I’m a serial entrepreneur. My story, like many entrepreneurs, is mixed with successes and failures. I built and sold TWG (a marketing consulting and staffing firm) to a publicly traded consulting company called TMNG. I sold my shares in McKinley Marketing Partners to my partners. Along with these successes, there have been failures. I created two companies that folded during the “Great Recession.” I made a go of both, but ultimately had to close the doors. Costs grew and demand withdrew.
A couple of years ago, I was helping with an entrepreneurship class for wounded veterans, when I was asked to “get more entrepreneurs into the classroom.” After some consideration, I decided to interview 100 entrepreneurs. They represent a wide variety of industries. They are founders of companies with just one employee (themselves) and of companies with hundreds to over 1000 employees. They are people who grew companies and sold them privately or publicly, they are people who plan to close the door the day they retire, and they are people who had to close the doors on one business only to start again. These interviews become case studies and a course curriculum for the wounded veterans. The entrepreneurs can also participate further as class speakers, mentors, or employers for the veterans and their families.
Over 100 entrepreneurs have been interviewed so far, and the interviews continue. Based upon well over 200 hours of interviews, I’ve distilled their lessons, creating fictionalized short stories and articles showcasing what they and I have learned. Some lessons concern strategy, such as partnerships and funding, while other concern tactics, such as managing company assets and renting office space. While some stories can help with business planning, others can help implement a plan successfully.
The idea is to provide engaging, informative, and inspirational stories to entrepreneurs and future entrepreneurs in formats that make it possible for them to digest the information anywhere, anytime. I’m creating 10 Apps, with 10 lessons learned on each, called 100 ELL, or 100 Entrepreneurial Lessons Learned. Initially, the Apps will be available on iPhones and iPads. Stories will be offered in writing and in audio format. Busy entrepreneurs can listen to them while in an airport, train station, a dentist’s waiting room, or on the treadmill. The price will be less than the cost of a magazine. A percentage of all revenue will go to entrepreneurship education for wounded veterans.
The first App will be launched in March. During the process of launching another business, this time an App business, I will blog about starting up again. I’ll also post information I gather from talking to entrepreneurs along the way. Finally, as I learn, I’ll share. Everything is changing, from the economy to the available technology. There is much to learn!
Here’s to growing more businesses, creating more jobs, and improving economies all over the world!