Posts Tagged ‘Entrepreneur’

Tuesday 27.8.2013
Entrepreneurship, Innovation, and Dialogic Communication

Host: Hannu Ikonen

workshop Outcomes

To acquire the knowledge, skills and tools to

  • Develop an entrepreneurial and innovative mindset for communicating across differences in global, international, and intercultural environments; and
  • Enhance self-awareness and develop dialogic communication skills as a member of the global business ecosystem.


8:30–8:50             Welcome and Introduction Activity

8:50–10:00          Global Entrepreneurship; Communication and Innovation Skills for Career Success

  • The Communication Perspective
  • Dialogic communication: Key concepts
  • Dialogue self-assessment

10:00–10:15        BREAK

10:15–11:30        How to Become an Entrepreneur in Your Organization: Extending the Communication and Innovation Mindset

  • Dialogic communication skills and tools
  • Small group activity: Applying dialogue and entrepreneurial skills to your professional life


Just what kind of business are you in that you want to model your professional actions after the greatest cinematic mob story of all time? Well, no matter. The Godfather is chock full of great advice, and there’s lots to learn from the themes of this classic film. Check out the nine best business lessons that we’ve learned from The Godfather, or you might be (metaphorically) sleeping with the fishes sooner than you thought.

  1. Make Them An Offer They Can’t Refuse

    Obviously. One of the best ways to get what you want in business is to tailor your product to your customer’s needs. And this works for managers, too. If you want to incentivize your employees, there’s often a way that you can make your request primarily beneficial to them and the company both. Barring using horse-headed death threats as a strategy, make sure that when you want a certain result, you make the incentive good enough to warrant it.

  2. Trust No One

    Whether you’re a bona fide wise guy or not, it’s wise to watch who you trust. That’s not to say that you should be suspicious of everyone all the time, it’s that the only person whose decisions and actions that you can safely rely on are your own. Even being in business with people for years doesn’t mean that you can trust them, but you can trust them to be themselves. And whether you’re running the underground or just the office, that’s another key lesson to learn.

  3. Keep Your Friends Close and Your Enemies Closer

    Well, maybe not your enemies. More like your competitors. It’s important to have a good idea the landscape of your market competition, both larger and smaller than you. And when there’s an industry-wide issue that could improve your field, do yourself a favor and be the one to lead the charge to unity. You’ll stand out among your competitors while also improving things for all involved when you’re the one to get a group to band together faster than you can say “five families.”

  4. Patience is a Virtue

    Don’t expect for things to blow up for you overnight — it takes time to build a mafia empire strong business. And this advice goes for both rookies and veterans: quality comes from patience, planning, and having a great product.

  5. Always Have A Plan

    When you’re running an international crime syndicate, you’ve simply got to have a plan. It’s not profitable to do things willy-nilly, with no discussion or lack of a business model. It’s probably best to avoid a business plan that involves gunning people down in the street, but appropriate foresight, planning, and action can lead to, ahem, legitimate business success.

  6. Learn from Your Failures

    Failure happens. Even to mafiosos. Let this fact lead you, and give yourself permission to fail. But also let yourself learn from your missteps, as it’s possible to turn any short-term failure into long-time success. If you lose some guys in a gun battle, or lose money from a dirty double cross, you know how crucial it can be to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, regroup, and move forward. Also, what kind of job did you say you had, again?

  7. Loyalty Matters

    One of the most important lessons to take from the Don is that loyalty is key. In this day and age, economic security is a spectre — but it’s paramount to remember never to bite the hand that feeds you. Whether you have a boss or have to deal with distributors, it’s always best to be loyal to your higher-ups and those who depend on you. It’s as simple as this: the better everyone does, the better everyone does.

  8. Respect Must Be Earned

    While loyalty is important, respect must be earned. Make sure that you’re commanding respect, and not just because of your great work product. If you act with dignity and put integrity first on your value list, you’ll see how easy it can be to build up mutual respect with co-workers, superiors, and those in other areas with whom you have to work. Additionally, take caution to respect respect: it’s easy to build up, takes time to cement, and can be gone forever in a flash.

