1) There are more great business ideas out there than great businesses. The difference is in the people, the execution and the timing.
2) At a big company, you can say you spend your company’s money like it’s your own. You don’t spend it like it’s your own until it’s your own.
3) Enterprise sales always take longer than you think. Finding the decision maker(s) can be tough because many don’t have “decision maker” taped on their shirts. And sometimes the head guy is not the real decision maker, no matter how many times he says he is.
A corollary to #3: Enterprises can kill your company. At Merrill Lynch, one of our senior managers loved a start-up so much that he killed it. He kept promising its CEO a large business opportunity, but the deal got caught in the bank’s approval processes – which took much longer and were more complex than he expected – and the business ran out of money and shut its doors.
4) You’ll finally miss your big company when your website goes down and “the guy” responsible can’t fix it. And there aren’t 400 other “guys” lined up behind him. Asking “the guy” again and again and again when the site will be back up doesn’t get it back up any more quickly.
5) It all takes longer and costs more than you forecast… until it doesn’t.
6) Keeping your own calendar sucks up hours a day. Making travel reservations takes up even more. I mess this up far more often than I would have thought.
7) There is an extremely fine line between “entrepreneur” and “small business owner.” Extremely fine.
8) At the big companies at which I’ve worked, all faces turned to the CEO, and seniority mattered. But I’ve learned much more from the quite-a-bit-younger-than-me entrepreneurs I’ve met over the past couple of years than from the CEO who spent an entire business review “talking at” his directs about how to run their businesses.
9) Every small PR firm tells you they are a social media expert. And a LinkedIn expert. (Every big firm too.) The vast majority aren’t.
10) After a business lifetime of thinking of competition as “bad,” as an entrepreneur, it can be a great, great thing because it can validate and expand the market.
11) You can make a lot of moderately-sized mistakes running a big business, and even a few big ones. You can only make a finite number of mistakes as an entrepreneur. Many of them involve hiring the wrong people.
12) There is a lot of talk about how important one’s network can be inside a large company. This can be even more true in a new venture, where it can be one’s lifeblood; it has been shown to be a key determinant of success for entrepreneurs.
13) No monthly business reviews, operational risk committee meetings, staff meetings, OCC meetings, Fed meetings, management committee meetings, executive committee meetings, quarterly strategy offsites can be enormously freeing – but that can mean fewer guard rails… and very few others to blame when things go wrong.
14) It’s sort of nice not to wear a suit every day.
Sallie Krawcheck is the Business Leader of the professional woman’s network, 85 Broads. The network is 30,000+ women strong, with members from across industries and around the world.
(Photo: Flickr, mkrigsman)
via What I’ve Learned as an Entrepreneur (and Didn’t Know as a Corporate Exec) | LinkedIn.