Frank Brenner and Arthur Samet were last week's guest lecturers in SOAR. Frank spoke about going into a business that others might shun. He told the students about taking what people might otherwise throw away after recycling and reselling - keeping items out of the landfill (environmentally sound) and generating revenue.
After recounting a bit of the history of his business, Frank shared his personal thoughts about entrepreneurship.
1. Take a risk; without risks there are no rewards. Assess your risk aversion.
2. Maximize your return on investments; stay in control of your own destiny.
3. Surround yourself with good people.
4. Don't be concerned about glamour. Be open to doing something no one else wants to do.
5. Be prepared to reinvest your profits. Think long-term!
6. Hope luck is on your side. Learn from others.
7. Develop relationships with your customers. Trust them.
Arthur Samet spoke about the history of Jewish-owned companies in the southeast - how immigrants came without a lot of capital and started their own businesses. Arthur's family started in construction. He told the students that business owners "need to prove themselves every day" and "must always improve; hit a triple every day." He emphasized that success is not about dollars; that a successful entrepreneur is passionate and excited about his business and takes pride in seeing others succeed. His advice to students:
1. Listen more than you speak. Get yourself a good advisor or mentor.
2. Be willing to adapt to make it work. Reinvent yourself if necessary.
3. If you take care of your customers and employees, the rest will fall into place.
4. Get as much experience as you can through education and on-the-job training through volunteering.
5. Always be ready to figure out the next thing; what's current won't be current for long.
6. Identify your risks and manage them well. Get smart people on your team and communicate.
7. Minimize your risk to reduce the impact if a project does not work.
8. Prepare for a crisis during good times.