Owning or leading a business comes with a lot of responsibilities and stress that even the most prepared can struggle to handle. Leaders set the vision, agenda and strategy, often while juggling accountabilities for major initiatives and decisions that affect performance for both finances and people. They have to serve many constituencies. No one takes on the role of CEO with the idea of it being low-stress. Learning to maintain structure and balance could help alleviate pressure and lead to great effectiveness.
Starting or building a business is exciting, though comes with challenges and roadblocks that can even scare veteran entrepreneurs. You're not alone. It is rare that the difficult challenges that an entrepreneur may face have not been previously encountered by others. That’s where the Bootstrappers Breakfasts step in - to facilitate entrepreneurs working together to exchange learning and information that grow the skills and confidence it takes to build a successful business.
Sean Darras, a Trajectify client and CEO of LUXTECH, a young, innovative LED lighting company in Old City, sat down for an interview with Mike Krupit during Trajectify Live. Sean founded the company in 2012 and over the last 6 years he has filled the company with people who care about the good of the company, the environment, and each person the products touch. The company has had impressive growth, and each quarter brings a new series of challenges for the team to learn from and conquer. In the Trajectify Live interview, Sean and Mike walked through some of the lessons learned in each phase.
Mike facilitated a panel discussion with four business owners who organically grew multi-million dollar revenues. He asked the entrepreneurs and CEOs to share their experiences, answer tough questions, in a no-holds-barred way that TAB members tackle challenges and attack opportunities.
My challenge with “Lean” is that as much as it’s a great philosophy for when you are starting out, you lose the ability to leap when you think about really big things. How do you do things that can’t be done in a one or two week sprint, the things that are too big to put on a little post it and stick to your bathroom mirror? In order to grow, you need to have a mindset of leaping, planning and doing big things, and then to figure out how to land after you take that leap.
Growing a multi-million dollar company rarely comes easy. The path to success is certainly different for each hungry entrepreneur. Lisa Robinson was one of the keynote speakers with a heart-warming story that opened our eyes to a new perspectives. Her story to success was unconventional. She didn’t start out as the leader that we see today taking over the stage or the owner that the U.S. SBA recently named Eastern Pennsylvania District Minority-Owned Small Business of the Year.
This month, August 2018, is the 5th anniversary of Trajectify. Words cannot express how grateful and lucky I am to have been able to build this business and accomplish all that we have. HOW A BUSINESS IS BORN. I decided to leave startup #7, Real Food Works, in May 2013. I had turned 50 a few months earlier and found myself wondering, “what do I want to be when I grow up.” I told myself no more startups. So I embarked on what turned out to be a three month discovery mission that led me to create Trajectify in August 2013.
My last semester of college was filled with fear and panic, wondering if I had spent my higher education preparing for a career that was not meant for me. After graduation, college students are faced to take a leap of faith and enter the real world. As we approach the cliff, far from the safety net of secured and structured education, and jump head first into the unknown, it is impossible to not fear what is next. With no idea what I was heading into, the overwhelming feeling of insecurity and possible failure seemed inevitable. To cross the chasm it takes momentum and trajectory, neither of which graduating college students have.
I’ve had the good fortune of working in a variety of industries, building scale into growing businesses and advising executives on strategic initiatives. Despite the variety of products, services, and customers, I’ve observed certain constants across all businesses that separate the elite performers from the average.
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to participate in a breakfast program with Peter Shankman. He is a successful entrepreneur, author and investor. You may know him as the founder of HARO (Help A Reporter Out), or the author of “Faster Than Normal,” or have heard his Ted talks or other keynote speeches. He's quite quotable and I've been know to borrow a line from him now and then. I especially like his “I have ADOS - Attention Deficit, Oooh Shiny.”