we all know what March is good for !

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Tags: sales management boot camp, how to write a business plan, writing a business plan, business planning meetings, Making Tough Choices, jack derby professor at Tufts, sales effectivness, sales motivation, Tufts Entrepreneurship Center

Lessons in Life and Entrepreneurship from Vermont

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.

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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

Live to Learn, Learn to Teach

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Thu, Mar 24, 2016
Learn a little about Sales, learn a lot about Sales...everyday


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Tags: sales, business planning, how to write a business plan, Tufts Marketing, marketing interns, marketing plans, how to write a marketing plan

Want to be One of the Cool Kids?...and Sales

Posted by Jack Derby, Head Coach on Wed, Dec 10, 2014

Ever been on the other side of the Team?

  • Not included by the Cool Kids? 
  • Left out of the really important front-office activities? 
  • Relegated to "those people back in the factory"?

How did not being on the Team feel?  
...Not so good , I expect.














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Tags: Sales Optimization, Sales Best Practices, sales and marketing best practices, sales management, sales effectiveness, sales enablement, sales management training, sales training, sales producitivity, how to write a business plan, improving sales productivity