Bootstrapping or taking venture capital money – that is the question!

Ron Rudzin self-financed his online mattress company, Saatva. Credit Bryan Anselm for The New York Times


Is it possible to grow to a mega-sized company without venture capital or angel funding? Is it possible to grow organically over time, be self-funded and eventually become a mega company?

There are no rights and wrongs, just the risks that start-up company founders have to weigh very carefully before taking any type of investment from a third party, or going it alone with no outside funding.

This article in the NY Times Entrepreneurship column a few weeks ago focused on start-up companies that have taken the road less traveled and did not seek or receive venture capital, but have achieved mega company size.

I encourage you to read the entire article, and let me know if you know of any company in the last twenty years that arrived at an IPO without venture capital or debt financing!

Read full article here

We are living in a mobile world and you have to keep up!

An employee stacks items to be shipped at the Inc. fulfillment center in Phoenix, Arizona, U.S. on, Sunday, Dec. 1, 2013. More than 131 million consumers are expected to shop Cyber Monday events, up from 129 million last year, according to the National Retail Federation. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg via Getty Images

It continues to amaze me as to how rapidly our buying habits are changing! Just yesterday, instead of going to the store, I bought my new Fitbit on EBay with one click, paid for it with my PayPal account with one more click, and within seconds I made my purchase at the price I wanted to pay!  No store to visit, no salesperson to talk to, no wasted time, and all done on my phone, and while walking down the street!! Don’t worry, it was not while I was crossing the street 🙂

Cybershopping has accelerated so fast that retailers are scrambling even faster just to keep up. We are now making 51% of our purchases online according to a survey published by United Parcel Service Inc.

We all know that millennials are born to purchase everything on line, and 54% are currently doing that. But older folks like me and you are actually making our purchases on line at a faster adoption rate than our younger counterparts!

Of course, the 800-pound gorilla in the room is Amazon and they accounted for about 60% of total U.S. online sales growth last year. More importantly, they have turned the shipping paradigm upside down. Everyone now expects free or at the very least low cost shipping and fast and even faster delivery.

If you are a business owner, and you depend on doing business on line, you have no choice – you must fully optimize your website for mobile capability if you want to have any chance to increase your web traffic and your sales.


Read the full article here 

You’ve just graduated, but oh my, you don’t have a passion yet that will drive you for the rest of your life!


Every year around May and June there is a great deal made about new graduates and how they must find their passion, and all the commencement speeches given by people whom we respect and admire and whom we look towards for inspiration. In fact, I was delighted that Michelle Obama gave the commencement speech at my alma mater, City College just the other week.

However, I must admit I have always been slightly embarrassed that it took me a very long time to find my passion. In fact, it took me 18 years after I graduated college to gather up the courage and wherewithal to start my own company.

And so, it was with some bemusement and relief that I happened to read an article by Angela Duckworth in the NY Times Preoccupations Column this past Sunday that actually advised young graduates not to follow their passion, but to foster it, which is exactly what I needed to do before I found my own passion which was to build a company unlike any one that I had ever worked for and that would inspire people and be a unique place to work and grow.

Ms. Duckworth  suggests that one should move toward what interests them, seek a purpose, and finish strong. I was enheartened to learn that she too had several jobs before she found her passion, and eventually she garnered the knowledge and skills that she uses in her current position. I know for myself, that without the many positions I’ve had in my career, I would not be as well prepared as I am today to help business owners become CEO’s.

My advice to new graduates is to be patient, and when you do find your passion, make a commitment to yourself to take the bold steps that are required.


Read the full article here

What, you haven’t met the mythical millennial yet? Where have you been?


Last week, being an avid reader of the NY Times, Personal Tech column, I was intrigued by Farhad Manjoo’s column about millennials, and thought I might share this column and my thoughts with all of you.

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I’m a baby boomer, and of course, that means that I am lumped together with all the other baby boomers, just as my daughter, and her friends are lumped together as millennials.Needless to say, I don’t like being lumped, and I don’t think my daughter or her friends like that either.

So why is it important to be designated as a millennial, or a baby boomer? Does it really help to better understand an individual if we include them in a particular demographic or age group? Yes, sometimes it does, but a good portion of the time, we all know that generalizations go just so far!

As a business consultant, I work with both millennials and baby boomers separately and together in teams. There are certainly similarities and also differences. Although they are classified as being in one group or another, they are still first and foremost, individuals who must coexist with one another to achieve common goals for their employers and their own companies.

I encourage you to read the full article, and let me know what you think. Exchanging our views of what it is like to work with Baby Boomers, Gen X’s, Gen Y’s, and Millennials can only enable us to work better and more productively with one another.

Read the full article here