Same Wrong Answer

Once again we hear from Washington the same solution they seem to have for any and every economic issue — more debt.

This time the problem that they debt solution is being applied to is small business exports.  In a report released by the Office of Advocacy of the SBA we are told that if only we could make more debt available to small businesses they would be able to export more products outside the US.  The study says that smaller small businesses are in particular need for more governmental help with credit. Continue reading Same Wrong Answer

Scaling Requires Business Model Pivots

The number one goal for new entrepreneurs is to grow their businesses to the point where they can finally get paid and begin to make a living from their new venture.  Tyler Barstow and Belmont alumnus Matt Fiedler, co-founders of Vinyl Me, Please, are trying to adapt their business model to reach that important goal.

Continue reading Scaling Requires Business Model Pivots

What Motivates Millennials?

It is not unusual for older faculty to get a little cynical.  I have heard many faculty grumble about how hard it is to motivate today’s students.  While I agree with them that it is hard, and have grumbled about this my self a time or two, I have learned that it is quite possible to motivate millennials.

I tried a little experiment a couple of years ago with my grading that has had remarkable results and has helped me better understand what drives this generation.

Continue reading What Motivates Millennials?

When it is Time to Fire a Customer

During start-up, entrepreneurs are desperate to make a sale.  Revenues are needed to generate cash flow and affirm that the new company’s business model actually meets a need in the market.

Entrepreneurs will take just about any customer willing to do business with their new company, including those who really don’t fit with their business model.  After all, a sale is a sale, and cash is cash! Continue reading When it is Time to Fire a Customer

American Entrepreneurs Late to the Global Economy

Unlike small business owners in other parts of the world, U.S. entrepreneurs do not tend to think globally about potential markets for their businesses.

The United States International Trade Commission (USITC) reports that while 31 percent of exports from the European Union are generated by small and medium enterprises, only 13 percent of U.S. exports come from small and medium businesses.  And another government report reveals that only 1% of U.S. small businesses engage in exporting.  Continue reading American Entrepreneurs Late to the Global Economy

Sweet Success

It began as unlikely partnership in the fall of 2010.  Jonathan was a sophomore Entrepreneurship major at Belmont University.  James was a senior Marketing major at Lipscomb University.  Both students were members of the tennis teams of the two arch rival universities, which at that time were still in the same conference.

But, Jonathan and James shared a common idea to start an online grocery store for college students. The idea was to provide college students a convenient and affordable alternative to on-campus convenience stores.  They would sell snacks directly to college students and also to their parents bundled up in care packages.

Jonathan and James also have one other thing in common – they are brothers. Continue reading Sweet Success

Just Because Nobody is Doing it is not a Reason to Launch

“I’ve got a great idea for a business.  I know it will work because nobody is doing it!  I need to move quickly before someone else does it first.”

As someone who works with entrepreneurs for a living and hears a lot of business ideas, this type of business pitch puts up a big red flag for me.

Just because nobody has started a particular type of business is by no means an indication that the market needs that type of business. Continue reading Just Because Nobody is Doing it is not a Reason to Launch