Monday, December 28, 2009

Plans for 2010

At a family Christmas gathering my new nephew by marriage asked how my business was going. "Slow" was my response. People don't seem to have enough money or passion to pay someone else to write or edit their business plans, I explained.

Well, my nephew is a computer engineer and extremely bright. Before I knew it, he was telling me an idea for a new business. Amazingly, the business was in a growing industry in which I volunteer -- helping people aging in place. He didn't want to start this business himself; he just saw it as an opportunity. He had had no idea that I already had a passion in this area. Soon, he was asking me questions and giving me a whole new realm of ideas. He opened up new pathways of thought for me. He started talking about me writing my own plan for a new business.

My goals for 2010 suddenly took on new dimensions, and I became more impassioned. Now, I'm thinking of taking all my years as a member of the Advisory Board for Aging in Place in Darien and turning them into a business.

Later, I talked to another computer-engineering nephew, and he spoke about the importance of focus and passion. He has realized what he wants -- what stimulates him. That is how he can perform at a high level -- doing what he loves in the right environment.

So my advice to all you entrepreneurs out there is talk to people about your ideas. Listen to the questions they ask you. Think. And get passionate. Plan and take action.

It's a new decade. Reinvent yourself to work in your area of interest with people who make a great team.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Create Successful New Products

I've been reading a lot about new product development, marketing and new businesses. And all the articles are getting mashed together in my head. However, one piece has stood out in my mind - "The Path to Developing Successful New Products", which appeared in Monday's Wall Street Journal.

The advice reminded me of what I hear Venture Capitalists and Angels say over and over: Be focused. Meet consumer needs. Listen to your customers. But the article also mentioned creating a culture that focuses on completing the project - have enough resources devoted to the project and focus on the needs of the project - not the needs of the people working on the project. What I wonder about is why such advice needs to be repeated so many times in so many ways. I guess it's because too many business people don't bother to listen to their customers. They just want to listen to themselves.

Here's a link to the article: