The Long and Winding Road


Jon Reinfurt

As many of you know, I often talk about small business owners becoming CEO’s, so I was quite intrigued when I saw this article in last week’s Sunday New York Times Business Section (read full article here) focused on what it takes for a young person starting his or her career to eventually become a CEO in the corporate arena. In particular, I wanted to see if the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the corporate world was all that different than the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the world of small business.

No one doubts that hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck are key factors for climbing the corporate ladder, but new evidence shows having experience in as many business’s functional areas as possible and building relationships within an industry may now be just as important.

Data from a new study by LinkedIn of almost a half million onetime management consultants showed that experience in one additional functional area improved a person’s odds of becoming a senior executive as much as three years of extra experience. Burning Glass, a firm that scours millions of job listings to determine labor market trends, found a surge in demand for hybrid jobs, that incorporate expertise in different fields such as both technology and finance.

If as as Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn says that to be a C.E.O. or other top executive, “You need to understand how the different parts of a company work and how they interact with each other and understand how other people do their job”, then indeed the same is just as true for a small business owner who wants to become a CEO. There really is no difference!

I urge you to read the full article and let me know what you think.

Silicon Valley Apocalypse: Near or Far?



In March of 2016 earlier this year I had written about how “Startups Remain Believers Despite the Warning Signs (article here), so I was enheartened to see an update by Katie Benner in the NY Times, August 28, 2016 Technology section that talked about how start-ups in Silicon Valley are beginning to narrow their focus (article here).

Seasoned venture capitalists warned that many start-ups would eventually suffer the plight of a very cold winter, and the worst was yet to come. However, despite these apocalyptic predictions, most start-ups are still here, but many of them have definitely made adjustments including layoffs and accepting smaller and more realistic valuations. Ms. Benner writes, “Entrepreneurs who once talked about how fast their start-ups were growing are now spouting from a bible of fiscal responsibility.”

Venture Capitalists are still sounding the alarms, and given the economy, the pending election, and world events, who knows what will happen to the stock market, and what that will do to the flow of funds for start-up ventures? However, as an entrepreneur, a business owner and a management consultant who has experienced the ups and downs of the marketplace many times, I am pleased to see that start-ups are paying attention and are more receptive to taking fiscal responsibility. My advice continues to be to take the time to understand your market, make adjustments where you need to, and also make smart investments where you need to as well.