Tag Archives: Up and Running

The General Rule In Startups Is That There Are No General Rules

What’s the secret to success in entrepreneurship? Passion? Persistence? Doing what you like? Maybe it’s having a great business plan? I’ve written here that empathy might be the most important. But that’s a generalization too. What do you think?

Here’s the problem with that: there are no general rules. Scratch under the surface of entrepreneurship and you’ll find lots of people willing to put forth one characteristic or another. You can find examples for anything.

The people who strike off on their own are by definition people who split off from the group to do something different. So they don’t come in flocks, Generalizations don’t apply. I know people who fell in love with technology, a market, doing something they like to do, or even one or two who set out from the beginning with the specific goal of making millions of dollars. And I know people who started their own business mainly to be independent, set their own hours. I know people who did it just to prove that they were right when they said it could be done.

What reminded me of this was Susan Solivic’s What is Your Motivation? on Up and Running a few weeks ago. Writing about what makes people start companies, she suggests there are lots of different reasons.

Exactly. I agree.

(Image: Denny Onasta/Flickr CC)

Boomer Business Blogger Part 1: Two Year Anniversary

Two years ago this month I started blogging. Just a couple weeks after naming Sabrina Parsons CEO of Palo Alto Software. I remained president, but switched my job to blogging, writing, speaking, and teaching. I guess I should have changed my title to CBO, for chief blogging officer.

I didn’t understand at first …

“I’m a business plan expert,” I said, naively. “I write how-to stuff. It doesn’t work on blogs. It’s static.”

Sabrina, however, insisted.

Set up your Google reader. Start reading Anita Campbell, John Jantsch, Guy Kawasaki, Pam Slim. You’ll figure it out.

What happened? On the day of that conversation I’d posted seven times on my one main blog Planning Startups Stories. As of today I’ve posted 700 posts on that one, plus 460 posts on Up and Running, my blog at Entrepreneur.com, plus 43 on Huffington Post, a couple dozen on Small Business Trends, about a dozen on USNews, and 140 on Planning Demystified. And come to think of it, I’m also posting on Business in General, Email Fail, and some others.

I read a lot of great blogs. Those four above, Steve King’s Small Business Labs, Seth Godin, Bob Sutton. Oh. I just checked. Several hundred links on my Google reader. Better stop listing. I owe thanks to so many others.

I think I get LinkedIn now. I’ve been answering questions in LinkedIn too … I’ve got a good ranking in the business plan category there. I’m connected with people I know and like.

Lately I’m loving Twitter. I’ve tweeted more than 1,200 times. I love keeping up with friends and favorite bloggers, the news in general, a few celebrities, and, my favorite benefit of Twitter, links to Web things that interested the people I follow. My Twitter friends keep me up to date. I love it. I don’t do Twitter clutter: no tweets about what’s for lunch, going home, ball games or weather; I do tweets about links, issues, articles, people, news.

I’m still struggling with Facebook, trying to figure out how to resolve the inherent conflict between use for business, keeping track with business-related contacts, and use for personal, photos from the kids and grandkids, keeping up with cousins and nieces and nephews. I’m a split personality in Facebook.

So for the record, they were right, I was wrong. I did have blogging in me. “And,” they added (flashing back to that conversation two years ago), “your blogging will be good for our company.” They were right about that, too.

I don’t think anybody (certainly not I) realized how much I’d enjoy writing again. Maybe it’s that 30-some years ago, before I got the MBA degree and got into business, I was a journalist. I was a foreign correspondent in Mexico City. I was night editor for United Press International (UPI) there, then I was a McGraw-Hill World News (think Business Week) stringer there, and I freelanced a lot too.

Not that journalism is the same as writing. In my case, I also wrote fiction, got a short story published, wrote a novel that got some second looks, but never got published (no loss, it wasn’t that good). My BA degree was in literature, and I got an MA in journalism too, just before going to Mexico for years, and long before coming back to the U.S. to get the MBA degree.

So let me say that I love it. It’s been great for me. But it’s also been very good for business, too, which is really cool. But that’s another post, scheduled for tomorrow.