I went to an awesome event today called, the Utah Technology Council (UTC) Small Business Summit with NY Times reporters Jay Goltz and Loren Feldman.
Jay Goltz writes The NY Times, Thinking Entrepreneur column and Loren Feldman is the Small Business Online Editor. I’m looking forward to keeping tabs on their “You’re The Boss” blog. Goltz, besides being a writer, is also a very successful entrepreneur. He started his custom frame shop, Artists’ Frame Service, right out of college and grew his business from $70,000 in revenue in 1978 to become the largest picture-framing store in the country. Picture that!
Feldman interviewed Goltz about being an entrepreneur and how to make it as a small business owner. (note: I need to do a social media training for technology people and journalists- no hashtag, no twitter handle, no mention of “follow us” on social media, what so ever!)
It was a great event and both Goltz and Feldman were engaging and extremely knowledgeable speakers.
Here are 8 quick things I learned:
1. The reason why entrepreneurs fail is because they aren’t competent in ALL things. For example they might be great at building and marketing their product but aren’t good at accounting.
2. Entrepreneurship is about solving problems NOT about following your passions. This isn’t to say that you can’t both solve problems and follow your passion, Goltz was just saying that if you’re not solving problems you’re never going to make it.
3. In order to succeed, you have to be customer driven. i.e. you have to know be okay with loosing sales to please your customers.
4. No one teaches you how to hire people. They should offer that class in college. Entrepenours are typically horrible at hiring people because they are too busy, too outgoing and too talkative. (The person being interviewed should be the one doing all of the talking.)
5. Lower your expectations and raise your standards. Goltz used the dress code example. You can’t get mad at your employees for showing up in a hoodie and sweatpants if you’ve never established a dress code. You can apply this to many different areas of business.
6. Everyone gets to a point in their life when they realize they have limitations.
7. It’s not the income, it’s the outcome.
8. If you take care of your customers even a little bit better, you’ll see a huge long term profit because of it. Again Goltz drove home the point that your customers are everything.
Thanks to the NY Times for coming out to Utah and learning more about why so many technology start-ups are finding their home in the Wasatch Mountain Range!