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Invest With Caution
I found your article on VC firms and their issues ("Back in Black," May) interesting. Many investments that tanked, or are on paths to demise, are where they are because of a lack of upfront market viability validation. The VCs have their lawyers and accountants swarm prospective portfolio companies to validate the numbers, intellectual property and related issues. However, they fail to bring in strategic marketing leadership to validate market opportunity assumptions stated in [the companies'] business plans.
If market viability validation had been conducted along with the legal and financial reviews, the VCs would not have invested and would have saved their investors millions of dollars.
The ConsulttUs Group Inc.
As someone who has realized a life mission to guide women and girls to earn trust in themselves, I applaud Aliza Pilar Sherman ("Women," May) for sharing with readers, through Ronna Lichtenberg, that we are still holding [ourselves] back with comments such as, "You may have already thought about this, but . . . ." Not only are women still saying this--this is expected behavior for all women.
Speaking this way communicates on a subconscious level that the speaker lacks conviction. And without conviction, the prospect will not become a client.
I would like to let you know that you have an incredible magazine. I am a small-business owner who has found your magazine invaluable. I truly enjoy reading your articles covering every topic pertaining to a business owner. Thank you, and please keep up the great work.
David H. Mcclymont
Executive Vice President
International Capital Alliance Inc.
I appreciated your focus on the importance of providing the highest quality customer service in your "Editor's Note" ("State of Service," May). As entrepreneurs, we cannot compete with large corporations when it comes to marketing budgets, multi-national sales forces or complex call centers. If we are to succeed, we must provide an extra degree of care and nurturing for customers. Big companies often fail to meet the individual customer's needs because they seek sales through quantity rather than quality.
I recently started a new business to help consumers improve their health and fitness. I have instructed my customer-care specialists to do all they can to provide potential and current customers with the information that they need to make informed decisions about exercise equipment. As the author of "How Does Your Garden Grow?" ("Flash," May) wrote, "To help your customers grow, become a catalyzing agent . . . actively demonstrate concern for their interests."
James P. Sargen
San Luis Obispo, California
It's the Journey
About two years ago, I made a life-changing decision to become an entrepreneur. I was in college and on track to finish my degree in meteorology when I decided that the field I was pursuing left me with a limited number of options. I spent a lot of time researching different career opportunities, but none of them [held] my interest for more than a couple of days. When spring break [came] and it was time to visit home, I was still lost and feeling depressed. At my lowest point, just when I was about to concede to second best, I found a copy of Entrepreneur magazine in the Oklahoma City airport. It was the July 2003 edition and [the cover] screamed out, "THE NEXT BIG THING." This really sparked my interest. On the plane ride home to Chicago, I read every article in the magazine. I anticipated new issues and took notes religiously, knowing that owning my own business was exactly what I wanted to do.
I graduated from the University of Oklahoma back in May 2004, and now I have my own home-technology integration company called Xorco LLC. I am grateful to say that Entrepreneur magazine has been there every step of the way!
Brian M. Zingo