10/12/2006

Mystery solved.

This is in a lot of ways a welcome back post. Since my last post I've relocated and started a business with a busines partner and everything is good and getting better. I will share more details on this venture in future post which hopefully will be much more regular.

Here is the thing, since being here, I have dealt with a lot of people in trying to get things done. It amazes me how negative people are and don't know it and how few positive people there are around. I did found some notes on this particular topic from my favorite publisher "Munson Steed"

Here it is.



There are two kinds of people in the world.

One group curses the darkness. The other group turns on the light or opens their eyes. One group walks on the moon. The other group won’t walk through the door. One group is constantly befuddled by the mysteries of life. The other group has broken the ancient code: there is no mystery in life, save one; what you will be you are now becoming. In other words, there is no secret code, no puzzle, no conundrum to unravel. You are choosing your future every day with every breath that you draw.

Can you pass the test? People who become doctors, lawyers and electricians have to pass tests. Which means they have to attend classes or serve an apprenticeship or both in order to ply their trade. They have to make a commitment of time, money and effort to effect a change in their fortune. They may not like it, they may not think it’s cool, but they choose to chase the validation afforded by an education, rather than a pseudo placidity for the sake of street cred. Others pass up every opportunity at a better life.

One group chooses a better life. The other chooses to believe the odds are stacked against them. They believe and accept their misfortune, bad luck or karma as real. Why fight it? Every time you get up on one knee, something or someone else knocks you back down, so just accept the status quo and take another toke. Or abuse your family. Or kill somebody with anything but kindness. Or part the air with invectives designed to maim the victim beyond recognition.

There are two kinds of people in the world.

One group curses the darkness. The other group knows it’s an illusion. One group is confounded by the mysteries of life. Negativity and his addled younger brother, futility, enslave them. But hold your pity. They would rather stumble about, bumping into each other, than open their eyes to reality.
I took this picture of the city from inside a darkened room. The big city wasn’t a mystery to me because I wasn’t peering through rose-colored lenses. I determined long ago that I wouldn’t allow anything to consume me or negatively affect who I am. Don’t let life be a mystery simply because you refuse to take those blinders off. Solve your mystery.

Peace.

Peace to you Munson Steed.

Hope it shed some light on you.

Thanks

Best,

Andy G. Rodie.

5/19/2006

From my spiritual mentor - John Hope Bryant

I read John's blog every day and it's one the blog I learn the most from. I would like to share this piece from him that I am sure you can benefit from also. It is worth knowing more about this guy because he is one of the most authoritative and compelling figure on poverty eradication in this country today. Check out www.johnhopebryant.com


A Blast From The Past From Black Entertainment Television (BET.COM)

Ten Things on Bryant's Mind...

1. "Don't cop an attitude. Change your attitude."

2. "Everyday, learn something new. Be obsessed with learning."

3. "Don't expect life to be a rose garden."

4. "Own something ... no leased cars on the lawn of your rented duplex."

5. "Entrepreneurs work 18 hours a day to keep from getting a job."

6. "Redefine success. Success is going from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm."

7. "Love is work."

8. "Decide what type of bird you want to be. Eagles don't fly in packs. Buzzards are low altitude birds that love packs. Turkeys have wings and can't fly."

9. "Invest in yourself."

10. "Watch how you live your life. It may be the only Bible that anyone else reads."

Onward, with HOPE --- John Hope Bryant

Best,

Andy G. Rodie

4/20/2006

Entrepreneur - Sara Blakely



This is a lesson in Entrepreneurship. I first noticed Sara on the Rebel Billionare realitly show with Richard Branson. Even though she did not win, she left an impression on me. I have been following her company ever since. Read on. This was taken from www.theladieswholaunch.com
Great website.


How did a twenty-something woman - unhappy with the way her clothes fit, create one of the hottest brands in the hosiery and shape wear business?



Hers is a story of risk and reward.

Sara Blakely didn't like the thong lines and cellulite staring back in the mirror when she repeatedly tried on a favorite pair of white pants, so she started Spanx (http://www.spanx.com/), with a line of footless pantyhose that promises "we've got your butt covered."

Now Spanx products are sold in stores like Neiman Marcus, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale's and Saks Fifth Avenue. Blakely estimates the company will bring in $30 million in revenue this year, its fifth anniversary. Spanx has been profitable and self-funded from the start - Blakely is the sole owner and has never raised capital or brought in outside investors.

Step One: Cutting the Feet Out of Pantyhose

"I was selling copiers door-to-door (in Atlanta) and doing stand-up comedy. I had never worked in fashion or retail, just loved clothes and shoes. I spent my hard-earned money on a beautiful pair of white pants, but never wore them because every time I put them on, I could see a panty line or thong mark and a bit of cellulite. Body shapers were thick and uncomfortable. So I cut the feet out of my control top pantyhose, and that worked better than anything on the market."

Step Two: Selling 'Crazy' Idea

"No one in my family had been in business - I come from a whole line of lawyers. Through Internet research, I discovered that most of the world's pantyhose are made in North Carolina. So I started cold-calling and faxing non-disclosures to the hosiery mills, and they all thought my idea was crazy. They weren't interested.

"Simultaneously I looked up every pantyhose patent since 1800 to see if there already was a patent for footless pantyhose, and found that there wasn't. I also cold-called patent lawyers and was met with nothing but resistance and laughter. One lawyer later admitted that he thought I had been sent by Candid Camera.

