Published 03/27/14

Top 10 tips from great entrepreneurs

What does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur? Here are some lessons learned, offered by successful entrepreneurs among the Bryant family.

  • You have to say, 'OK, I'm going to walk out of this comfort zone and into a totally unknown black hole.' — Joanna T. Lau '97 H, Bryant Trustee and founder, CEO and chairman of Lau Technologies     
  • Believe in yourself. Ask for advice; most people are very happy to help. You can learn  a lot from their successes and failures. You just have to ask. — Patricia (Farrand) Kordalski '83, Bryant Trustee and founder and president of Long Elegant Legs     
  • Be rooted in the basics of business. Investors like shiny things.  But you need to be able to read a profit and loss statement and be a problem solver. Daryl Crockett '82, CEO of Valdis
  • Spend some time looking at your business through the eyes of your employees, your investors and your customers. Realize that you all see things differently and that all visions are all valid. Mark Feinstein, entrepreneur, investor, and Bryant Entrepreneurship Program faculty member
  • Employees drive the profitability of a business. If you do the right thing for them, you will get and retain great people, then clients will be excited and shareholders will be happy. It's a virtuous cycle: investing in one leads to improvements in the other, all starting with employees.  Brian Cotter '95, co-founder of PSG Global Solutions
  • People shouldn't get hung up on their initial idea. Get out there in the market and learn from people. Pivot when necessary.  David Donahue '84, consultant, and co-founder of BenefitsXML and Bentana Technologies
  • Successful businesses begin by targeting a small, focused market segment. Trying to appeal to masses is a recipe for failure. Jay Weinberg '85, president of The JAY Group
  • Make your business plan hard hitting. Ask for what you want in the first two pages. Be succinct and word efficient. Don't let the reader get bored. Joseph Santarlasci, entrepreneur, Investor, and Bryant  Entrepreneurship Program faculty member
  • Some other company will make commodities cheaper, faster, better;  you can't win against imports. It's very difficult to do a start-up in a commodities business. That's one of the things I think about all the time to keep my strategy on track. David Glickman '91, president and owner of The Vermont Butcher Block & Board Company
  • Most success comes from being humble enough to hear bad news and making small adjustments. it's important to have the ability to adapt and put ego aside. Scott DePasquale '94, chairman and CEO of Utilidata, Inc., and partner of Braemar Energy Ventures

    Originally published in the Winter 2014 edition of Bryant Magazine