2 Things That Kills Entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

 

Now that I have experience and teaching entrepreneurship at UNCC has given me a unique view of success and failure. I had a mentor tell me years ago that you can learn more from failure than you can from success. I really didn’t know what he was talking about at the time but I sure do now.

Failure

For some reason (probably the pain) failure tends to stick with me more. I don’t like thinking about my failures but as I fail and succeed the more negative is a better teacher.  In the pursuit of better teaching, I have added a module to my class on why entrepreneurs fail. I don’t really like to teach on it but the students seem to really take to the information, and I have found two things that seem to be consistent to lack of business startup success.

Thing 1

Entrepreneurs are a very funny breed. You need to have a strong stomach, thick skin and a lazer focus. All of that equates to what the rest of the world calls stubbornness. If you are an entrepreneur or you know one you know that you can barely talk them out of anything. When we first started AvidXchange in 2000 it was five heard strong – wanting to do it my way – men. You can imagine the arguments we had. It’s difficult to change an entrepreneur’s mind when they get stuck on some idea and they are convinced that their idea is going to be the next big thing. (However) That is the first failure, which is the inability to change. When an entrepreneur is so wedded to their idea that they won’t change or aren’t creative enough to change it’s only a matter of time before the business begins to suffer. I am sure there are exceptions to this, but in the innovative tech world (that I live in) change is key to success. It is, however, interesting that you can change too much, so there has to be a balancing act between changing and staying focused. It is important to mention that cycles have a tendency to operate in 18 month groups. I can’t remember where I got this from, but it’s been years since I was introduced to this idea and I have used it successfully to keep the balance between change and changing too much.

Thing 2

The next thing that will kill entrepreneurs is selling. All successful entrepreneurs are great salespeople. The problem is that so many people have such a negative view of selling that they either won’t give it a chance (because it’s a learned skill) or are unable to recognize good selling. When good selling in done well by a pro the person being sold to will have no idea and they will think the person is being honest or displaying a lot of integrity. With this failure there is the obvious… if the entrepreneur can’t or (this is what happens most of the time) won’t sell then the company won’t make any money which is a quick road to failure. Consider this too, that as an entrepreneur selling to customers is important but selling to advisors, bankers, investors, board members, employees and family (especially family) is just as important.

Think of This

Not being able or unwilling to sell and not changing put a person in a position to where all of their eggs are on the sides of the road (not even in a basket) and both selling and being able to evaluate opportunity are skills that can learned and taught and improved.

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and Queen’s University as well as  travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

2 Things That Kills Entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

 

Teaching entrepreneurship at UNCC has given me a unique view of success and failure. Years ago, a mentor told me that you learn more from failure than you do from success. I really didn’t know what he was talking about at the time, but I do now.

Failure

For some reason (probably the pain), failure tends to stick with me more. In the pursuit of better teaching, I have added a module to my class on why entrepreneurs fail. I don’t really like to teach on it, but the students seem to take to the information, and I have found two things that seem to be consistent in a lack of business startup success.

Thing 1

Entrepreneurs are a very funny breed. You need to have a strong stomach, thick skin and a laser focus. All of this equals what the rest of the world calls stubbornness. When we first started AvidXchange in 2000, it was five head strong – I do it my way – men. You can imagine the arguments we had. It’s difficult to change an entrepreneur’s mind when they get stuck on some idea and they are convinced that their idea is going to be the next big thing. (However) That is the first failure, the inability to change. When an entrepreneur is so wedded to an idea, refusing to change it, or not creative enough to, it’s only a matter of time before the business begins to suffer. I am sure there are exceptions to this, but in the innovative tech world (that I live in) change is key to success. It is, however, possible that you can change too much.  There has to be some balancing act between changing and staying focused. It is important to mention that cycles have a tendency to operate in 18 month time periods. I do not remember where I heard this, but it’s been years since I was first introduced to this idea and I have used it successfully to maintain balance between change and too much change.