" Taking Legal Matters Into Her Own Hands

"So I went to Barnes & Noble, bought a book on patents and trademarks, and wrote my patent myself, except the claims part, which has the real legal jargon. Finally I was able to find an attorney who would do the claims portion for a few hundred dollars.

" Keeping Secrets

"I didn't tell anyone my idea, not friends or family. Everyone knew I was working on an invention, but they didn't know what it was until I had already invested a year of my time. This is important because so many people stop dead in their tracks because their husband or brother or someone, out of love, brings up 50 things for them to worry about."

"The minute you put your idea out there, you're forced to justify it. A year after working on it (footless pantyhose), I said, 'OK, I'm going to tell you guys.' And I was met with a lot of questions and skepticism. People asking, 'Is that really such a good idea? The big guys will just knock you off.' If I hadn't already invested a year, I might not have done it (started Spanx)."

Source of Inspiration: Oprah

"I asked for a sign that I should keep going. One day, I turned on the TV and clicked on Oprah, and there she was showing the world that she had cut the feet out of her pantyhose."

Finally, a Breakthrough

"I called the hosiery mills and said, 'I'm taking a week off work and coming in person to talk with you. I met with all the mill owners, and they all sent me away again. Two weeks later, one of the mill owners called and said, 'I'm going to help you make your crazy idea. Why? I have two daughters.'"

12 Months in the Making

"It took a year to make the first product prototype. I learned the hosiery industry had been putting a rubber cord at our waistbands, even though we no longer needed it because of Lycra. The industry had been taking the average between the largest size and the smallest size and putting average sizes on waistbands."

"There was not a female in this industry challenging the mills that were pumping out these products for years. No one saying, 'Let's make hosiery more comfortable.' With Spanx, if you're an A-size, you get an A-waistband. They're all cotton, so you can wear them with or without underwear, which is the whole point, to get rid of panty lines."

Packaging the Product

"I knew I wanted our packaging to be red - it's one of my favorite colors. We didn't have money to advertise, so I knew a red package would stand out among all the beige and grey on the store shelves. I didn't read a bunch of books, didn't have a bunch of classes in marketing. The only source I went to was my gut and myself as a consumer. I thought, 'Personally I don't like buying pantyhose, it's confusing and boring. How can I change that?'"

Naming the Company

"I knew Kodak and Coca-Cola are among the most recognized products in the world. And it's a weird trade secret among comedians that the 'k' sound will make people laugh. The minute I came to that clarity, the word "spanks" came to mind. I knew from research that made-up words do better for products than real words and are easier to trademark, so I changed the name to "Spanx" and trademarked it online."

Gaining Entree Into Stores

"I called Neiman-Marcus, got the buyer on the phone and said, 'I will fly to Dallas to show this to you if you give me ten minutes.' She said OK, got the concept immediately and put Spanx in seven stores. I called every friend in each of those seven cities and said, 'I will pay you back if you go buy the product and tell all your friends."

The Art of Self-Promotion

"We have never hired a marketing company, never hired a PR company, never hired a sales company. To promote the product, I stood in hosiery departments for a year and a half. I sent a gift basket to Oprah and said, 'Thanks for being part of this process,' because she was the sign I had asked for." (A few months later, Oprah sent a crew to Atlanta to interview Blakely in her "Spanx headquarters," which was really the back of Blakely's apartment. In November of 2000, her interview and footless pantyhose appeared on Oprah's "Favorite Things" show.)

No Budget, Big Buzz

"With no money to advertise, I had to do things in a way that were on the edge. I took a really big leap of faith there. A lot of news editors and other people hung up on me at first when I said, 'I'm calling from Spanx.' But I took the most boring subject on the planet, pantyhose, and made it something people wanted to talk about."

Bra-llelujah!?

"Now we have more than 40 innovative products for women. We have an all-hosiery bra, so comfortable it's called 'Bra-llelujah!' We have control-top fishnet stockings and Power Panties, our second best-selling product (after Spanx footless pantyhose). We have two new collections in intimate apparel, one called 'Hide and Sleek,' which is a line of smoothing camis, slips, and panties that firm and tone."

Greatest Success

"I was so proud of seeing my products on Neiman Marcus shelves. I thought, 'There's something I came up with on my own and now it's next to Donna Karan and Calvin Klein and other international brands.' The day I launched Power Panties on QVC, they quickly sold out. I got the sales numbers and realized I wasn't a one-hit-wonder like the big guys said I would be. I felt more like a company, less like someone who stumbled on a fluke that was successful."

Greatest Challenge

"Building the team. For someone who's never taken a business class, never managed anyone, to all of a sudden be a business owner and manager and be responsible for all of my employees' livelihoods... I was shocked and confused on how to be an effective manager. Then I realized, 'It's OK if you're not good at this, hire someone who is.'" Hiring a CEO"I keep dreaming up ideas in random moments, but I'm a bit more removed from the day-to-day of the company. We have a fabulous CEO and COO. I'm the face of Spanx, spreading the word, involved in new marketing ideas. I'm an entrepreneur who knows her strengths and weaknesses. I'm not interested in running the day-to-day business, so for me to step aside, has not been hard for me at all."

Words of Advice - On Delegating

"As an entrepreneur, you will be in an eternal state of frustration with people you have to delegate to because you think, 'I could have done that better.' That's not fair to your people, because they have strengths you don't have. If you can find people who do it 80 percent as well as you can, you're a lucky entrepreneur. Once I started looking at it this way, I all of a sudden relaxed, no longer expecting people to do it exactly the way I would have done it." Words of Advice - On Patents"I thought the minute my patent was awarded that I was home free. But a patent is only as good as you are willing to defend it. It's most important to be first to market, come up with clever marketing, try to fill the distribution channels and make sure your product is the best."


