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Business Administration School teaches people how to manage other people’s business.  I tried very hard to learn how to grow a business.  Went to MBA school then heard about being an entrepreneur.  Many people know how to start a business, some know how to incorporate it and write a business plan.  Still is very rare you find a place or person you can learn from how to grow a significant business.  Here is a roadmap for the ones that are ready!

After working for or advising more than 30 of the Fortune 500 companies in the USA including General Electric, Tyco, Honeywell, Northern Telecom, Alcated, United Defense, Perkin Elmer, Varian, LM Ericcson, and countless of small companies and startups like Broadlink Communications, Polar Springs Corporation, American TonerServ, I am qualified to say that developing a high performing business requires a high-performer team, a needed large market demand, quality product but above all, significant capital, and again more capital.

Business is inherently a trial and error process and even a high-performance teams will make errors. A high-performance team is formed with people like your James Bond, fearless, capable, loyal and always get the job done without minding the bruises as long there is a martini and a romantic ending.  I love Get Smart but only for funhe also gets the job done .  In business like in war, you better be serious about not making big mistakes and getting the job done.  Nothing else matters.  Business demands performance.

We will come back to the single most important ingredient, the high performing executive.  Do notice they are not in large supply.  And I’d advice questioning the past performance to be repeatable until proven in your business.  (Many top executives like Gil Emillio of National Semiconductor performed well in his prior company yet when moved to Apple Computers, it became a lot harder.  A multi-faceted performer like Steve Jobs on the other hand is rare.  Another one is Chuck Mache who grew the sales of American Home Shield ( a home repair warranty company) geometrically organically and is repeating the process at a computer peripheral supply company.  A true high-performer motivates themself to deliver at all cost.  High performers are rare!

Another aspect of business is that many don’t know, it takes as much effort to do a small business as to do a larger business.  In many cases, a smaller business – because is more constrained by capital – is more difficult.  So, for the same amount of work: Think Big! and Dream Big! for not extra cost.

I grew up in a small business environment.  My parents hosted many relatives all living under one roof.  It was customary they would not pay rent but would chip in to buy groceries and bring in goods from their respective stores for the upkeeping of the house or for preparation of meals.  We had up to 6 families at one time.  The house had 10 bedroom and 6 bathrooms.

So, 7 days a week, during dinner time all family members would gather to talk about their daily business activities.  During this time, I listened constantly to common themes for years (it was cultural to listen to the adults and stay quiet as a youngster).  After listening for over 16 years until I left to college, it ingrained in my mind what affects businesses and people.

  1. Gambling
  2. Extended Accounts Receivables (collection problems)
  3. Unscrupulous people
  4. Charlatans
  5. Treatment of Employees

No matter how established is a business and how error intolerant is the culture of a company, errors will be made but it is those catastrophic errors that kills the business and typically erodes the Emotional Capital to the point that the leader is not longer willing to continue trying.  It is like high-performance entrepreneur and businessman Dan Pena says: a hit above water in a ship is fine but a hit below water will sink the ship.

It is for this reason that is necessary to have the sufficient capital to pay for mistakes in the learning process.  Know how to have sufficient access to capital. You will needed for growing the business but also in case you make a big mistake – but a catastrophic one.

After being involved in so many startups and developmental businesses and then operating continuously s multimillion dollar entreprize which made continuous profit over 52 consecutive quarters, I want to summarize what consider to be crucial rules for the aspiring entrepreneur: