Many corporations around the world still face a real challenge: Managing currency volatility. Nearly two decades ago, FiREapps recognized this need and we pioneered the technology needed to help multinationals solve this problem.
Recognizing a need – and delivering on it – perfectly illustrates my standard response when would-be entrepreneurs ask me “how do I start a business?” I tell them that they are asking the wrong question. What they should be asking is “How can I solve a problem and get paid for doing it.”
This may sound like a seemingly simple approach, but I am surprised to discover how few adopt this formula when launching a business.
This is why I was so excited when executives from my alma mater, The Thunderbird School of Global Management, asked me if I would consider presenting at the school’s ongoing Global Speaker Series. I immediately knew the topic of building a business was something I wanted to explore with both students and business owners.
After all, Thunderbird introduced the Global Speaker to give prospective and current students, alumni and others in the community valuable, real-world insights directly from seasoned business executives and thought leaders. This prestigious event has attracted many notable presenters in the past, such as the Dalai Lama and Condoleezza Rice. Needless to say, I was flattered by the invitation.
I believed the most useful insights I could offer would be those that have come from my own 30-plus years of experience as an executive and a business owner, drawing on the many (sometimes hard) lessons I have learned along the way.
The result is The Five Stages of Entrepreneurial Success, which I will be presenting at Thunderbird next week. In it, I plan to offer an overview of five overarching steps involved in taking a business from an idea all the way through liquidity. At a high level, I will explore:
- Getting started
- Developing and releasing products
- Identifying distribution channels
- The challenges that unfold as the business matures
- And, finally, how to prepare for liquidity.
The Need for Business Leaders to Reinvent
I will also explore many smaller, but equally important, sub-topics – factors that must be considered, but often get overlooked. For instance, I discuss the importance of selecting the right partners, identifying the ideal investors, determining pricing and why it is vital to establish company values early on.
Our company is focused on advanced currency analytics and technology, but the topics and ideas I will discuss lend themselves to every company – despite the industry or business sector it serves.
More importantly, I have designed the presentation so that it offers value to not only grad students, but business leaders and executives as well. I am a firm believer that successful people reinvent themselves frequently – certainly every seven years. They must to remain successful. After all, business environments change, needs change, markets change.
With that in mind, this five-stage plan is applicable to someone starting out or someone reinventing themselves. When I compiled the presentation, I asked myself: What do I wish I knew when I started out. My intent is to provide insights that I could have used thirty years ago.
I am honored that The Thunderbird School of Global Management asked me to speak. I hope to see you there next week. I know seating is limited, however, you can also register and livestream the event. I look forward to your feedback!