Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Some Advice After 30 Years of Running a Business

Thirty years ago today was the first day in business for a tiny company, WeatherData, Inc., that I founded August 31, 1981. The chances of a startup company making it to the 30-year mark are far less than 1%. So, I thought our readers might like to know some of the principles of our success. 

Never start a company until you have a well-defined goal about which you are both passionate and competent to execute.
  • ·      100% of the entrepreneurs I have known say creating and running a business is harder than they expected. I know I expected it to be hard but I, too, found it to be extraordinarily difficult, especially since mine was 24/7. There is no way I could have stuck it out unless I was passionate about my goal of saving lives and property. 

As a business owner, “the highs are very high and the lows are very low and there are many more of the latter.”
  • ·      Every entrepreneur to whom I have given this advice has later told me it was one of the most important pieces of advice they received. If you get overly depressed when bad news occurs, entrepreneurship probably isn’t for you.
  • ·      Until you actually become a business owner, you cannot possibly appreciate how much responsibility you have and how heavily, at times, it will weigh on you.

Formal business plan, no.  Set of principles, yes!
  • ·      Unless you have plans to go public or raise venture capital in the near future, the time required to write a detailed, formal business plan isn’t worth it. But, a set of rock-solid principles are vital. It is what your business stands for and what will set it apart.

Get the best people you can, period.

None of this guarantees success and I do not wish to discourage you. To paraphrase a line from the movie Keeping the Faith, “the life of an entrepreneur is hard and if you can see yourself happy doing something else, do that.”

But, if your passion is starting a business, go for it! I’ve loved being an entrepreneur.

I'll have more on WeatherData's 30th anniversary later today. 

3 comments:

  1. Congratulations on 30 years in business Mike.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Congratulations and best wishes on many more years of success! I've always been and will continue to be proud of the 8 years I spent working for WeatherData.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Congrats...and that's some good advice.

    ReplyDelete