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Bad advice for entrepreneurs
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SlickyBoy Offline
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Post: #1
Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Seems you can't even pick up an article on business without running smack dab into SJW politics and preaching. Pity the young entrepreneur who wants suggestions from established experts only to be steered into an SJW brick wall. Case in point, an example from Inc Magazine:

Quote:What is the top issue companies will face with regard to HR?

MM: Yes - without question diversity. Not just gender diversity, but race/ethnicity and other dimensions. The modern workforce will not be able to survive unless its base is diverse, and we are starting to release our own numbers as a first step.

Then as a follow on issue, which is tangential is pay gaps - and again - not just as they relate to gender but other dimensions as well. The companies that focus on solving this problem will be able to recruit the best talent.

This is at best, delusional, at worst, abject lies. Diversity is anethema to successful team building - it is an obstacle to overcome by uniting through commonalities, not a wedge to deliberately enhance inherent differences among team members. And the pay gap myth is yet another station of the cross in the secular humanist dogma.

Yet if a young man knew nothing about building a business he'd take this as some kind of a goal post from the successful business dweeb spouting it with forked tongue.

It's possible to filter out the noise inherent here, but wondering how well developed the average millennial filter is, or if any are even aware they need one to glean anything of value from "business" publications like this.

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09-21-2016 11:59 PM
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Easy_C Online
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Post: #2
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Why call attention to it?

Not just this. The vast majority of the advice entrepeneurs get is terrible.


General rule of thumb is only take advice from people who have successfully accomplished what you want to achieve. Ignore anyone whose accomplishments consist entirely of giving advice.
09-22-2016 12:55 PM
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chicane Offline
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Post: #3
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Aaron Clarey's latest podcast has a long rant on the whole diversity requirement business. Recommended.
09-22-2016 05:32 PM
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Belgrano Offline
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Post: #4
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Off-topic, because here's some good advice:
Short companies that are obsessed with diversity.

(Cum grano salis, obviously.)
(This post was last modified: 09-22-2016 05:44 PM by Belgrano.)
09-22-2016 05:43 PM
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SlickyBoy Offline
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Post: #5
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 05:43 PM)Belgrano Wrote:  Off-topic, because here's some good advice:
Short companies that are obsessed with diversity.

(Cum grano salis, obviously.)

Someone also suggested shorting companies with women CEOs. If Theranos, Reddit and Yahoo are any indication, this might have some traction.

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09-22-2016 09:32 PM
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SlickyBoy Offline
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Post: #6
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 12:55 PM)Easy_C Wrote:  Why call attention to it?

Not just this. The vast majority of the advice entrepeneurs get is terrible.


General rule of thumb is only take advice from people who have successfully accomplished what you want to achieve. Ignore anyone whose accomplishments consist entirely of giving advice.

The person interviewed was a "serial entrepreneur" (I really hate that usually self-applied description) who ostensibly did just that, many times over. It's not unusual for businessmen to give out advice that they themselves would not take - witness Warren Buffett, a man famous for posing as a socialist who knows damed well he would never have made it by following that line.

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09-22-2016 09:35 PM
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Suits Offline
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Post: #7
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
I got some more bad advice for entrepreneurs.

"If you build it, they will come."

"Build a brand...then let the brand do the work for you."

"You can totally beat the Chinese on price."

"You don't need a business plan. It's more important that you just get to work."

"Save a buck by outsource your customer service to India."
09-22-2016 10:11 PM
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GlobalMan Away
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 10:11 PM)Suits Wrote:  "You don't need a business plan. It's more important that you just get to work."

This one is actually true and good advice, to an extent, when talking about a small business you're running by yourself. If you're trying to get a loan or have interested investors or it involves a huge capital outlay obviously that is a different scenario.

Many, many people spend (waste?) a lot of time writing a plan, which is necessarily based on projections and guesses, only to find that the customer wants something different that they didn't think of. Sometimes you'll even go in a completely different direction than you thought you would.

The sooner you start trying to sell to your customers the sooner they will tell you what they want, and that is what you are looking for.

A basic idea and rough outline is needed of course, but it is indeed more important that you start trying to sell as early as possible so you can find out where you have the wrong idea.

Americans are dreamers too
(This post was last modified: 09-22-2016 10:34 PM by GlobalMan.)
09-22-2016 10:26 PM
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Suits Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 10:26 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  
(09-22-2016 10:11 PM)Suits Wrote:  "You don't need a business plan. It's more important that you just get to work."

This one is actually true and good advice, to an extent, when talking about a small business you're running by yourself. If you're trying to get a loan or have interested investors or it involves a huge capital outlay obviously that is a different scenario.

Many, many people spend (waste?) a lot of time writing a plan, which is necessarily based on projections and guesses, only to find that the customer wants something different that they didn't think of. Sometimes you'll even go in a completely different direction than you thought you would.

The sooner you start trying to sell to your customers the sooner they will tell you what they want, and that is what you are looking for.

A basic idea and rough outline is needed of course, but it is indeed more important that you start trying to sell as early as possible so you can find out where you have the wrong idea.

