Picture1Last week we had the honor of hosting 21 undergraduate students from the Minor in Entrepreneurship (MiE) program at Nanyang Technological University in Singapore. For most of them, this was their first time in the US. They went on to visit the great entrepreneurships in Silicon Valley, but our home was their first stop.

This would be their first impression of America and American entrepreneurship, so we had to set the tone for their visit and lay the foundation to interpret the keys to successful entrepreneurship.

We decided to start with the basics by asking key questions and giving them the three core competencies necessary for success. We examine these critical issues in depth with plenty of examples and stories in our new full length course (The Entrepreneur’s GPS) designed for aspiring, startup, and growth-phase entrepreneurs.

Here’s a brief summary of some of the questions we posed in the live, in person seminar we put on for the Nanyang students:

  1. Why are you starting a business anyway? Are you looking for a lifestyle, a legacy, or are you building a brand that you will one day sell? If it’s the later, that goal will have a great bearing on how you organize, strategize, and grow your business. It will greatly influence your decision-making process.
  1. How will you pay your bills? Cash flow management is absolutely crucial to the survival of any successful business. You simply must make more than it costs to stay in business. Not only that, but you must find ways to reduce your need for cash through resourcefulness, strategic alliances, and fostering critical relationships that build trust.
  1. How do you engage your people? The hiring process is the most important part of this process. We shared what to look for in selecting new hires and how to orient them to understand exactly how their job makes a difference in sales, the overall security of the company, and ultimately the security of their own job. We discussed how to pay them, acknowledge them, and get their insight to solve problems.
  1. How do you get your product to market – and keep it there? In reality, this is the biggest single challenge a new entrepreneur will face. A popular misconception is that price, quality, and value alone will do the trick. It’s just not so! What does each person who touches your product really want? It may not be what you think. And are you ready to do their job if necessary? Who are the real owners of your brand?

All these questions and more must be answered correctly by every successful entrepreneur. When you see a big, successful company, remember, they weren’t always this way.

We tasked the Nanyang students to look for how each of the successful companies they would visit actually answered these questions. We did not give them all the answers, but we did give them most of the important questions. We hope they enjoy and learn from their exposure to successful American Entrepreneurship.

Who We Are.

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey Barefoot Wine Founders

Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey co-authored the New York Times bestselling business book, The Barefoot Spirit: How Hardship, Hustle, and Heart Built America’s #1 Wine Brand. The book has been selected as recommended reading in the CEO Library for CEO Forum, the C-Suite Book Club, and numerous university classes on business and entrepreneurship. It chronicles their humble beginnings from the laundry room of a rented Sonoma County farmhouse to the board room of E&J Gallo, who ultimately acquired their brand and engaged them as brand consultants. Barefoot is now the world’s largest wine brand.

Beginning with virtually no money and no wine industry experience, they employed innovative ideas to overcome obstacles, create new markets and forge strategic alliances. They pioneered Worthy Cause Marketing and performance-based compensation. They built an internationally bestselling brand and received their industry’s “Hot Brand” award for several consecutive years.

They offer their Guiding Principles for Success (GPS) to help entrepreneurs become successful. Their book, The Entrepreneurial Culture: 23 Ways To Engage and Empower Your People, helps corporations maximize the value of their human resources.

Currently they travel the world leading workshops, trainings, & keynoting at business schools, corporations, conferences. They are regular media guests and contributors to international publications and professional journals. They are C-Suite Network Advisors & Contributing Editors. Visit their popular brand building site at www.consumerbrandbuilders.com.

To make inquiries for keynote speaking, trainings or consulting, please contact sales@thebarefootspirit.com.