Monday, May 14, 2012

Lessons Learned from 3 Successful Entrepreneurs

I was part of a great event last week that featured 3 entrepreneurs (here's a picture of me hosting the event). Each shared three of their top lessons learned during the process of starting, developing, and growing their enterprises.

Thanks BizVision's Shawn Jones, Rimports' Jeff Palmer, and OrangeSoda's Jay Bean, the content was top notch. Here are some of the highlights from the Twitter feed for the event...all found under the hashtag #uvef.

Tweeted by @BNMadsen
  • Bizvision gets repeat & referral biz from customers; very little other marketing.
  • Bizvision advantages: low price, lean & flexible, low risk upfront.
  • Bizvision lesson learned: #1 = partner model (drive development), experts in their verticals, best "salespeople".
  • Bizvision lesson learned: #2 = customize/scale (started by building a platform not a site), build w/future in mind.
  • Bizvision lesson learned: #3 = stay lean: keep expenses down, outsource before hiring/buying equipment, focus on actions/plans.
  • Rimports financing through Zion's First Natl Bank - great partner.
  • Moms are best customers and marketers for Rimports.
  • Scentsy is biggest Rimports' competitor and biggest evangelist for product at MLM, Rimports sells for less at retail.
  • People are our most important resource; invested from the core - Rimports.
  • Honesty & integrity are core values - vol dealt w/82 out of 155,000 units - cost $1/4M - cemented partnership with Walmart.
  • Rimports mantra: there is a way.
  • Rimports - keep offerings fresh each quarter.
Tweeted by @Kisstixx
  • Honesty and integrity in business will take you far never compromise that.
  • There are no barriers just challenging opportunities! 
  • Choose a strategic investor that has your same vision, passion, and drive @mcuban
Tweeted by @aboytodd:
  • Lesson #3 at #bizvision "stay lean"
  • Shining referral for Zion's bank from rimport's Jeff Palmer.
  • People are best investment. Lesson learned at rimports.
  • Partnerships and alliances are the greatest asset for growth at rimports.
  • "There's always a way." the maxim of Jeff Palmer at rimports.
  • Rimports awarded product of the year by Walmart in 2011
Tweeted by @jpilmer:
  • PRICE is easy to copy. Low risk and flexible are not and better differential advantage.
  • Bizvision says stay lean
  • #Rimports on deck w $120M revenue at #UVEF. They love #ZionsBank as parter. 18-65 year old women target. They know the customer.
  • People are our best investment at Rimports. Give people autonomy. Key motivator.
  • #OrangeSoda on deck at #UVEF. Avg customer only $500. The key seems to be the niche focus and knowing the market.
  • Mobile Search is key to SEO of future per #OrangeSoda at #UVEF . Heads up #entrepreneur.
Tweeted by @thisiscoalition:
  • Innovation is driven by pushing the envelope.
  • Love the recognition that partners drive the business of BizVision.
Tweeted by @BCookson
  • Build platform rather than just site.
Tweeted by @LynnDavid007:
  • Business financial management is a lot like personal money management. Stay Lean--don't spend unnecessary money.
  • "I have two words for funding: Zion's Bank." --Jeff Palmer. A simple statement, but can be crucial advice for a new entrepreneur.
  • Some strategic investors will not have the same vision, passion, or objectives as you.
  • Social networking is going mobile dramatically.
Tweeted by @dagrani
  • Yay for rimports to listen to women to drive sales. Women are responsible for majority of sales.
  • Rimports manages growth through hiring great people. Gives them a task and then walks away. Trust is key.
Tweeted by @kindallpalmer:
  • There are no barriers, only challenging opportunity.
  • Be innovative. Build what you need instead of buying to stay on top.
Tweeted by @bryanbostrom:
  • BizVision does not have clients or customers, but Partners.
  • People are your best investment. -Jeff Palmer, Rimports USA
  • When adversity surfaces, think, "There is always a way."
  • Only spend your time and resources building a product that will make you the best in the biz in your space. Outsource the rest & save.
Tweeted by me...@_KenKaufman:
  • Focus on calling those who pay you partners, not customers or clients.
  • Customer service can always be a point of differentiation.
  • Customize and scale...build the platform, not just a website. Build with the future in mind. 
  • Stay Lean. Cyclical business allows them to shift on the fly.
  • Rimports likes having MLM competitors because they evangelize the concept at almost twice the cost.
  • Invest in People.
  • Honesty is integrity.
  • There is always a way. It's up to you to find it and then make it happen.
  • Some strategic investors will not have the same vision, passion, or objectives.
  • Decide what technology to buy vs. build. Stick to your core business.
  • Know your customer and how u can best solve their pain points.
  • Focus all product development efforts on how u can best serve your customers.