Probably the longest post in History, but I wanted it all in one post.

Best,

Andy G. Rodie

Create a Company - Part 3

Here is the third part to the create a company series.


Create a company: 3 - Work always long term rather than short term


Your business life is like living in a very small city.
Each time you work with somebody, you leave an impression. I started my business in Paris, and I thought it was big. I realized fast that information goes so fast about you and your company providing a good or a bad service. So fast.

I looked at my very first clients as gods I had to worship, think all the time about the trust they had given me. I had to give them back much more than their trust, exceed their expectations, not just what they had paid for.

Shortly after I had provided that great quality with my team I realized how fast the word spreads around, we won many new clients thanks to our first clients recommandations.
Of course when we made mistakes the word spreads even faster.

Working long term for me is just asking yourself the question: will this client or person going to call me for another business in the future ? This may sound so simple but I have seen so many people and suppliers think short term. Like taking an opportunity to charge much more than the market price for a product or service. It is likely you will not have a repeat and loyal customer, it will be a one time only. Short term.

Now with blogging it is going to be incredibly fast. Transparence everywhere. Your clients will start blogging soon about you, your company and the quality of your services. Your employees may start blogging about the way you manage it, I actually wonder why trade unions have not started blogging much (do you know any trade union blogs ?).

You will have to answer these blogs, especially the ones criticizing your services, so that they do not appear higher than your own website on google and other search engines. By the way, where is the answer from the Hippopotamus restaurant chain on my post ? ;=)


Best,

Andy G. Rodie

4/17/2006

Entrepreneur - Mark Cuban, America's Coolest Billionaire.

This is an interview in young money magazine with Businessman Mark Cuban. There's a lot to learn from Mark and I will share many of his thoughts in this bloy with, starting with this interview. Check it out.

The"average guy" billionaire, Dallas Mavericks owner, and creator of "The Benefactor" reality TV show shares his secrets for making money.
By Daniel Jimenez, youngmoney.com managing editor

My first encounter with Mark Cuban happened poolside last year at the MGM Grand hotel in Las Vegas. He strolled by me, dressed casually in a t-shirt and swim trunks, holding a towel in one hand. I watched Cuban grab a cold drink before getting into the pool to chat with friends. There was nothing about his appearance or demeanor to signal his status as one of the country's richest men.

This brief experience helped convince me that the"regular guy" image portrayed by Cuban in countless media appearances was not just for show. He really is a man with two very distinct personalities: an ambitious self-made business tycoon who also loves to have fun, sort of like a hipper version of Bill Gates. Cuban, 44, became a millionaire at age 31 after selling MicroSolutions, the computer systems integration company he had founded upon graduating from Indiana University. In fact, he started his computer consulting firm without having ever taken a computer class.

Following a brief retirement, he returned to co-found Broadcast.com, a leading provider of streaming media on the Internet. He eventually took the company public and sold it to Yahoo! in 1999, leaving him about $2 billion richer. The life-long basketball junkie used a mere $280 million of that money to buy the Dallas Mavericks pro basketball team. These days, Cuban is busy promoting his latest business venture called HDNet, the first national all-high definition television network.

This outspoken entrepreneur has drawn more public attention for his hands-on approach to team ownership, which includes yelling and screaming at players and officials from his courtside seat at games. His verbal attacks on an NBA official ("I wouldn't hire him to manage a Dairy Queen") earned him the largest individual fine in league history ($500,000) and led to his accepting an invitation to spend a day working behind the counter of a local DQ. Cuban often shoots baskets with the Mavericks before games and even has his own locker in the team's dressing room.

The long time bachelor married for the first time ever last September and now lives in a 2,000-square-foot mansion in Dallas. He flies in a corporate jet, which he bought online for $41 million. Despite his busy schedule, Cuban is also a much sought after public speaker on business and technology issues.

Cuban has been known to personally answer thousands of fan email, so I contacted him via email to set up an interview. It took him less than 10 minutes to send back responses to all my questions. His advice is not the usual stuff you'll hear from other successful businessmen. But then again, there's nothing common about America's most extraordinary average guy.

YOUNG MONEY TALKS TO MARK CUBAN:

During an exclusive interview with YOUNG MONEY, billionaire Mark Cuban shared his thoughts on using the fear of failure as a motivator, beating the competition, and why investing in the stock market may not be such a good idea.

YM: What is the key to recognizing a profitable business opportunity?CUBAN: Knowing the industry very well. Most people think it's all about the idea. It's not. EVERYONE has ideas. The hard part is doing the homework to know if the idea could work in an industry, then doing the preparation to be able to execute on the idea.

YM: What personal characteristics should a person possess in order to become a successful entrepreneur?CUBAN: Willingness to learn, to be able to focus, to absorb information, and to always realize that business is a 24 x 7 job where someone is always out there to kick your ass.

YM: Did you set career goals for yourself while you were in college? If so, what were they?CUBAN: To retire by the age of 35 was my goal. I wasn't sure how I was going to get there though. I knew I would end up owning my own business someday, so I figured my challenge was to learn as much as anyone about every and all businesses. [I believed] that every job I took was really me getting paid to learn about a new industry. I spent as much time as I could, learning and reading everything about business I could get my hands on. I used to go into the library for hours and hours reading business books and magazines.

YM: Do you consider yourself an innovator? Why?CUBAN: No. I don't really have new ideas, but I manage to combine information in ways most people hadn't considered. They aren't new ideas, it's just that most people don't do their homework about their businesses and industry, so there is usually a place to sneak in and do something a little different. You just have to make sure what you want to do can sustain a business and make it profitable rather than be a niche that can be crushed [by the competition].

YM: What advice would you give young adults just struggling to move up in the business world?CUBAN: There are no shortcuts. You have to work hard, and try to put yourself in a position where if luck strikes, you can see the opportunity and take advantage of it. I would also say it's hard not to fool yourself. Everyone tells you how they are going to be"special," but few do the work to get there. Do the work.

YM: What types of opportunities would you pursue if you were starting over today?CUBAN: I just started a business called HDNet. There never is one area that has a door open to everyone. Try to find an area with something you love to do and do it. It's a lot easier to work hard and prepare when you love what you are doing.

YM: What would you tell entrepreneur hopefuls who are afraid of failing?CUBAN: It's good [for them]. I'm always afraid of failing. It's great motivation to work harder.

YM: What is the most important piece of advice you could offer someone who's just starting a business?CUBAN: Do your homework and know your business better than anyone. Otherwise, someone who knows more and works harder will kick your ass.

YM: Did you have to sacrifice your personal life in order to become a business success?CUBAN: Sure, ask about five of my former girlfriends that question... I went seven years without a vacation. I didn't even read a fiction book in that time. I was pretty focused.

YM: Do you have any general saving and investing advice for young people?CUBAN: Put it in the bank. The idiots that tell you to put your money in the market because eventually it will go up need to tell you that because they are trying to sell you something. The stock market is probably the worst investment vehicle out there.
If you won't put your money in the bank, NEVER put your money in something where you don't have an information advantage. Why invest your money in something because a broker told you to? If the broker had a clue, he/she wouldn't be a broker, they would be on a beach somewhere.


I hope you find it inspirational.


Best,

Andy G. Rodie

One of my daily reads.

There are a few pieces of literature I read daily for inspiration, motivation and inspiration.
This one is my favorite.

DARE TO BE
By Steve Maraboli

When a new day begins,
dare to smile gratefully.

When there is darkness,
dare to be the first to shine the light.

When something seems difficult,
dare to do it anyway.

When life seems to beat you down,
dare to fight back.

When there seems to be no hope,
dare to find some.

When you're feeling tired,
dare to keep going.

When times are tough,
dare to tougher.

When love hurts you,
dare to love again.

When someone is hurting,
dare to help them heal.

When another is lost,
dare to help them find a way.

When a friend falls,
dare to be the first to extend a hand.

When you cross path with another,
dare to make them smile.

When you feel great,
dare to help someone else feel great too.

When the day has ended,
dare to feel as you've done your best.

Dare to the best you can - At all times, Dare to be!


What a challenge.

Best,

Andy G. Rodie

Here is something for all of us to think about.

I think it puts things in perspective when we also consider others who might need a helping hand. God knows we all need that helping hand sometimes. It is necessary. Let me know what your think.


Are the shoes too big? Munson Steed Publisher of rolling out weekly

We don’t always know when we start a venture how it might eventually play out. It takes strong vision and faith to tread a rocky path. Taking on responsibility that we do not own takes a special set of circumstances, some might call it a gift; others might term it a calling, but such openness is not innate in many of us. The Virgin Mary’s Joseph was one with such a heart. Joseph accepted Mary’s son as his own and never accused her of double timing him, even as the neighbors laughed and whispered put downs behind his back. It couldn’t have been easy for him. And whether we’re referring to people in ancient times or the here and now, people’s behavior hasn’t changed all that much. It’s still difficult to do the right thing sometimes, and people will criticize you no matter what you do, so you might as well choose to fulfill your destiny.

The question for seekers trying to build a better world for everyone is how to appropriate the heart of Joseph in these trying times. Sure, it’s simpler to just take care of yourself. But not everybody is capable of caring for themselves. There are many among us who are lost in the darkness of poverty, addiction, mental illness or disease that need someone with the heart of Joseph to bring light to their corner of the world. We all have the ability to work miracles, to be angels in somebody’s life. We may not think of it as a miracle, but the recipients do. When we alleviate someone’s suffering, whether they are hungry or lonely or despondent, we are performing a sacred act. It is not charity or a favor; it is what is required of each of us.
Compassion and humility are not weaknesses; they are the bedrocks upon which any civil society must be composed. Joseph accepted his responsibility in a miracle—despite inner conflicts, his own ego and others’ petty opinions—and became a dad. Somewhere, there is a hand reaching out to you, there is a heart whose ache you can fill, and there is a sick soul you can heal with kindness and love. We, each one of us, is the palliative the world needs right now. Don’t hide from your destiny; you might be delaying somebody’s miracle.

Peace.


One of the best writers of our time. I just have to share his work.
Thanks for your inspiration Munson Steed.

Best,

Andy G. Rodie

3/21/2006

Create a Company Part 2

Here is the second part of the 7 part series of creating a company by Loic Le Meur

Create a company: 2 - Find the best people and trust them


One of the most important part of creating a company is getting the best people with you for what you want to do.
When I launched B2L, two friends, Antoine Bello and Fran├žois Lamotte who launched Ubiqus, hosted me in their company as I did not have the means to rent offices. I had an "office" in front of the lift entrance. Launching a web agency, I naturally thought I needed to hire a good engineer as I only have a business school background.
Hiring an engineer from a good technical school when you are the only employee in the company, when you have no offices and three months of cash ahead of you and no references is not an easy task. Finally I could convince Vincent Maurin to come to the interview and I remember it very well, as I was actually taking an interview, not him. This was normal as I had basically nothing. I had to convince I would get my first clients, I would have enough cash to pay his salary.
The person who probably impressed me the most was Jean-Jacques Borie (I am getting him blogging... but did not start yet). He sent me a CV at the very beginning of B2L that was quite empty I should say without offending him I hope. I was one of the few that received him in interview because his CV was expressing passion. Most people at that time did not have Internet experience so experience mattered less than passion and passion to learn. Jean-Jacques was reading an Internet developtment book every night and learnt as fast as crazy, he quickly became the best technical person of the team and the fastest to add value for our clients. The lesson here is be careful with large and full CVs, I have made a lot of mistakes when I forgot that passion was the most important.
Another important thing is to provide your team with vision, vision about what your long term aim is, your own passion in building the company. Managing a team is not about giving orders, it is about sharing a long term view with your team and their motivation comes from your own passion. If you are not very highly motivated yourself, do not expect your team to be motivated.
Trust. I have never checked anybody's work or working time. My only concern is result. This is especially important when I experienced having employees working on a distant site, you just cannot check anything but results. I always had good results with distance work and will start it again with my new company. The more trust you give to your team, the better the results.

By Loic Le Meur.

Best,

Andy G. Rodie

Bootstrapping is necessary, here's why.

I am a firm believer in the bootstrapping your business because of the discipline you develop. I recently ran across these ten rules for bootstrapping your business from Thomas J. Frey, Executive Director of the DaVinci Institute.


Ten Rules for Bootstrapping Your BusinessWhen the going gets tough, the tough go bootstrapping

By Thomas J. Frey, Executive Director, DaVinci Institute



Walk a Mile in These Bootstrapped Shoes.



Much the way nature has evolved, the world of business operates in fluid balance with money serving as its breathable oxygen. And in much the same manner as nature, businesses feed off the less fortunate, using their superior strength to suffocate and feed off of the revenue streams of their daily prey, walking casually away to find their next meal.
Welcome to the startup business playground, where some of the best and brightest talent in this country has been burned at the stake.


As a fledgling newbie trying to sprout wings in this environment, you must prepare yourself for the significant challenges ahead. The challenges are multidimensional, testing you emotionally in ways you never imagined. You will quickly learn that every facet of your new business is steeped in emotion. Unlike what many people say, starting a business is a very personal thing, and you feel every speed bump along the way. Each new day will become an emotional rollercoaster ride, and you’re strapped in, no place to hide.
Experienced business people sometimes attain a sort of Zen-like ‘Art of War” ruthlessness where they emotionally detach from the carnage of driving a 40-ton semi through your living room, much like battle-worn military veterans. But this approach tends to desensitize your instincts and will create a trail of enemies that will come back to haunt you at some later date.
At the DaVinci Institute we have immersed ourselves in the field of bootstrapping, attempting to separate the myths and the fantasies from the things that work. While there can never be one perfect way to launch a business, these are some of the practical rules which seem to hold the most truth.

Lead the Life - Cut Your Overhead.

The first rule of bootstrapping is to cut your overhead costs to the bone. To achieve the bootstrapper’s mindset, the mental tai chi of becoming singular in your business focus, you must learn to lead the life. Payments for fancy houses and cars will slowly tear away at your personal resolve. Fancy meals at restaurants and lavish parties will compromise your attention. And high-end offices with luxury furnishings will put you at a negotiator’s disadvantage.
Frugality is not a skill that can be turned on and off. It’s a concept you must become married to. Every needless penny you spend will jeopardize your ability to succeed.


Never Blame Others – Do It Yourself.

As soon as you find yourself blaming other people for things not being done, just take a deep breath and do it yourself.
It becomes so easy to let yourself off the hook by simply blaming someone else. But in doing so, you put your company at risk. You have to be the emotional leader driving your business forward, with an unusual level of loyalty for what you’re doing. Frustrating as it may seem, you can’t expect others to have your same level of drive and commitment. Ultimately, you are singularly accountable for your company’s success or failure.


Don’t Plan for Failure – Remove the Guardrails at the Cliff.


for easy bailout options has a way of undermining your resolve. Every startup goes through tumultuous tough times testing the mettle of the entrepreneur. And the tough times are what separate the survivors from the many strewn casualties lying alongside the startup highway.
Planning for failure almost invariably leads to failure. Every step that the early stage entrepreneur takes on the startup tightrope will have them looking for an easier option, a soft landing so to speak. Removing the soft landings has a way of clearing your focus and strengthening your concentration.


Test Your Limits – Constantly.

Expanding skill sets and relentless passion are two key ingredients. But blind passion without the skills can be a very destructive force.
When is the last time you went outside and physically ran as fast as you possibly can? For most, this was a long time ago. But how will you know how fast you can run if you don’t test yourself. This is similar to the business world where knowing your limits is the best way to manage your options.


The Business Plan FallacyIn Quest of Low Hanging Fruit.

Contrary to what academicians teach, successful bootstrappers seldom write business plans. I’ve not met many that have. This is a luxury few can afford. But more importantly, bootstrappers have a constant need to keep their options open. Their relentless drive for revenues forces them to keep their peripheral vision intact as they view the opportunity landscape.
In the early stages of a startup, bootstrappers have little accountability for their actions. Their primary need is to prove a viable concept in a viable market. And this means revenues come before anything else.


The Transitional Business Model - Search for Low Hanging Fruit.

Potential revenue streams come in odd shapes and sizes, but you begin by selling yourself. For that matter, every transaction begins with you selling yourself as a competent, credible person with great integrity.
Often times the first revenues for a fledgling startup come from individual consulting contracts. Selling your own expertise pays the bills and can set the stage for you to metamorphose into the business you wish to become. Many would-be entrepreneurs fail to think through the options of creating a transitional business model where you begin with an easy entry point and transition into the business you ultimately want to become. This approach will invariable take unexpected twists and turns along the way, so be flexible and know when to make the next turn.

Little Things Matter - Micromanage to Your Advantage.

Sometimes the littlest details will throw your startup company into a tailspin. Blind trust is a luxury that startups can ill afford.
Understanding your business inside and out will give you much better operational control. In nearly every case there is a direct correlation between the decisions you make and the revenue streams you have coming in. Understanding this cause-and-effect correlation is absolutely critical for you to succeed.


Bankers are not Your Friend - Line up Tons of Credit Before you Start.

Few would-be entrepreneurs can imagine the difficulty of finding credit once they leave their steady income jobs. Credit scoring systems have a way of branding you as a terrible risk almost instantly as you enter the startup starting blocks. So plan ahead and line up credit in whatever forms you can find, and lots of it.
Business never works the way you have it planned. Chaos theory is alive and well, and will be knocking at your door when you least expect it.


Find a Mentor - Surround Yourself with People Who Look Like What You Want to Become.

Entrepreneurs need to surround themselves with other entrepreneurs. And it’s even better if you can surround yourself with people who are successful in the same type of business you are entering into.
Successful people often can’t tell you what it is that makes them special, but if you hang around with them, they will teach you through their actions. Sitting in on a negotiating session, or being in the same room when they deal with a personnel issue, will give you unique pieces of information that has never been captured in books.


Reckless and Relentless – The Bootstrapping Difference.

The bootstrapper business model is different than that of a “funded” company. Bootstrapping is more about drive and determination than it is about intelligence, and more about getting things done that doing things right. It’s better to get it done than to get it perfect. That’s not to say that you shouldn’t be bright and try to do things right, but successful bootstrappers tend to be more reckless and driven, and necessarily so, than their ‘funded’ entrepreneurial counterpart.
Funded companies demand accountability, and consequently this restricts the latitude with which they operate. People investing in a startup want to know that their money has been invested wisely, so recipients have more of an obligation to curb impulsive directional changes in the business.
Bootstrap startups have that touch of raw freedom people crave. And this kind of freedom is intoxicating.



Kudos to Thomas J. frey.


Best,


Andy G. Rodie

2/28/2006

Create a Company - Loic le Meur

I really do look everywhere for inspiration. Loic is a french entrepreneur who started several Companies and what he have to say about creating a company is of substance for anyone interested. I will share a seven part series about creating a company from Loic starting here with the first about the idea.


Create a company: 1 - the idea has no value


Here is an opening conference I give each year to the students of HEC Entrepreneurs. I thought I could share it here. Notes will come on my weblog has I have the time to add them.
I think the idea has clearly no value when you create a company. This is what makes most people afraid of launching their own business, they wait for the idea of the century and never have it !
I had a powerpoint slide showing 50 different ideas of creation. My point is that execution matters much more than the idea itself. Very few people actually execute an idea and execute it well and fast.
This is why when I start a company, I am never afraid of sharing it with everybody. Few people will do the same as you, just bet you will be faster. Sharing it with everybody gets you new ideas and very often constructive criticism, so share it.
I think creating a business is about filling empty space. There is empty space everywhere. How many times today you felt a service or a product was perfectible ? How many times you needed something that no company actually provides ? This is empty space. Just consider how big is the demand for this empty space and you have got your idea.
When I started my first company, B2L in 1996,a web agency, there were just one or two other web agencies in France. I started with a students loan of $10 000 and a client, Automobiles Peugeot. As a student, doing a research for them, I just told them they should launch the first car selling service on the Internet in France. Paul Sevin, the head of Peugeot Sales in France at that time, gave me my chance and said "well, just do it". So I created B2L and executed as best I could.
Clearly this was all about execution. About getting the first person who ever gave me his trust in my business life as happy as I could. We over exceeded any of his expectations and launched Occasiondulion.com, the very first site in France selling cars over the Internet. With this reference and the fact that they were extremely satisfied, we then won tens of competitions against other web agencies, Chanel, 20th Century Fox, Unilever, Mars, etc and grew B2L doubling in size every year, with 20% profit before tax.
The idea does not matter. It could have been anything else. I just thought the Internet was about to launch fast in the business sector and large corporations would need our services.
Currently I have about 10 ideas to create a new company, but I will focus only on one, because execution is key and it is very hard to be multitasking. One idea which I like very much but will not do as I am focusing on my new startup is about security.
Home and personal security is a growing issue for most of us. I got car-jacked once and my home was visited several times. There is a great idea here, very simple. The webcams which have webservers inside such as the Axis one I just bought can recognize automatically any person or object move in front of them. Imagine a company that would video monitor 24hrs a day your house and immediately tell you and the police if there is anything, with proof of evidence, the picture by sms or email...
I love this idea, but do not have the time to execute it properly, if any of you is interested, let me know, I would be happy to invest and be the first client !
The founder of Priceline.com has just launched US Home Guard aiming at protecting the key US locations with networked video cameras. You can just signup and look after a nuclear powerplant or other key locations ! Great idea. Visionary.
Don't you think so ?


Best,

Andy G. Rodie

2/27/2006

We all need this one - Read on.

One of the ways I keep myself motivated, inspired and focused is by reading from people that I have adopted as my spiritual mentors. Munson Steed is one of them. I have written and published a piece from Munson Steed before in this blog and I would like to share yet another.

" Proximity with a purpose "

It takes a combination of education, preparation , perserverance and time to reach most goals. A contributing factor of our success is dictated by association. Those fortunate few who have mother wit can forge their own path sans guide, map or soothsayer. The majority of us, however, had better hitch ourselves to a mentor, trainer, teacher, and volumes of books if we hope to attain higher goals. We have to create a network of positive influences to keep our laser beam focused on the end goal.

Supreme Court nominees, Heisman Trophy winners, Nobel Prize winners, stars on the big screen, and individuals with million-dollar product endorsement deals are associated with agents and agencies whose tentacles give them proximity to advancement and success. And the same formual is effective for everyday folks, too. If you want to be in the winner's circle, you have to put yourself in the close proxity to people who know how to win.

There are a myriad of options for building a successful life. Volunteering, Fund-raising, joining professional organizations, attending seminars, and continuously seeking to hone one's skill will pay dividends now and well into the future. We put a downpayment on our future with every book we read, every class we take, every dollar we save and every business we launch. Place yourself in close proximity to people who are already successful as often as possible, their enthusiam is a contagion you want to be infected with.

There are many avenues to economic and spiritual prosperity. We don't have to follow the exact path of our predecessors, but having the benefit of their wisdom is helpful. We do owe gratitude to the ancestors, for it's their shoulders we stand upon today, but it is our children who are owed our best effort. Children learn from and imitate what they observe. If they are not provided models of success outside of gangster-ism and thuggery, how will they know the possibilities available to them? And if they do not learn from us, who will teach the next generation?

Don't limit your scope in life; don't let your power die on the vine. You can change your life daily, hourly, and by the minute, if necessay. And it is necessay. Unlesss you have accomplished everything you set out to do on this journey, then you have some work ahead of you. But it is not impossible to get there. Small ones watching our struggle deserve to know they can win. Let's leave more than a footstool for our children to stand on. Let's create a new history and gift our children with closer proximity to greatness. Peace"


Thanks for your inspiration Munson.
Check out his site. www.rollingout.com



Best,

Andy G. Rodie

1/13/2006

A promise to yourself.

Have you ever felt that life sometimes is not going anywhere, that no matter how you try, things are not moving forward. There are more bad days than good. Here is a simple solution. Do yourself a favor, promise yourself to be strong that nothing disturbs your piece of mind.
I want to share this peace by one of my favorite author, Dr. Dennis Kimbro.

  • Talk health, happiness, and prosperity to every person you meet.
  • Make all your friends feel that there is a power inside them.
  • Be optimistic and look at life's bright side.
  • Think only of the best, work only for the best, and expect the best.
  • Be just as enthusiastic regarding the success of others as you are about your own.
  • Forget the mistakes of the pastand press forward to the greater achievements of the future.
  • Wear a cheerful countenance at all times and greet every living creature with a smile.
  • Give so much time to improvement of yourself that you have no time to criticize others.
  • Be too large to worry, too noble of anger, too strong for fear, and too happy to allow the presence of trouble.

Give it a shot. I think it is a promise worth keeping.


Best,

Andy G. Rodie

1/09/2006

Entrepreneur - Al Gosling.


If there is one entrepreneur who is doing what I want to be doing is this guy. I ran across is profile on net this morning. One of the top 50 entrepreneurs of 2005 in the UK.

Kudos to you Al. Always an inspiration.

Here is a prolife of him.

Mr Alistair Gosling,CEO,Extreme Group"Al Gosling, CEO and founder of Extreme Group, developed a passion for extreme sports during his early teens and following a number of jobs went on to found a successful and growing international business and brand based upon that early passion. An entrepreneur from the very start Al’s first business venture included selling board shorts out of the back of his old battered red Renault 5 while studying for his exams!1995, Aged 24, having just return from travelling and unable to find a job, Al decided he wanted to establish a company that would mix his passion for Extreme Sports with business and so Extreme International was established, which specialised in the acquisition and distribution of extreme and adventure sports TV programmes to broadcasters all over the world, four years later this business was to grow into the Extreme Group of companies. On a shoestring budget with his office in a small converted barn more akin to a mountain hut or surf-shack than the headquarters of a growing media business, the company rapidly grew to become the worldwide market leader in Extreme Sports TV. In April 1998 Al came up with the idea to create and launch the world’s first TV channel dedicated to extreme sports. Unsurprisingly entitled The Extreme Sports Channel, its main influences were a mixture of MTV and traditional sports channel. The Channel started broadcasting from Amsterdam on 1st May 1999 to 400,000 viewers throughout Holland. Featuring events, movies and magazine shows about the sports such as surfing, skateboarding, snowboarding, BMX, skiing, Moto-X and the music, fashion and lifestyle that surrounds them. The channel’s coverage grew rapidly and it is now broadcasting to 55 countries in twelve languages.Today Al and the team are focused on taking Extreme into new areas driving all of the group companies forward and launching the channel into new countries and regions. The Extreme Group employs 247 people and is made up of Extreme Sports Channel, Extreme Retail which includes Extremepie.com Europe’s leading online extreme sports retailer, Ex Stores a chain of 22 surf skate and snow shops, Ex Gear the clothing range, Extreme Drinks, delivering a range of natural functional soft drinks to consumers world wide, the events business Ex Events and is on target to launch ExtremeMob Europe’s only youth focused (MVNO) Mobile operator during 2005 and Extreme Travel coming soon. Al is still completely passionate about the sports that give him his drive and passion for the business and when not in the office you will find him either windsurfing, kite surfing, flying, ice climbing or skiing somewhere in the world."

36 Quotes of Success by Ryan Allis.

Quotes are favorites of mine. They are short,sweet and to the point.
I have my favorites set of quotes I will share with you, but for now,
here are a few by young entepreneur Ryan Allis. Again, you must visit his websites(www.zeromillion.com and www.ryanallis.com). There are great resources for anyone interested in Entrepreneurship.


Truly inspiring.

Enjoy.

Best,

Andy G. Rodie


SUCCESS & EXCELLENCE


1. Who you know is equally important as what you know.
2. Success comes from both intelligence and persistent diligence.
3. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit.
4. Small people remain small because they think small, act small, or don’t act at all.
5. Preparation is essential. Understand the game before you play.
6. Do not rest on your accomplishments, build on them and use the power of compounding.
7. Consistent quality outperforms intermittent excellence.
8. I know I will be _________. Therefore I will be ___________. Fill in the blank.
9. The magic combination for business success is: planning + intelligence + hard work + networking + building systems + follow through.
10. The world is filled with opportunities just waiting to be found by an energetic and intelligent person.
11. A positive action left undone loses the magic benefit of time: compounding.
12. Not a single person whose name is worth remembering lived a life of ease.
13. Sow a thought, reap an action; sow an action, reap a habit; sow a habit, reap a character; sow a character, reap a destiny. – Steven R. Covey
14. The rich build assets that they use to purchase other assets. The poor only have expenses. – Robert Kiyosaki
15. Failure defeats losers, failure inspires winners. – Robert T. Kiyosaki
16. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe it can achieve. - Napoleon Hill
17. One can get anything if he is willing to help enough others get what they want. – Zig Ziglar
18. Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. – Albert Einstein




KNOWLEDGE & LEARNING

19. The secret to knowledge is asking the right questions and being prepared for the people you encounter.
20. Who you know is equally important as what you know.
21. Learn from the best and never stop learning. Learn actively and know how to learn independently. The brain is one’s biggest investment.
22. The greatest risk of all is not taking risk while one is young and learning from his or her mistakes.
23. Since the way we learn is by making mistakes, the greatest risk of all it to wait too long to begin making those mistakes.
24. If one does not or cannot apply what they’ve learned, they have learned nothing.
25. The abilities to adapt to change and learn quickly are perhaps two of the most important skills a modern human can have.
26. It’s not only what you know; it’s how fast you learn what you don’t know. Creative destruction works in business, markets, and with knowledge.
27. Just as money compounds, so does knowledge and so do habits.
28. Thinking is the hardest work there is. That is why so few people engage in it. - Henry Ford
29. Imagination is more important that knowledge. – Albert Einstein




LIFE & KEEPING IT REAL

30. Do not squander time for that is the stuff life is made of.
31. When all resources; food, wildlife, trees, fuel, are destroyed, man will not be able to eat money.
32. Life is but a game, however, in this game the rules are not revealed until well into the game; and then, to only those courageous enough to seek them.
33. With life, what you get out is directly proportional to how much energy and intelligence you put in.
34. Seek to understand then be understood. – Stephen R. Covey
35. Money has little value if you are not happy. Be sure to have fun.
36. To have friends, invest time in being a friend.



--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Ryan P. Allis, 20, is the author of Zero to One Million, a guide to building a company to $1 million in sales, and the founder of zeromillion.com. Ryan is also the CEO of Broadwick Corp., a provider of the permission-based email marketing software and CEO of Virante, Inc., a web marketing and search engine optimization firm. Ryan is an economics major at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where he is a Blanchard Scholar.

1/05/2006

Entrepreneur - Ryan Allis.


Ryan Allis, Ryan Allis.



I don't remember exactly how and when I came across Ryan Allis, but I was hooked to his site ever since. Over the course of the year I will be sharing some his advice and expertise on my blog so others and myself can benefit from. This is a guy to we can all learn a lot from.
I will share one of his recent presentations he did in April titled "Creating a life of Purpose, Passion and Prosperity". A wonderful gift to start the new year. Also, check his website for
www.zeromillion.com Great resource for entrepreneurs.

Check it out.

http://www.ryanallis.com/ppt/ceopresentation-allis.ppt


Thanks Ryan for your inspiration.


Best,

Andy G. Rodie

1/04/2006

Happy New Year and Welcome to 2006.

I want to start off wishing every one a happy new year and the best of luck on their upcoming endeavors. I venture to say that everyone have big dreams and goals and will go after them with gusto.

My two big goals this year are Launching my Real Estate Investment firm - AGR PROPERTIES
and my apparel line - name to be disclosed. Very excited about these two projects. I do look to other entepreneurs for inspiration and I will be profiling everyone in this blog. I hope to inspire others to do the same.

I will be sharing some other goals and aspirations and resources to help not only myself but others who read this blog. I will be happy to answer any questions and share resources that I may not mention here. Best of luck to everyone.

Let's support each other and again make it one of the best year ever.


Best,

Andy G. Rodie