Lists of entrepreneurial qualitiesaboundon the web. After a couple years of working with entrepreneurs and start-ups, I’ve come to the conclusion that while entrepreneurs in aggregate do exhibit many similar personal qualities, the success of their start-up is a different issue altogether and tied to a much more extensive set of factors.
So my personal “scorecard” for initial evaluation of entrepreneurs includes both personal factors and opportunity factors. I typically look at four factors in each category. What follows is a quick overview of my thought process in an initial meeting with an entrepreneur.
There’s an old cliche in the investment community that they would rather invest in “an A team with a B product, then a B team with an A product.” This speaks to the importance of the people involved in any start-up, and I tend to judge the entrepreneur before I judge the idea. Following are the four factors that weigh heavily in my evaluation of the personal side of the entrepreneurship equation.
Passion and Commitment
“Inner Circle” support
Finally, on my scorecard, it’s highly important that the entrepreneur takes ownership for their own success. Any entrepreneur who demonstrates in any way a mindset that their success is dependent on the actions of other people presents a huge red flag and is a topic I will immediately address.
Even an A team needs something to sell, and when I say “opportunity” I mean the product, service or concept the entrepreneur has at the core of the start-up. The questions below speak primarily to the bulk of my current clients: high-growth potential start-ups in the technology space.
Something that’s real
Market need, and a way to get there
A team that can deliver
So that’s my scorecard, what do you think? It’s not intended to be anything other than an initial vetting tool as obviously deeper information is needed to truly judge the potential of any start-up. However, as a tool to evaluate early stage entrepreneurs and their businesses it has served me well and I can tell you that many of these areas are also important to my peers.
Entrepreneurs – how do you fare against this scorecard?
One remarkable thing about the list is that it rarely changes. The order may change but the top cited standards typically don’t change. Top 10 Sited Safety and Health Violations: 501 - Fall Protection 1200 - Hazard Communication 451 - Scaffolding 134 - Respiratory Protection 147 - Lockout/Tagout 178 - Powered Industrial Trucks 1053 - Ladders 305 - Electrical, Wiring Methods 212 - Machine Guarding 303 - Electrical, General Requirements Three of the 10 sited standards are directed at the construction standard (1926) while other fall within the general industry (1910). It should be noted however that the general industry standard also has fall protection guidelines. Year after year, inspectors see the same on-the-job hazards, any one of which could result in a fatality or severe injury. More than 4,500 workers are killed on the job every year, and approximately 3 million are injured. By understanding these regulations you can improve your safety program and prevent injuries. Give me a call if you have any compliance doubts, or want to review OHSA regulations. Gwido Dlugopolsky at 216-391-7766 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Why does it take a NASCAR pit crew only 15 seconds to change four car tires when it takes people like you and me minutes? The answer is simple SMED. Single Minute Exchange of Dies, or SMED, is a process for reducing the time it takes to do equipment changeovers. Using the principles of SMED you should be able to perform any changeover in your facility in under 10 minutes! The SMED process is simple – convert as many changeover steps as possible to “external”, meaning they are done while your equipment is still RUNNING, while simplifying and streamlining the remaining steps. SMED is broken down into the following 3 Steps: Separate Convert Streamline We found this article to be very helping in explaining the SMED process in more detail: LEAN PRODUCTION - SMED A good first step to achieve this level of SMED efficiency would be to run a kaizen event at your facility to standardize (5S) your tools and supplies. Doing this alone will help you achieve 40% to 50% greater efficiency. Once the “low hanging fruit” is gone, you can still reduce setup times another 20% by practicing more advanced SMED principles.
The secret to closing any sale is to reduce uncertainty in the buyer and replace it with confidence in YOU, your PRODUCT/SERVICE, and your COMPANY. Step 1 – Confidence in YOU Someone buying from you wants to be able to fundamentally connect with you on a human level and feel confident that you’re an expert in what you’re selling If you’re selling paperclips, be an expert in paperclips If you’re selling design and engineering related services, be an expert in design and engineering related services Focus on addressing the problem, not the solution….MEANING you already know you have the solution, connect with the buyer by being an expert with the problem he/she is facing. Prove that you know the problem and all aspects of the problem like the back of your hand. Step 2- Confidence in the PRODUCT/SERVICE you are selling Someone buying from you needs to trust the product/service you are selling will solve their problem. It’s your responsibility to deliver a solution and the benefits associated with it. Basically you need to “Hit a Homerun” communicating this message. Tip – Use Success Stories: Share with the potential buyer examples of your product/service solving problems and delivering value for