Thing 2

The next thing that will inhibit the entrepreneur is selling. All successful entrepreneurs are great salespeople. The problem is that so many people have such a negative view of selling that they either won’t give it a chance (because it’s a learned skill), or are unable to recognize good selling. When selling is done by a pro, the person being sold to will have no idea they are being sold to.  They will believe the salesperson is being honest, and displaying a lot of integrity. This failure is the obvious… if the entrepreneur can’t, or (this is what happens most of the time) won’t sell, then the company will not make any money – a quick road to failure. Consider too, as an entrepreneur, selling to customers is important but selling to advisors, bankers, investors, board members, employees and family (especially family) is just as important.

Think of This

Not being able or willing to sell, and unwillingness to change put a person in the position of having all their eggs on the sides of the road (not even in a basket).  Both selling and being able to evaluate opportunities are skills that can be learned, taught and improved.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

The One Word That Kills All #Entrepreneurs – #entrepreneurship

What? One word can’t kill… It’s true. I am at the end of another semester and this one was better than ever. However, three things happen at the end of each semester I teach.

  1. I am somewhat sad it’s over – Some of those bright young people who I have enjoyed their energy and effort over 12 weeks, I will never see again. I will miss getting together each week and being a little nervous that what I am teaching that week won’t connect and surprised when it does…
  2. I am somewhat happy it’s over – The grind was a bit much, having a full-time job, traveling and teaching. I dislike grading paper as much as I disliked having to write them as a student.
  3. Time to reflect – Even though I have been teaching the topic of entrepreneurship for three years now, I still think a lot about what went well and what didn’t go so well. My thoughts, when I let them, dwell more on what didn’t go well and how I can improve it.

Improvement?

As I was wading thought improvements of this semester I realized that I could do a better job explaining the overall landscape of the entrepreneurial world. Things like social entrepreneurialism, or Intrapreneurship, and things like, startups, main street and fast growth entrepreneurialism. Then my mind went to wanting to add a module (those are what I call teaching units) to the class on failure. So much of the class works off the idea that if you apply the principles and concepts I teach you will be successful, but I never talk about the things that will kill a business. Plenty of business ideas have failed even if it’s a great idea, and plenty of businesses have succeed with a bad idea… same holds true with the people in the business… having great people doesn’t insure success (it helps a lot but it’s not a sure thing). That’s when I came up with this…

The Killer

I believe the one word that can kill all entrepreneurs and their efforts is (drum roll) assume. Entrepreneurs that assume their idea is good or they have a market or the level of effort to succeed is low as well as support and abilities are in deep (deep) trouble. Assuming that a five-year exit is possible even when asked, “who do you plan to exit to…” is answered with, “I don’t know” is ridiculous. Assuming that your product or idea is relevant, needed, useful, innovative, marketable, achievable and good is dangerous. Here is the rub – that there are no secrets to success as an entrepreneur and action is the best course (I call that the fire – aim – ready method), assuming without testing, data or experience is the quickest way to kill your idea. Don’t do it!

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and Queens University and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.

2 Things That Kills Entrepreneurship #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship

 

Now that I have experience and teaching entrepreneurship at UNCC has given me a unique view of success and failure. I had a mentor tell me years ago that you can learn more from failure than you can from success. I really didn’t know what he was talking about at the time but I sure do now.

Failure

For some reason (probably the pain) failure tends to stick with me more. I don’t like thinking about my failures but as I fail and succeed the more negative is a better teacher.  In the pursuit of better teaching, I have added a module to my class on why entrepreneurs fail. I don’t really like to teach on it but the students seem to really take to the information, and I have found two things that seem to be consistent to lack of business startup success.

Thing 1

Entrepreneurs are a very funny breed. You need to have a strong stomach, thick skin and a lazer focus. All of that equates to what the rest of the world calls stubbornness. If you are an entrepreneur or you know one you know that you can barely talk them out of anything. When we first started AvidXchange in 2000 it was five heard strong – wanting to do it my way – men. You can imagine the arguments we had. It’s difficult to change an entrepreneur’s mind when they get stuck on some idea and they are convinced that their idea is going to be the next big thing. (However) That is the first failure, which is the inability to change. When an entrepreneur is so wedded to their idea that they won’t change or aren’t creative enough to change it’s only a matter of time before the business begins to suffer. I am sure there are exceptions to this, but in the innovative tech world (that I live in) change is key to success. It is, however, interesting that you can change too much, so there has to be a balancing act between changing and staying focused. It is important to mention that cycles have a tendency to operate in 18 month groups. I can’t remember where I got this from, but it’s been years since I was introduced to this idea and I have used it successfully to keep the balance between change and changing too much.

