Entrepreneurial

7 business mistakes you ought to avoid

– Neil Patel is a serial entrepreneur who blogs about business at Quick Sprout and is the co-founder of KISSmetrics. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are his own. –

After 10 years of being an entrepreneur, you probably think that I have everything figured out, right? Sadly, I don’t. Don’t get me wrong, to a large extent I know what I’m doing, but just like my first day as an entrepreneur I’m still making mistakes.

The mistakes aren’t the same rookie ones I’ve made before, but instead they are bigger mistakes. Here are some of the mistakes I’ve made over the last few years that you should avoid:

Business mistake No.  1: Don’t get too personal with your employees

I love helping my employees out. When they are happy, it makes me happy. But over time what you’ll realize is that the closer you get with your employees, the more likely they’ll push their problems onto you.

I don’t mind helping people out with their problems, but if they can’t learn to solve them by themselves, how will they ever grow as individuals? So instead of babying people 24/7 make sure you help them out a bit, but don’t be afraid to watch them fall. When they fall, they learn how to pick themselves back up, and hopefully prevent it from happening again.

A look into Carbonite’s IPO

As an entrepreneur, David Friend has been around the block a few times. The 63-year-old has built and sold four companies and raised a ton of venture capital along the way. That still didn’t prepare him for the wild ride he experienced in taking his company public.

After the dust cleared, Friend was the CEO of his first publicly traded company, but one with a significantly reduced share value and market cap, as Carbonite (CARB) became the lone U.S. tech firm to IPO last week.

“Everybody was betting against us,” said Friend, whose Boston-based online backup company reduced its debut share price from $17 to $10 in order to get out, in one the worst trading periods in nearly three years. At the close of trading on Wednesday, Carbonite’s share price had jumped to more than $15. “We kind of proved everybody wrong, but it was definitely a high-wire act.”

Jane Pauley tackles reinvention

SecondAct contributor Kerry Hannon is a Contributing Editor for U.S. News & World Report and the author of “Whats Next? Follow Your Passion and Find Your Dream Job”. This article originally appeared here. –

Jane Pauley, the former star of The Today Show and Dateline is back. Last year, the 60-year-old newscaster returned home to NBC’s Today, launching a monthly segment called Your Life Calling with Jane Pauley.

The series profiles people over 50 who reinvent themselves, their lives and their careers. “We’re going to live longer than our parents’ generation, and there comes a point when you ask yourself, ‘What am I going do?’” Pauley says. “You can only play so much golf.”

Boomer sees business in discarded mannequins

Kara Ohngren is a writer and editor at SecondAct. This article originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Judi Henderson-Town felt trapped. For years she was unhappy as an account executive at such industry giants as Johnson & Johnson and United Airlines. She found corporate life “soul-destroying.”

“I wanted something more entrepreneurial,” said the 53-year-old Henderson-Town. “But I didn’t know it was an option — no one I knew growing up owned their own business.”

Is Airbnb growing too fast?

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. The views expressed are her own. –

Airbnb is on a tear. Three years after the San Francisco-based company began inviting real people to list for rent their homes and apartments, castles and houseboats, users have booked 1.9 million nights in more than 184 countries; bookings are growing an astonishing 40 percent month over month; and roughly 1,000 new properties are entered into its system each day.

The company is growing so fast, in fact, that it’s reportedly raising $100 million at a whopping $1 billion valuation — a mighty addition to the $8 million in capital it has previously raised from Sequoia Capital, Greylock Partners, and numerous individuals.

Entrepreneur Peter Yared: Social is “so over”

– Connie Loizos is a contributor to PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This story originally appeared here. –

Entrepreneur Peter Yared doesn’t mince words. In April, after TechCrunch misreported some of the circumstances around a Facebook employee’s termination, Yared wrote a widely read post titled “Why TechCrunch is Over” in which he called its founder, Michael Arrington, “insane,” adding that it “must be hard to live amidst a rapidly declining site.”

In more recent posts, Yared has called Twitter “primarily a broadcasting platform with very few active users” and unusable for “normal people.” He has also suggested that if he were to start a company today with either entrepreneurs Mark Pincus, Evan Williams, or Mark Zuckerberg, he’d go with Pincus “given what we now know” about Williams and Zuckerberg. (Both have been accused of elbowing their early co-founders out of the picture.)

Author self publishes aromatherapy-scented children’s books

The idea for a children’s aromatherapy-scented book about a rescue dog came to Margaret Hyde in a dream.

“I woke up with the idea for it in the middle of the night, four years ago,” said Hyde, author of the Mo’s Nose book series. “I got up, wrote the idea and wrote the first version of the first story. I even saw it illustrated in Japanese ink brush in my dream.”

The dog in Hyde’s dream belonged to her best friend Amanda Giacomini, whom she asked to illustrate the first book, “Mo Smells Red”. Giacomini didn’t know how to use Japanese ink brush, but learned the skill for the books.

Banjo mobile app keeps travelers in touch

A missed opportunity to connect with friends at an airport was the impetus behind a new social discovery service targeted at smartphone users.

The free service, Banjo, is the brainchild of 38-year-old tech entrepreneur Damien Patton. It launched this week and is available for iPhone and Android owners.

“It was started because I missed out on a personal connection,” Patton said. “It brings all the social information together into one convenient place on the mobile device.”

“Lean Startup” evangelist Eric Ries is just getting started

– Connie Loizos is a contributor for PE Hub, a Thomson Reuters publication. This article originally appeared here. –

“Except in very narrow cases, where there’s breakthrough science that needs patent production, worrying about competitors is a waste of time,” Eric Reis told me. “If you can’t out iterate someone who is trying to copy you, you’re toast anyway.”

Ries speaks with confidence, likely because people seem to listen. In fact, he’s become one of Silicon Valley’s best salesmen, largely by preaching what seems to be common sense: in order to maximize resources, companies need to find out what customers want as quickly as possible and capitalize on those findings.

5 lessons entrepreneurs can learn from Navy SEALs

– Jeff Bussgang is a former entrepreneur and partner at Flybridge Capital Partners. This article originally appeared on his blog Seeing Both Sides. The views expressed are his own. –

There has been a surge in interest with the world of the Navy SEALs since the Osama bin Laden action (this piece in the WSJ was a particularly good profile) and I confess to being caught up in it myself.

One of my portfolio company CEOs, Will Tumulty of Ready Financial, is a former Navy SEAL (1990-1995). Will was kind enough to introduce me to a SEAL classmate of his, Brendan Rogers (SEAL 1990-2000), who joined me and 20 NYC CEOs/founders from the tech scene recently to talk about the SEALs – the training, the planning and the operations behind their combat operations – as well as draw out some relevant lessons for entrepreneurs. Brendan went on to HBS and McKinsey after the SEALs and then started his own hedge fund with a partner, so he had an interesting, multi-faceted perspective.

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