Random Thoughts, Questions, Observations & Commentary

What does the “new normal” mean for your business? Many owners and entrepreneurs are throwing the proverbial book out the window as we struggle to pull out of the recession and face a more uncertain future. I’m curious how that is affecting the strategic planning process for business owners and entrepreneurs. How do you see you and your business changing? Can you rely on the same business model for the future?

The best business book I’ve read in years is The Loyalty Effect by Frederick Reichheld. It explains, in rigorous detail, why and how a focus on building customer loyalty generates the greatest value for a company and its stakeholders.

How relevant is the elevator pitch today? I’ve noticed in the past few years that investors and entrepreneurs don’t talk about it as much, yet we continue to see elevator pitch competitions on college campuses and at collegiate conferences. Instead, I like the idea that Craig Wortmann uses at the University of Chicago, which puts an emphasis on generating customers. After all, that is the best source of financing for an entrepreneur.

More than 40 percent of CEOs take it personally.” That’s all?! Even more proof that corporate executives are different from business owners (privately-held).

Is the economy stimulating entrepreneurial activity on campus? My answer is no, with the theory that most college/graduate students who start businesses do so because of passion. As a result, their decision-making process typically doesn’t factor in economic cycles, competitive developments, personal risk, etc. While it’s widely believed that a recession is the best time to start a company, I don’t believe that it’s driving entrepreneurial activity among young people. Instead, I think that it’s a more informed and experienced youth – a generation that grew up with entrepreneurial/laid-off parents, greater exposure to entrepreneurship program rankings, and increased teaching of entrepreneurship in high school.

Perhaps this is a sign that entrepreneurship is becoming too sexy. In recent weeks, I’ve seen the following iterations of the word: Mompreneur, technopreneur, HRpreneuring, ecopreneurship, agropreneurship.

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