Thing 2

The next thing that will kill entrepreneurs is selling. All successful entrepreneurs are great salespeople. The problem is that so many people have such a negative view of selling that they either won’t give it a chance (because it’s a learned skill) or are unable to recognize good selling. When good selling in done well by a pro the person being sold to will have no idea and they will think the person is being honest or displaying a lot of integrity. With this failure there is the obvious… if the entrepreneur can’t or (this is what happens most of the time) won’t sell then the company won’t make any money which is a quick road to failure. Consider this too, that as an entrepreneur selling to customers is important but selling to advisors, bankers, investors, board members, employees and family (especially family) is just as important.

Think of This

Not being able or unwilling to sell and not changing put a person in a position to where all of their eggs are on the sides of the road (not even in a basket) and both selling and being able to evaluate opportunity are skills that can learned and taught and improved.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels around the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, presentation skills, change, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people who started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information

To Fail or Not Fail – That is the Question? #Sales #APAutomation #SaaSSales

We had a saying in our company… I haven’t heard it in a long time. I think it’s because we are getting bigger and we are less comfortable admitting our failures. We used to say that we would like to, “Fail early and fail fast.

Early and Fast?

For an early stage start-up with no cash, this is a very good attitude. It helped us get out of the things that were burning too much time and money (two things that were in short supply). Maybe it’s the fact that I am getting older – some tell me I am getting wiser (I sure hope so – my 13 year-old daughter said that all of the gray hair in my beard was wisdom, which I replied that’s not true it was you and your brothers and sister driving me crazy – quick note – I love my kids)  but I have been thinking a lot about failure.

What Is Failure?

As salespeople we are constantly faced with what the outside world would consider failures. We don’t always capitalize on opportunities, matter of a fact a good rep would miss more than they would land, and we seem to be in a constant state of rejection both outside the company and inside. Folks, failure is all around… but is it really? The best lessons I have learned came from failures. The more painful the outcome the better the lesson. I truly believe that I am a collection of my successes and failures, but (and this is the key) I have never let my failures bother me. They are lessons, they are outcomes that have happened to me, but they don’t define me and they should not define you.

Never!

Never become your failures. Once you start to identify with your failures and start believing that you are the failure, you have trouble. The business world will beat you up enough. You have the ability to take at least one person out of the beat down… and… that’s you. I had a mentor (over 20 years ago) that gave me great perspective on failure. He made me recite verbatim the list.

  • Never see failure as failure but as…
    • The opportunity to practice my techniques and prefect my performance
    • The negative feedback to change the course of my direction (this is my favorite)
    • The opportunity to improve my sense of humor

The last one strikes a particular cord. I have never laughed, especially with my wife, she find it so entertaining, so hard than I laugh at myself for the silly – boneheaded things that I do.

Hope

Remember this, people are not failures… things are. There are only outcomes and those outcomes are dependent on people to attach labels to them. Instead of applying the label as a failure, apply the label of teaching, feedback or entertainment.

Want to know more? Buy My Books!

To buy the book – The Argument to Automate – How Innovation Can INSPIRE Not Fire – click here to buy

(Also) To get your copy of The 8 Pitfalls of Accounts Payable Automation – click here to buy

How about a children’s book? The Princess and the Paper – click here to buy

About The Author:

Christopher Elmore has written 8 books, countless articles, lectures at UNC – Charlotte and travels the country speaking on the topics of startup success, sales, SaaS sales, presentation skills, entrepreneurship, accounts payable and payment automation. Having deep startup and entrepreneurial experience, Christopher was one of the six people that started AvidXchange in 2000 and continues to work in the business today. If you hire Christopher to speak or teach at your company or event… you won’t be sorry! Request a media kit or contact us for more information.