  9. Business Is Personal

    Tom, don’t let anyone kid you. It’s all personal, every bit of business. Every piece of sh-t every man has to eat every day of his life is personal. They call it business. OK. But it’s personal as hell.And there you have it. Michael Corleone said it best, and it’s the honest truth: business is made up of people. People who care, people who create, people who perform, and everything in between. The great thing about a business is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts, but its parts are people — and those are pretty great, too.

This was written by a very inspiring friend of mine.  We went to school together ages ago and I can’t help but be amazed and inspired by her.  Thank you Monise Seward for Existing 🙂


Just finished reading ‘Birthing The Elephant‘ and wanted to share the valuable information in Chapter 9: Avoid The Ten Biggest Pitfalls, a quick list of what not to do when striking out on your own as an entrepreneur. I usually share book tidbits on Twitter but decided to do a quick blog instead! So, here goes…..

Which path will you choose?

PITFALL #1: Romanticizing Being Your Own Boss

Sure, its great that you won’t have to ‘officially’ punch a clock or answer to someone you think/know is less qualified, educated, or what-have-you, but you really aren’t going to be your own boss-as least not in the manner you’re thinking. You still have to ‘answer’ to customers, clients, and employees (when you decide to hire some). Romanticizing being your own boss can set you up for disappointment and failure.

PITFALL #2: Not Getting the Right Help Early

Building your ‘dream team’ is one of those recommended steps in launching a business. For me, I have plenty of contacts for people with legal, business, and marketing expertise; however, I do not expect any of them to quit their day jobs to assist with putting my dream in motion. I have, however, given thought to the individuals I’d like to join me as the business grows because I can only make so many cakes in a day! I have learned the valuable lesson of asking help and seeking out advice from those who have already traveled this road.

PITFALL #3: Not Understanding How To Network

For a long time, I thought ‘networking’ was a dirty word; I cringed every time I heard it. Why? I guess you could say that the networking I saw wasn’t really networking; it bordered on arse-kissing. Anyone who knows me, knows that I do not come from a family of arse-kissers, nor did I minor in that ‘art’ during undergrad. I believe that my hard-work, dedication, and knowledge should speak for themselves. But again, I was defiant about networking because of what I had seen in previous ‘professional’ environments. #InterpretAsYouWish

The true intent of networking is to build relationships, more specifically: Mutually beneficial relationships. Networking should not be about trying to sell or promote your product or service. Duly noted.

PITFALL #4: Running Yourself Ragged

Yes, when preparing to launch your own business there are a ton of things you will have to do on your own-for free, but do not equate your myriad of responsibilities with sacrificing all of yourself and time. Although I have not opened for business, I have already decided on the hours I will work because I still want need to have a balanced and fulfilling personal life. Besides, my kids wouldn’t appreciate being left to their own devices 7 days a week.

PITFALL #5: Spending Money For The Wrong Reasons

If you don’t have it to spend, don’t spend it. If your customers care about from where you purchased your office furniture or supplies, then they are coming to you for the wrong reason. Why would I spend $1,000 on a web site when I can get an equally functional and attractive one (if not the exact same one) for $500? People are not buying my web site; they are buying my cakes.

PITFALL #6: Not Valuing Your Time Highly

Entrepreneurs are cautioned that they will probably work 60-80 hours a week, without pay for the first year of business. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh…not me! I did not leave one plantation workplace only to go to another one with more hours and fewer (intrinsic and extrinsic) rewards. Furthermore, I consider all the time I have spent researching and planning as an investment. I WILL ensure that I reap the (intrinsic and extrinsic) rewards of my labor sooner than the 1-year mark. And I certainly have learned the value of ‘highly valuing my time.’ I decided that I will not spend 10-12 hours in front of a computer reading or researching business-related information. Instead, I will spend my time reading books on entrepreneurship, reviewing business documents, blogging, refining recipes, watching tv, and sleeping. I am trying to remain balanced (whatever that means); I will not allow this business to consume all of my time. I still have a family and obligations to them. I still have friends whom I would like to see. Basically, I refuse to trade my personal life for a business. And you should too!

