Lessons Learned Illiinois Technology Summit May 08


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Lessons Learned Illiinois Technology Summit May 08

  1. 1. Business Models & Lessons Learned (the hard way by a serial entrepreneur) Les Trachtman Spring 2008 CEO Summit
  2. 2. Lessons Learned? <ul><li>It's fine to celebrate success but it is more important to heed the lessons of failure. </li></ul><ul><li>Bill Gates </li></ul>
  3. 3. Rule #1 <ul><li>Everything that you’ve learned and experienced and got you to where you are today, if repeated, will cause you to FAIL. </li></ul>The Last Word on Power , Tracey Goss
  4. 4. Business models matter <ul><li>A great business model trumps a bad CEO every time (and vice versa) </li></ul><ul><li>Find a blue ocean </li></ul><ul><li>Address an expansive market </li></ul><ul><li>Get paid for performance – or at least great margins </li></ul><ul><li>Collect fees early and often </li></ul><ul><li>Make yourself irreplaceable </li></ul>Blue Ocean Strategy: How to Create Uncontested Market Space and Make Competition Irrelevant by W. Chan Kim and Renée Mauborgne
  5. 5. Focus <ul><li>No CEO ever was sorry that she exited a business too early </li></ul><ul><li>A portfolio approach to competing with entrenched competition is a prescription for failure </li></ul><ul><li>Companies don’t die from lack of opportunities, they choke by trying to digest too many at one time </li></ul>Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die , by Dan & Chip Heath Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win , by William C. Taylor
  6. 6. Be Boring <ul><li>You can’t over communicate important messages </li></ul><ul><li>Unless you become bored you haven’t said it enough </li></ul><ul><li>Consistency is critical </li></ul><ul><li>If people don’t understand what you say it is your problem </li></ul><ul><li>Have a compelling message </li></ul>Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die , by Dan & Chip Heath Mavericks at Work: Why the Most Original Minds in Business Win , by William C. Taylor
  7. 7. Sales requires discipline <ul><li>Complete transparency </li></ul><ul><li>Metrics matter </li></ul><ul><li>Go upstream for better information </li></ul><ul><li>Get yourself a drill sergeant </li></ul><ul><li>Trust and verify </li></ul>
  8. 8. Readily admit your mistakes <ul><li>Take personal credit for mistakes (but don’t repeat them) </li></ul><ul><li>Give others credit for your successes </li></ul><ul><li>Just because you have the title doesn’t mean you are right </li></ul><ul><li>People don’t trust you unless you unless they believe you are authentic </li></ul>
  9. 9. Act like a public company <ul><li>It’s good for business </li></ul><ul><li>Just like neatness, it count $ </li></ul><ul><li>Holding yourself accountable improves performance </li></ul><ul><li>You are as you appear </li></ul>
  10. 10. Sometime employees don’t fit … anymore <ul><li>Admit it </li></ul><ul><li>Your company is changing; they may not </li></ul><ul><li>Work the Peter Principle in your favor </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t wait to take action </li></ul><ul><li>Change happens </li></ul><ul><li>Be even nicer on the way out </li></ul>Topgrading: How Leading Companies Win by Hiring, Coaching, and Keeping the Best People, by Bradford Smart
  11. 11. Board members are not your friends <ul><li>But they can really help your business </li></ul><ul><li>If you haven’t got one, build one </li></ul><ul><li>Beware of the calm before the storm </li></ul><ul><li>Business is business </li></ul><ul><li>Venture capitalists care about money </li></ul>
  12. 12. <ul><li>One time revenue pays the bills but won’t make your rich </li></ul><ul><li>Buyers are looking for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Growth </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Backlog </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Predictability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Profitability </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Repeatability </li></ul></ul>Buyers Pay for Value <ul><ul><li>Infrastructure </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Processes </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Maturity </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Decisiveness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Integrity </li></ul></ul>
  13. 13. Smile <ul><li>Everyone watches the CEO </li></ul><ul><li>You are how you look </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t take yourself too seriously </li></ul><ul><li>Don’t be a buddy </li></ul>
  14. 14. Vote with your feet <ul><li>When it’s over, it’s over </li></ul><ul><li>Sticking around too long is contagious </li></ul><ul><li>Be the consummate professional on the way out </li></ul>
  15. 15. <ul><li>[email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>http://FounderTransitions.blogspot.com </li></ul>