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5 Leadership Lessons: Built Not Born

Built Not Born

IF you are considering starting your own business or struggling to get one off the ground, Tom Golisano’s Built Not Born will be very valuable. Entrepreneurship is not easy, but it can be rewarding, provided you keep some basic business principles in mind.

With $3000 and a credit card in hand, Tom Golisano started what has become today the multi-billion-dollar Paychex. Golisano takes us through what he experienced from start to finish, what not to forget, and what the business owner is responsible for and the importance of understanding every aspect of your business.

Much of the advice is obvious, but in the thick of running a business, all too easy to forget. And Golisano keeps the critical issues front and center. “Running a business, any business, means challenges, some expected and others that come out of the blue. It comes with the territory. It’s an old aphorism, but it’s true nevertheless: If you can’t stand the heat, get out of the kitchen.” While entrepreneurship is not for everyone, going in well-informed is essential to success.

1  The Business Plan: It’s easy to let passion cloud your judgment. “That’s the myth many business books peddle: ‘Follow your passion,’ or ‘Believe it and you’ll achieve it.’ That sort of thinking can lead you down a dangerous path. The most important thing when planning your business should be the accuracy of your facts and statistics. Another important thing not only to understand but to accept with every fiber of your being is that a first-rate business plan can often tell you not to start the business at all but run away and run fast. It’s critical that you take a hard look at the actual numbers and be candid with yourself about what they are telling you.”

2  Financials: “If you don’t understand financial statements, you are running your business blindfolded. I think many entrepreneurs get into trouble simply because they don’t understand their financial statements, of which the balance sheet and the profit and loss statement are the most important. If you know your numbers, you know your business. Any entrepreneur who does not understand financial statements is in great danger.”

3  Cash Flow: “If your business is short of cash, the first place to look is at your sales productivity. Cash flow problems are a direct result of not generating enough revenue through sales. Therefore, they are actually a sales problem, not a cash flow problem. The biggest mistake entrepreneurs make is a tendency to overestimate their ability to sell their product or service.”

4  Business Knowledge: “Often, entrepreneurs not only have large gaps in their business knowledge and experience but also are completely blind to their deficiencies. If you want to improve your chances of success, be honest with yourself and recognize the weaknesses in your business education and your business acumen, and seek help from a mentor or take courses to learn what you need to know.

When you think of a thoroughbred racehorse, no matter how good it is, no matter its lineage or pedigree, it won’t win races if it’s ridden by a poor jockey. The same can be said of a business.”

5  Family: “A common regret I am sure I share with many entrepreneurs is not spending as much time with my family as I should have. This a tough one because you are working hard building your company so that you can provide a better standard of living for your spouse and children. However, I do regret not finding a better balance. Work-life balance has become a big thing in business in recent years, and I’m not sure how qualified I am in giving advice on the subject, but remember it’s no good being successful and having no one with whom to share that success.”

Always keep in mind, a lasting legacy is built on we, not I.

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Posted by Michael McKinney at 08:02 AM
| Comments (0) | This post is about Entrepreneurship , Five Lessons



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