Unless you're offering a service (which means exchanging your time for money and isn't really a business at all), you absolutely do need a business plan.

A business plan has a simple purpose: to calculate all of the costs of bringing a product to market.

Without even a simple business plan, you don't know if your idea is even viable.

Better to "waste" time writing up a simple business plan than to waste more time creating a business that won't be able to compete at all.
09-22-2016 10:43 PM
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GlobalMan Away
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 10:43 PM)Suits Wrote:  Unless you're offering a service (which means exchanging your time for money and isn't really a business at all)

That's an interesting take, can you expand on why you think offering a service isn't really a business? I don't see how trading time for money would mean it isn't a business. Beyond that, you can certainly scale a service- having contractors do work for you, productized services, etc.

Quote:A business plan has a simple purpose: to calculate all of the costs of bringing a product to market.

And that's an important thing to do, I wasn't suggesting one shouldn't. But you don't need to do a full length traditional business plan to determine this, as I mentioned one should at least do a rough outline.

Quote:Without even a simple business plan, you don't know if your idea is even viable.

Until you try to sell something you don't yet know if your business is viable. It can look great and make sense on paper but be an idea no one wants. The only way to find out is to do it, and I've found that I've altered my idea/plans almost every time, usually within days of just getting working, and learned things which there is no way to anticipate until you've begun. Sometimes I've completely changed the whole thing from my initial plan. This is common.

Quote:Better to "waste" time writing up a simple business plan than to waste more time creating a business that won't be able to compete at all.

The point is that while obviously it is not harmful to write out a detailed business plan, it certainly isn't necessary in order to get started or be successful, and it often ends up being of little use.

Americans are dreamers too
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2016 12:00 AM by GlobalMan.)
09-22-2016 11:56 PM
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SlickyBoy Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 11:56 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  
Quote:Better to "waste" time writing up a simple business plan than to waste more time creating a business that won't be able to compete at all.

The point is that while obviously it is not harmful to write out a detailed business plan, it certainly isn't necessary in order to get started or be successful, and it often ends up being of little use.

That would be like ordering ice cream, advertisement, counter space, equipment and signing delivery contracts for an ice cream stand in the middle of Alaska in February, only to find out you've got few customers coming outside to visit your stand for ice cream. While your time may be cheap, money is not - you need to create some kind of a basic business case or at least an outline before you begin.

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09-23-2016 12:52 AM
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GlobalMan Away
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-23-2016 12:52 AM)SlickyBoy Wrote:  
(09-22-2016 11:56 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  
Quote:Better to "waste" time writing up a simple business plan than to waste more time creating a business that won't be able to compete at all.

The point is that while obviously it is not harmful to write out a detailed business plan, it certainly isn't necessary in order to get started or be successful, and it often ends up being of little use.

That would be like ordering ice cream, advertisement, counter space, equipment and signing delivery contracts for an ice cream stand in the middle of Alaska in February, only to find out you've got few customers coming outside to visit your stand for ice cream. While your time may be cheap, money is not - you need to create some kind of a basic business case or at least an outline before you begin.

I never suggested a person should do anything like in your example at all. In fact I said:

(09-22-2016 10:26 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  This one is actually true and good advice, to an extent, when talking about a small business you're running by yourself. If you're trying to get a loan or have interested investors or it involves a huge capital outlay obviously that is a different scenario.

The example you gave involves significant capital outlay, and as I said that is not a scenario where skipping a detailed plan would work.

(09-23-2016 12:52 AM)SlickyBoy Wrote:  you need to create some kind of a basic business case or at least an outline before you begin

↓↓↓↓

(09-22-2016 10:26 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  rough outline is needed of course

Americans are dreamers too
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2016 01:35 AM by GlobalMan.)
09-23-2016 01:22 AM
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Suits Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
...
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2016 01:28 AM by Suits.)
09-23-2016 01:26 AM
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iknowexactly Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 09:32 PM)SlickyBoy Wrote:  
(09-22-2016 05:43 PM)Belgrano Wrote:  Off-topic, because here's some good advice:
Short companies that are obsessed with diversity.

(Cum grano salis, obviously.)

Someone also suggested shorting companies with women CEOs. If Theranos, Reddit and Yahoo are any indication, this might have some traction.

You might have something there. What happened with Fiorino and Whitman? I don't know the stock history of ebay and HP during their tenure


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09-23-2016 02:39 AM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
The advice is obviously terrible, but if you can't work that out for yourself as a guy trying to build a business then you were probably doomed anyway.

People are obsessed with being told how to do things in the abstract, which to me always seems redundant. If you have a specific problem, it makes sense to seek out a specific answer, which may well exist in a text. Generally though, it pays to think hard and well, observe closely, and then experiment judiciously. No book or article talking about broad principles is going to tell you anything more than passingly relevant to your specific situation. That is time that can be better spent.

