Monday, July 30, 2012

3 Must-Haves for NBA Coaches & Entrepreneurs

I listened to Jacque Vaughn, the new head coach of the Orlando Magic, talk about the three attitudes he needs each of his players to have. He's been handed an interesting group of players, and he made himself very clear about what it will take to succeed on his team. I think his list applies to entrepreneurs and CEOs of most companies I know.

1. Want to be there
This is more than showing up at work and putting in the bare minimum time and effort. Employees who want to be at work create a contagious positive inertia that rubs off on co-workers and customers.

2. Want to be coached
Sure, we all want to hire people who bring skills, education, and experience that make them effective. But learning the ropes of the new company, its' policies and culture, take time and regular feedback from leadership. 

3. Want to be great
This is my favorite of the three. Employees with personal motivation and drive to excel will always try to find ways to contribute and add value!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Why the Recession is a Great Time to Start

It seems like a lot of what the US media has to say about the economic turmoil throughout Europe portrays the doom and gloom of several countries and an entire continent on the brink of total destruction. One result of this perception is that I've heard many entrepreneurs in the United States express fear and trepidation about expanding their businesses into Europe.

Regardless of everything we read, hear, and see, there are still hundreds of millions of people throughout the European region. They all have needs, and they are still consumers deciding where to spend their money. Some have less money than they did before, some have more, and some have about the same. They still need to eat, have access to shelter, get on the internet, purchase vehicles, and so much more. Many domestic and international businesses are still prospering there. 

If you have no sales in Europe right now, then all you need to do is get one customer and you will have grown your European business. If you add far more value than you charge for your goods or services, and if you have localized marketing and a sales/distribution channel that adds value to all parties, then it may be time to set your fear aside and realize Europe still represents a great opportunity to grow.

The big companies are spending a lot of time and resources on developing the emerging markets, where they claim all the potential growth will be. For them, this is accurate. They have penetrated as deeply as they can in Europe and other more developed nations, and they don't stand a chance to increase their market share as significantly as they can in markets that are in rapid expansion, like China. For a small business with little to speak of internationally, Europe still represents a strong market opportunity. Don't buy into the hype.