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Entrepreneurs Speak – Optimism For Growth is Strong in 2010

It was my first seminar presentation talk of 2010. I was curious. What would be the mood and perspective of 60 CEOs in the room following the economic brutality of 2009?  My seminar “Breakthrough: Taking Your Business to the Major Leagues” is a hands on goal setting and business building seminar focused on increasing company performance to major league levels.

As we began our first exercise of reviewing the CEOs’ top goals, I prepared myself for brutality assuming there would be lots of downsizing, layoffs, closures and general doom and gloom. I was totally wrong.

Here were some of their goals:

1)      Increasing sales 200%

2)      Starting a new tech business spun out from a major company

3)      Building a new division with new staff

4)      Ramping revenues and profits 300% from an acquisition

5)      Trying to find enough talented staff to grow fast enough

6)      Taking a staid professional services firm into a new business model and taking on the big guys with a 50% revenue growth target.

It was amazing – the optimism, the eagerness to engage and take the beachhead unabashed by the general media doom and gloom. There was no mention of government bailouts, subsidies or stimulus to make their businesses run. They supercharged with the passion of building something great that made sense.

One CEO, realizing his current business was increasingly commoditized and unfulfilling, had created a new product in a new category and went from idea to shipped product in 6 months. He had a transition plan to ditch the old loser model and ramp up the new one. Another CEO had a banner year in a tech business was looking for ways to manage the hyper growth effectively. A third CEO was growing his professional services business while his large national competitors were downsizing.

What was going on here? As the evening progressed, we focused on uncovering strengths of many of the businesses. We reviewed strategies and tactics how to boost their sales by adopting a different perspective to their market and their clients. We dug deep into their hidden content strengths, unlocking additional opportunities leveraging the Internet as their engine of growth. When the presentation was over, about 30% of the room huddled around tables discussing their passion, swapping take aways, tips and helpful input for each other. The entrepreneurs’ engines had been refueled and at 9pm they were hard at work building, creating, planning to breakthrough bigger and badder in 2010.

I relished in the post seminar discussion, as they pondered improved approaches to what they could do to build their success. They were in control. They didn’t get the doom and gloom memo from Washington, DC. They were busy planning to execute and build faster, more efficient and better. I heard the Commerce Secretary Locke at the Inc500 conference in Washington last year announce a new government office of “Entrepreneurship and Innovation.” I haven’t seen anything this Orwellian-named bureaucracy has done for any of the people I met last night. Instead, Washington can do more now – like waiving payroll taxes for every new employee hired in the next 6 months. That would show they get it and support the unique American entrepreneur growth engine.

The power of growth is in the hands of the entrepreneur who lives for achieving what matters to him or her. This is the power that will drive the business cycle upswing. So please support an entrepreneur as they build again and we will all see the benefits.  I hope YOU have a great 2010!

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