PITFALL #7: Not Pricing Properly

This is an area where a lot of women entrepreneurs, self included, struggle. Even though we have a higher success rate at running businesses due to our service-oriented natures, we still undervalue our time, talent, and expertise. Personally, I think this has a lot to do with the fact that when we work for others, they pretty much determine the ‘value’ of our services by setting our salaries. One could argue that we all have the power to negotiate our salaries, but in reality we all know that women still make less than men, even when they have more formal education, training, and experience. Knowing and demanding your worth can be challenging aspects for newly-minted entrepreneurs. Luckily for me, I am taking some of Guy Kawasaki’s advice (in The Art of The Start) to heart: I will ‘test’ my products with some volunteer ‘Cake Crusaders’ and then get feedback on what they think is a fair, yet competitive, price for the product.

PITFALL #8: Spending Too Much On Advertising

If your start-ups’s opening balance is $2,000, then it does not make sense to spend half of that on advertising. This one is pretty easy: Do your research on your target market and how to best reach them. Don’t waste valuable capital on glossy magazine ads unless you are 100% certain you have or will have the business to support such an expense. I have already started compiling a list of online blogs and e-zines with whom I would like to advertise. The weeding-out process is fairly easy: Those whose price-tags I cannot afford (in the beginning phase), will be placed on the ‘Contact Later’ list. So easy, even a caveman could do it! Remember, “Waste not, want not.”

PITFALL #9: Not Trusting Your Gut

The Internet, Social Media, and blog sites are full of resources. Some may be helpful, others not so much. As an entrepreneur, you need to determine what information ‘speaks’ to you during this journey because not every opinion or suggestion will work for your business. The authors of Birthing The Elephant said it best:

“Remember, no expert you hire is ever going to have the emotional or financial stake in your business that you and your family have….So don’t disempower yourself…in the end, you are the single best judge of what your business has to offer and how it should run.” (Abarbanel & Freeman, 2008)

Translation: Trust yourself. If something doesn’t sound right (for you and your business) or makes you feel uncomfortable, then it probably IS NOT the right fit. This applies to things you may read in a book or hear from ‘experts.’ Don’t be strong-armed into making changes that do not align with your business’ mission.

PITFALL #10: Not Thinking Enough About The Big Picture

I have set clear short and long-term goals for the business, as well as for myself. As I stated earlier, I plan to maintain some sort of balance between the business and my personal life. Having a plan and set hours will definitely help with me achieve that goal. As the business grows, I will be able to hire someone to help where and when needed.

Well, if you made it to the end- Thank you! I tried to keep this one brief but sometimes it’s just not possible!


Steve Blank

Steve Blank

A great tip from Anni Rautio that was posted originally to the IB Alumni Facebook Page

Steve Blank, Serial entrepreneur, the revolutionizer of entrepreneurship education and ecosystems is visiting Finland for one week in September 2011.

Read more from their website

5-9 SEPTEMBER 2011
Helsinki, Finland
Who is Steve Blank

Steve Blank is a serial entrepreneur, founding and/or part of eight startup companies in Silicon Valley. His last company E.piphany was listed to stock exchange in 1999 for approximately 2 billion dollars.

After the IPO, Steve created the customer development model to better understand the patterns of building successful startups. His book, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, became a bestselling technology entrepreneurship bible and revolutionized the ways startups are built.

Currently Steve is a professor of Technology Venturing at Stanford University. His new course, Lean LaunchPad, teaches aspiring entrepreneurs his method of creating startups. Steve’s ambition is to renew entrepreneurial ecosystems and education all around the world.

More information on Steve
» Download a PDF profile on Steve (1Mb)
» Steve Blank’s Blog
» Steve’s Twitter
» Stanford Technology Ventures Program

More information on Aalto University & Silicon Valley
» Aalto Center for Entrepreneurship
» Aalto Entrepreneurship Society
» Startup Sauna -program
» Startup Life -internship program