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Words of Wisdom from Howard Schultz
Howard Schultz has done an amazing job of turning Starbucks around in the past few years since returning to the helm as CEO (the stock has risen from a low of $7.83 in late 2008 (the year of his return) to a current price of $40.35).  He chronicles that turnaround story in his recent...
 
 
Are You High Performance?
High-performance people produce high-performance results.- Gary Kelly, CEO of Southwest Airlines...
 
 
He's About to Fail, But Doesn't Realize It
"The fence guys are here!" I exclaimed to my wife incredulously this morning.  They’ve shown up two days in a row and the surprise was clearly in my voice.  The "fence guys" have been a frequent topic of conversation on our hobby farm over the past several months.  The "fence...
 
 
Consumer Goods Innovation Pipeline
For every process, there is a pipeline.  Whether the process is product innovation, sales and marketing, or hiring, I've found over the years that the best way to approach these processes is the pipline approach.  Do you need 10 new customers each month?  Start at the end of the...
 
 
A Better Way to Cut Costs
In the middle of a severe downturn, every company will do some form of cost cutting in the hopes of creating a leaner organization that can survive the economic turmoil and emerge to thrive once the economy turns around.  Columbia Business School professor Rita McGrath offers some tips on...
 
 
Simplicity: The Next Big Thing
Simplification is in.  Some of the hottest-selling books right now feature instructions on how to lead a simpler, lower-cost lifestyle.  And for good reason, given that we are in the middle of a global economic meltdown.  Entrepreneurs need to adapt that same attitude of...
 
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Surviving the Downturn
During the dot com bust when I was flailing to do a 180 degree turn and go from dizzying growth to slashing costs, I created a mantra that we used throughout the organization as a way of helping us focus like a laser beam on becoming profitable.  That same mantra applies to managing a...
 
 
Lessons on Leadership from Combat Veterans
Men learn to lead in combat and with our two current wars on terrorism in Afghanistan and Iraq, a new generation of leaders are being produced with a set of unique skills that they are bringing back to American companies and business schools.  I recently spent a day interviewing a dozen...
 
 
Strategic Sourcing: From Periphery to the Core
When should you create a capability within your own company compared to when should you outsource?  For family- and home-based businesses, I favor growth by outsourcing lower value-added processes or capabilities rather than growing by adding employees to the mix (see previous posts on...
 
 
The New Math of Customer Relationships
One of the most enjoyable classes I sat through at Harvard Business School was the service management class put together by Jim Heskett.  Most of the businesses I have started have been services companies rather than manufacturing companies, and I have benefited greatly from the...
 
 
Shackleton: An Entrepreneur of Survival
One of my favorite real adventure stories is about Sir Ernest Shackleton, the famous polar explorer.  Shackleton's story is also the subject of a Harvard Business School case study.  In this article, Professor Nancy F. Koehn discusses lessons for leaders from the case about...
 
 
Tips on Making Decisions
Do you ever struggle with decision making?  If you are the leader of a large organization, do you sometimes feel that your subordinates are merely nodding politely instead of telling you like it really is?  According to research from Harvard Business School and a recent published...
 
 
Powerful Lessons Learned in a Manufacturing Context
One of the most powerful learning experiences I had when I worked at the Mobil Chemical division of Mobil (now ExxonMobil) involved manufacturing operations strategy and what can happen when you get it wrong.  One of the products we produced was plastic grocery bags -- the “t-shirt bags”...
 
 
Character Traits of Entrepreneurial Leaders
As Christians we obviously need to make sure that we are right with God, that we have a heart for Him and that we stay in His will and His word.  But as we work to add virtue to faith, what character traits define an entrepreneurial leader? I like the article below because it defines character...
 
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From High School Dropout to Billionaire
There was an excellent profile of Ken Hendricks of Beloit, Wisconsin in a recent issue of Reader's Digest about how he went from a high school dropout and a roofer making $10,000 per year to building and running a 350-store roofing supply chain that has $3 billion in sales. Money isn't everything...
 
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Lessons on Leadership from the World's Leading Investment Bank: Goldman Sachs
Goldman Sachs is the leading global investment bank (the kind of bank that takes companies public, provides brokers and capital advisory services, provides wealth management services, advises on mergers and acquistions, etc.)  Goldman Sachs feels that good leadership is built on...
 
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More Lessons on Leadership from the U.S. Army Rangers
Other guiding principles for the U.S. Army Rangers are captured in the Ranger Creed, which was written by Command Sergeant Major Gentry of Headquarters Company, 75th Ranger Battalion in 1974. Today it is recited by Rangers during upon graduation from Ranger school, change of command ceremonies, and...
 
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Lessons on Leadership from the U.S. Army Rangers
Much of my leadership training came through the years of U.S. Army training that I took part in including U.S. Army Ranger training.  The guiding principles of the Rangers are captured in the Rogers Standing Orders for his Rangers, or Rogers Ranger Rules, written just prior to the...
 
