The roundtable was turned around today when Sean Phipps interviewed me to learn my best ideas and the reasons behind starting Small Business Roundtable. We discussed key learnings going back to the beginning of my career in the investment business to working with Fortune 500 companies.
Sean asked about my experience with Webridge Ventures, a boutique investment firm that I founded in 1997 providing early stage funding and advisory services to Internet entrepreneurs. I commented that the biggest learning was how entrepreneurs lost sight of building business and put their focus on building valuations, which turned into the greatest bubble of our times.
I remembered one of our Clients had a net worth over $1 billion in 1999 and watched it evaporate to almost zero overnight. He still got out with about $30 million, which isn’t bad, but the valuations were so excessively inflated.
I reemphasized the importance of having a strong management team that is capable of executing the business plan. This was true then and will always be a Key factor for success.
John’s Top 3 Ideas for Entrepreneur Success:
- Having the Ability / Team to Execute the Ideas is the Most important Factor. The Team and Skills are much more important that the idea.
- 100% Commitment to Succeed and Failure is not an Option.
- Having Strong Advisors and Mentors giving you sound advice and connecting you with the right people.
Bonus – Have a plan and work your plan.
John’s Top 3 Biggest Mistakes that Early Stage Entrepreneurs need to Avoid:
- Focusing too much time on things that are not urgent to their success and not enough time getting customers.
- Spend too much time raising money, worrying about how much equity to give up and dealing with investors. The valuation of an early stage company really does not matter a whole lot. A whole lot of nothing is worth nothing.
- Ego. They think they know it all and they don’t listen to their customers.
Please tune into the entire program below.