Hi! I’m Stephanie Breedlove, Co-Founder of Care.com HomePay, Author and Angel Investor.
I absolutely adore taking an idea and giving it life in the form a business, then leading it to its full potential. Nothing is more fun. (Seriously!) I’d love for every woman who wants to start her own business to say the same thing, so here I am, mentoring millennial entrepreneurs. When I’m not working, I like to recharge and head outdoors to hike, bike, or stand up paddle board!
Is that list of business news and trending articles you’ve tagged still unread? I get it. Allow me to help. Take a couple minutes to read my summary of articles serving the most pertinent, actionable business topics. Or, take 10 minutes to read the full article, and put another brick on the foundation of your growing career.
This Week’s Must-Read:
Who it’s for:
Entrepreneurs questioning trendy strategies. Hint: This should be every entrepreneur.
Why it’s important:
I prefer to showcase articles focused on DO rather than DON’T, but this one serves up 3 “don’ts” that are incredibly pertinent. There are always trends that are not necessarily successful for every business. One size does not fit all. Yet business owners can’t resist following the herd into disaster. I have been questioning these 3 trends, and it was comforting to find another experienced entrepreneur with the same concerns.
- Growing Your Business Too Fast: The question is: Do I recruit investors or go it alone? Today’s trend is to jump straight to recruiting investors. Investors inject immediate cash but demand immediate results and control. (While growing organically can work, it can take years. Is speed necessarily the most successful path?
Here’s a thought that isn’t trendy: Grow your first business yourself, allowing you to learn and grow deep skills from that experience. Once you have the ability and confidence to deliver quality, productivity, and value alongside swift growth, funding may be the right option. You may start a new business with the ability to grow swiftly with funding, or you may apply these honed skills to your existing business. I chose the latter (and I think I’d do it again), as we had the opportunity to scale out of profitability and maintain control.
2. Obsessing About a Personal Brand: This may sound a little old school, but you may be headed for trouble if you spend more time on your personal brand than your business brand. Launching and building a business should consume not only your time, but also your thoughts. Do you really need to split that time and brain space with building a persona?
Don’t get your cart in front of your horse. There is powerful leverage for establishing individual thought leadership and brand once you can stand on the expertise, leadership and brand of your business. Every strategy should drive revenue, quality and value. If growing your personal brand does not contribute tangibly and significantly to your business strategies, you may want to ask your ego if it’s impeding your progress.
3. Excessive Networking: Amen to this one. Networking is a means, not an end. You network to meet potential customers, suppliers, affiliates and partners. And you should be counting the number of potential partnerships that you may have established at every networking event.
Don’t let networking become your social life. The purpose is to build the social capital needed for business success. Launching a startup often means sacrificing your social life for a little while.
Top Take-Away/Final Thought: Just because everyone is doing “it” doesn’t mean “it” contributes to growth and success. Trust your logical and principled ‘business gut’ to avoid trendy and unproductive strategies.
Want additional reading that supports these thoughts? Enjoy!: