Archive | May, 2011

Entrepreneurs push beyond the limits of mere mortals

24 May

Sir Richard Branson has announced that he will be swimming across the Irish Sea in order to fund cancer research. This from a man who runs a multi-billion dollar, multi-national company -Virgin. Branson has crossed oceans in hot air balloons, sail boats, and whatever other craft you could dream up.  He’s building a private space program called Virgin Galactic  and plans to go to the depths of the ocean in a specially designed submarine via Virgin Oceanic.

Mere mortals might ask: How does this Branson guy run a multibillion dollar empire, jet from private isles across the world, break world speed and aviation records, and have time to develop new projects simultaneously?

Another question is simply why?

It’s simple:

  • Drive
  • Desire to push the limits of humanity
  • Zero fear of failure
I believe these attributes are qualities that are the driving force behind all successful entrepreneurs and organizations.  Most people are content with the status quo and as a result, never truly reach for their own version of the stars (in Branson’s case, both literally and figuratively). On the other hand entrepreneurs not only reach for the stars, but they ask themselves: What’s beyond these stars and how the heck are we going to get there?
I’ll leave you with a quote from Sir Richard himself from his book, Business Stripped Bare:
“Enterpreneurship is business’s beating heart. Entrepeurneurship isn’t about capital; it’s about ideas.”
Take an idea. Run with it. Rinse. Repeat
Always going for glory,

Sales: The lifeblood of business

18 May

When I used to to think of sales, I could not help but recall the movie Glengarry Glen Ross, in particular the openining scene in which Alec Baldwin delivers his famous “coffee is for closers!” spiel . Who amongst us has not had that awful experience with the used car salesman-type, pushing his product or service down our throats? It can leave a bad taste in your mouth about sales, and rightfully so.

And who could forget the famous ABC’s from Glengarry Glen Ross?:

  • Always
  • Be
  • Closing
But is sales as simple as a numbers game, in which 300 cold calls might yield a handful of leads, leading to a handful of prospects, which might generate, maybe, a few sales? Not according to Mike Peloquin.
I had the privilege of hearing a talk by sales expert, Mike Peloquin, who has grown 6 start ups from nothing, to millions in revenue.  He had a very interesting perspective on the sales process which he unabashedly views as a brutal, cutthroat process that requires a highly competitive team.  That being said, Peloquin believes that you can create real, tangible sales and revenue through a systematic, detailed process, and his record speaks for itself as head of sales of numerous companies.
Some key points that are applicable to all sales approaches, businesses, and products:
  • You do not conduct business with companies, but rather with human beings, making key leads at organizations essential to the sales process (Point: Find people, not companies to conduct business with and focus on nurturing relationships with them)
  • Sales is not the process of throwing paint at the wall and seeing what sticks, but instead, a systematic process that requires careful managing of contacts (through CRM systems), follow-up, and a well-disciplined team
  • People are NOT customers, until they pay you (it’s critical to distinguish between leads, prospects, and actual sales)
  • Leads are critical to sales and they should be managed, massaged, and organized by a dedicated sales team (Peloquin even believes that sales teams should be incentivized by the leads they generate, not just sales)
Sales is cutthroat as a profession and most people might not have the stomach for it.  It can be gut-wrenching and difficult to break through and crush it as a salesman. As an entrepreneur, I know I have emotional attachment to my products and therefore can have a difficult time handling the rejection.
That being said, with the right team, process, and approach to sales it’s not always about the ABCs, but instead focusing on people, not companies, through a systematic process, to generate sales and revenue as an organization. 
Always going for glory,

Good ‘n Natural: Thunderbird energetica

4 May

Preface: May 4th, 2011 marks the day in which the Healthbent Entrepreneur blog begins a new chapter.  I will begin reviewing natural products with the heading Good ‘n Natural.  An emphasis will be placed on reviewing local, organic, and  minimally processed foods and products (sorry, no high fructose corn syrup or trans-fat here!).

The rating system will be designated by kale leaves (out of 5) and based on quality, taste, and nutritional value.

Without further adieu I give you the first installment of Good ‘n Natural:

Thunderbird energetica: Cashew Fig Carrot

First impression: Take a look at the picture. What do you see? Chunks of REAL cashew, figs, and carrots! Pretty exciting that even as an energy-dense food bar, you can see exactly what you’re putting in your body (some call this eating).   I take my first bite and am instantly transported to a happy place.  No syrupy taste (which often comes from added sugars likes maltodextrin, “eeewgave,” and the like), or strange flavors to overcome. The taste is clean, wholesome, delicious and the vanilla is the ingredient that really shines for me, as it pairs extraordinarily well with the dates and figs. The packaging and logo are striking and”pop” from the shelf. From a branding standpoint, I think they really nailed the packaging on the first go-round (no easy feat in the natural product or consumer product realm).

On the website of Thunderbird energetica they speak volumes about how they strive to maintain a few key elements in their products:

  • Raw
  • Compostable packaging
  • Promoting love
  • Harnessing the power of spirit animals
  • Sourcing local, sustainable ingredients
  • Products are hand made in small batches
Well, I’m a huge fan of  businesses that adhere to quality and core principles that guide their business endeavors and I would highly recommend their products because not only do they taste great, but they are also nutrient dense (traces of iron, magnesium, manganese, fiber, and other vital nutrients). One thing I will admit:  The whole spirit animal thing does confuse me a bit, but maybe I just have not connected with my own just yet.
All-in-all, well done Thunderbird team on a great product: 4 kale leafs out of 5!
Full ingredient list:

Organic Cashews, Organic Dates, Organic Figs, Organic Carrots, Organic Almonds, Organic Nutmeg, Organic Vanilla, Pink Bolivian Rose Salt

Have a natural product you think is worthy of a review?  Contact me via twitter! A case of the selected product will be shipped to the winner. 

Always going for glory!

HE

@CESteinfeld