 

Q&A

When Do I Pull the Plug?
I am at a point where I am starting to think about shutting down my startup operation and wonder if you can share your wisdom on discerning when to persevere vs. when to pull the plug on a startup. If you touched on this in the Venture Academy lectures, can you point me there? (I...
 
 
Improving the Profitability of a Conference
My family has planned and managed a Christian family conference each year now for several years, but we end up losing quite a bit of money on each conference. We really feel it is of the Lord and that the conference is a blessing to many families, but it has turned into a painful financial...
 
 
PEOs and Selling a Small Business
I run a small service business and I am considering using a PEO.  There is a three year commitment to administrate my employees and the fee they charge is 4% of my gross payroll.  I am also considering selling my business.  Any advice? ...
 
 
Ramping up a Food Processing Business
I recently started a food processing business as an educational endeavor after completing 12 years of home education; I have been in business for about a year, but am concerned because I have not yet written out a detailed business plan.  I have no accounting experience at all and am not sure...
 
 
Men Serving Female Clients
This is a question about men working for women. My wife and I have recently started a home-based virtual personal assistant business where my wife is serving the female clients and I am serving the male clients, since that seems to be the prudent thing to do. ...
 
 
Operations Focus
How should I think about focusing my efforts when building out my operations?...
 
 
Skill Shortages
How do I compensate for personal weaknesses or skill shortages in a sole proprietor business venture?...
 
 
Home-Based Business Insurance
Will the insurance policy for my home adequately cover my home-based business?...
 
 
Surety Bond
What is a surety bond?...
 
 
Key Operations Metrics
What are some of the key metrics to measure for a new small business?...
 
 
How to Create a Prototype
I have a friend who has patented a design for luggage.  Would you happen to know of anyone to point my friend towards for creating the prototype?...
 
 
Considering Growing by Partnering or Franchising
We have a five-unit retail operation that I manage with my family.  The company is performing well.  We are considering partnering with a larger retailer to co-manage our concept along with their 74 retail stores in a different market.  What questions should I be concerned...
 
 
Low-Cost Office Options
What options are there for office space that will give my small company a professional image, but keep my costs low?...
 
 

Quotes

Thomas Edison on Execution
Vision without execution is hallucination.- Thomas Edison, American inventor ...
 
 
McKinsey Research on Investing in R&D
Although nearly 40% of senior R&D managers say their companies are cutting back on research and development, a McKinsey survey finds that companies receiving the greatest benefit from R&D (strong growth, much of it from new products developed in house) are more likely to be increasing...
 
 
Henry Ford on Customer Service
A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits.  They will be embarrassingly large. - Henry Ford, founder of the Ford Motor Company and creator of the assembly line used in mass production...
 
 
Thomas Edison on Work
Genius is one percent inspiration and ninety-nine percent perspiration.I never did anything by accident, nor did any of my inventions come by accident; they came by work.Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work.Our greatest weakness lies in giving...
 
 
2 Chronicles 15:7
Be ye strong therefore, and let not your hands be weak: for your work shall be rewarded. (KJV) ...
 
 
Proverbs 22:29
Seest thou a man diligent in his business? he shall stand before kings; he shall not stand before mean men. (KJV)...
 
 
Paul Meyer on Productivity
Productivity is never an accident.  It is always the result of commitment to excellence, intelligent planning, and focused effort. - Paul Meyer, motivational speaker and author...
 
 
Proverbs 10:4-5
He becometh poor that dealeth with a slack hand: but the hand of the diligent maketh rich.  He that gathereth in summer is a wise son: but he that sleepeth in harvest is a son that causeth shame. (KJV)...
 
 
Proverbs 12:11
He that tilleth his land shall be satisfied with bread: but he that followeth vain persons is void of understanding. (KJV)...
 
 
Proverbs 28:19
He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough. (KJV)...
 
 
Proverbs 27:23-24
Be thou diligent to know the state of thy flocks, and look well to thy herds. For riches are not for ever: and doth the crown endure to every generation? (KJV)...
 
 
Colossians 3:23-24
And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ. (KJV)...
 
 
John Kotter on Leadership
Leaders establish the vision for change and set the strategy for getting there; they cause change. - John Kotter, expert on leadership and professor at the Harvard Business School...
 
 


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Additional resources offered by New Venture Lab:

Family Works: Inspiring Profiles of Family Business - Volume One

Family Works: Inspirting Profiles of Family Business - Volume Two

Venture Academy Online - subscription-based HD video of our Christian entrepreneurship training course

 

Startup Financial Model Website

The Startup Financial Model a detailed, multi-sheet, completely integrated, easy-to-configure Excel-based business plan model for those who are planning or running a startup or small business and want an excellent financial model to enhance their business plan and capital-raising efforts. This companion site of ours includes step-by-step video instructions and customers choose what price they pay.