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Entrepreneurial Insight from Business Innovation Experts - Part 1

August 01, 2016

In honor of I4E Tech Week, we caught up with our I4E Business Innovation Experts.

In honor of Innovations 4 Entrepreneurs (I4E) Tech Week, we caught up with our I4E Business Innovation Experts and asked them a series of questions about business and entrepreneurship. Today, our respondents discuss why they are so passionate about entrepreneurship, and offer advice to small business owners and entrepreneurs on how to manage operations.

Why are you so passionate about helping small business owners and entrepreneurs?

Orly Zeewy, Brand Architect says:

On a personal note, I know what it’s like to start a business based on an idea and a dream and give it your all every day. I also LOVE the infectious passion and positive energy that comes through from every entrepreneur I’ve worked with.

Anita Campbell, CEO, Small Business Trends says:

In my view, being a business owner is a calling. It takes a special person willing to risk his or her own capital to build a business, employ people, serve customers, and support the local community. It's become cliché to say things like "small businesses are the lifeblood of the American economy." But the reality is, clichés become clichés BECAUSE there's truth to them. That's why they get repeated so often. So I've made it my mission to support other business owners with advice, news and guidance that has the ring of authenticity because it's coming from those in the trenches.

John Jantsch, Founder, Duct Tape Marketing says:

I suppose it's because I am one myself and I love it. I want others to enjoy the freedom and fulfillment that owning a small business brings and it's tough to do that if you're struggling to get clients and customers.

Robert Irvine, Restauranteur, Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur, says:

I’m passionate about the direct impact we can have on real people, their families, and their livelihoods. I find all of those I am blessed to help to be truly inspirational, and I often say that all of us were put here on Earth to provide help to others. When you look at cooking, I believe it is the challenge of achieving perfection with a few quality ingredients and watching how the end result can bring people together. The same concept, and passion, applies to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Charles Sacco, Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship says:

Entrepreneurship is critical to the long-term success of our economy and entrepreneurs are increasingly necessary to ensure a great future. New ideas, new markets and new business models are what will help continue to improve standards of living and provide more opportunities for employment and success.

Brian Meece, Entrepreneur and Co-founder of RocketHub says:

Startups and small businesses are the backbone of the United States. Over 50 percent of the American working population works in a small business. That comes out to be about 120 million people! Interestingly enough, small businesses have generated over 65 percent of the net new jobs since 1995. So it’s satisfying to help entrepreneurs launch and grow their ventures, knowing how vital they are to our country.

What advice do you have for small business owners and entrepreneurs when it comes to operations?

Orly Zeewy, Brand Architect says:

Unless you are a stellar manager, hire a COO sooner than later so you can be the brand advocate for the company and do what most entrepreneurs do so well. Only the founder of the business can fully embody the vision and build a following—at least in the beginning.

Anita Campbell, CEO, Small Business Trends says:

Be hands on enough to know how every part of your business is done. Notice I didn't say that you must actually DO everything. Quite the opposite. You should not ever try to do everything yourself.

But how can you effectively hire good people to be responsible for an area if you can't train that person or at least understand enough to recognize what is good performance? Also, by knowing each area of your business you gain greater appreciation for what can go wrong, why and how to fix it.

If you come from a corporate management background, pay special attention. You may be used to working in an organization filled with subject matter experts who all know far more about their areas than you would. In a small business or startup, it's different. You're more likely to be hiring generalists rather than specialists, or doing the task yourself at first. As the owner, you are much closer to the daily operations burden. I know because that is what shocked me when I moved from the corporate world to my own business.

So be prepared to be hands-on enough to be effective in running your business, but stop short of trying to do everything yourself.

John Jantsch, Founder, Duct Tape Marketing says:

Fewer priorities and greater focus - delegate everything that is not a high payoff activity.

Robert Irvine, Restauranteur, Celebrity Chef and Entrepreneur, says:

Restaurant owners should understand how to emphasize the importance of exceptional customer service to the dining team, smart accounting and inventory planning to the F&B management team, and quality execution to the kitchen staff. If there is someone paying very close attention to these primary aspects of a restaurant’s operations, then they will be successful.

Charles Sacco, Assistant Dean of Strategic Initiatives, Charles D. Close School of Entrepreneurship says:

Outsource as much as you can in the beginning. You need to focus on the core and most important elements of your business, which are your product and your customers. Everything else should be done by someone else as you get started.

Brian Meece, Entrepreneur and Co-founder of RocketHub says:

Stay incredibly organized with your financials, operational workflow, and people management. Don't be sloppy!

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