People wanting to start business should not be reading books about it, generally. They should go out and try something as inexpensively as possible, and talk to other people who've built businesses themselves. You'll learn more about the viability of your idea/product from an afternoon spent knocking on doors unannounced than you will through a year of business school classroom study, or a library full of self-help/shortcut-to-your-first-million-type books.
09-23-2016 07:03 AM
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Phoenix Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Depends what diversity they are talking about.

If they're talking about leftist diversity, i.e. random crap like the colour of the employee's skin, their sex, their religion etc, then it's probably destructive. I'm not sure though, perhaps it's a sneaky tactic to disarm local employees when various H2B's get installed in their place. Oh it's "diversity" not "undercutting".

If it's diversity of skills, then sure. As Peter Drucker says, you should always choose additions to your team based on them possessing an exceptional skill in some area, even if they have many weaknesses. One of the major strengths of a company is that it can render weaknesses irrelevant (i.e. the great but socially inept accountant need never call up a customer, leave that to the great salesmen) whilst harnessing the many diverse strengths of its constituents.
09-23-2016 07:20 AM
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RichieP Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
It's important to do a couple of things upfront:

-quickly validate your idea - presence of competition, interest from potential early adopters, etc
-run some rough numbers to ensure it at least *could* be profitable

Beyond that though -- there's so much uncertainty. You have no idea what your particular customer acquisition cost could be, and what they'll realistically be willing to pay, until you get your product/service in front of them. Launch and learn, cheaply and quickly.
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2016 07:26 AM by RichieP.)
09-23-2016 07:23 AM
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GlobalMan
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Listing to idiots who never made it in life would be way up there regarding bad advice.

Far as diversity goes?
Creating diversity in the workplace is not going to matter when entrepreneurs start using robots for everything decades from now.
09-23-2016 10:55 AM
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Baphomet Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-22-2016 11:56 PM)GlobalMan Wrote:  
(09-22-2016 10:43 PM)Suits Wrote:  Unless you're offering a service (which means exchanging your time for money and isn't really a business at all)

That's an interesting take, can you expand on why you think offering a service isn't really a business? I don't see how trading time for money would mean it isn't a business.

I'd very much like to hear that as well.
09-23-2016 12:33 PM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
Service models are all the rage with the VC funds at the moment. You can get a nice valuation for your business if you run on a subscription model for a service you provide. Slightly different from offering your time for money, but it depends how broadly you're defining your terms.
09-23-2016 02:50 PM
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
The best business plans aren't the three-ring binder ones which are glanced at and tossed into the back drawer, never to be seen again. The best ones have a "If A happens, then B" section or a "Once we achieve X, we will initiate Y". A marine veteran once told me that you always have a back-up plan.

"We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately."
(This post was last modified: 09-23-2016 04:50 PM by ColSpanker.)
09-23-2016 04:49 PM
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
The best business plans get you the investors you want and the money you want at the price you are willing to pay for it. If you aren't specifically fundraising, then it is a useful exercise, but not one you should get bogged down in. An executive summary, a basic cash flow, market research, and plan of action will do for most people starting out. The benefit is in the exercise itself, not the creation of reference material.
09-23-2016 06:33 PM
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dispenser Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
@H1N1
How would a small business without connections go about getting investors?
I'd imagine it requires personal charm and good (business) presentation, but I'm not sure how or where these could be used.
09-24-2016 07:21 AM
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H1N1 Offline
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RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
(09-24-2016 07:21 AM)dispenser Wrote:  @H1N1
How would a small business without connections go about getting investors?
I'd imagine it requires personal charm and good (business) presentation, but I'm not sure how or where these could be used.

That depends on a lot of things:

What industry are you in?
Are you pre-revenue?
Are you offering something 'disruptive' to the market?
What kind of money are you looking to raise?
What kind of investors do you want?

Different sources of capital will impose different things on you. Even if you get the money you're after, sometimes that can come at a hell of a price. VCs, for example, want to micromanage you - almost without exception. Or they want to merge you with someone else. They certainly want to sell you in a year or two's time, and they are looking for 10x+ return on capital invested in that time period.

For most people, if you don't have family connections, you can either go through angel networks where you can stand up in front of a large group of guys with £10-50k each to spend and pitch to them, or you could approach larger companies in your industry, who may want to take a strategic stake in your business. Generally though it seems that it is better if these guys come to you rather than you approaching them.

It is essential that your investors' interests are entirely aligned with your own. There are plenty of sources of capital where that won't be the case, and that could make your life a living hell.

I am just going through my first round of fund raising for my business and have quite a lot of offers from VC, industry and angels. If people are interested, I will try to write up a datasheet in a month or two when I'm done and can speak more authoritatively on the matter.
09-24-2016 08:29 AM
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Kinko Offline
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Post: #25
RE: Bad advice for entrepreneurs
I am a single white working class male. I have been applying for jobs for more years then I care to admit. I am talking entry level jobs and these corporations are not hiring me. They hire women and immigrants.

I am like an expert filing out applications online. I will go into the store and say hi to managers. I am clean, courteous, healthy, and relaxed. They are not hiring me. They only want women and immigrants.
(This post was last modified: 09-24-2016 10:32 AM by Kinko.)
09-24-2016 10:31 AM
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