February 7, 2013
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SmartBrief on Entrepreneurs

Bold Ventures
Wall Street banker goes from analyzing businesses to starting one
Susan Bratton, previously an investment banker on Wall Street, started her company, Meals to Heal, after her friend died from cancer. The business offers a variety of nutritional services to cancer patients and the people who are taking care of them. "I've learned a lot of new skills: operations, finance, marketing, and sales," she said. "As a banker working with companies, I would look at all those aspects of their businesses, but it's a completely different thing to have to do it yourself." She recommends an advisory group as a way to avoid making decisions in a vacuum when working solo. TheDailyMuse.com (2/5)
Leading the Pack
Why good leaders ask "power questions"
Smart leaders are good conversationalists, which means they know that it's better to ask questions than to talk incessantly, says business author Andrew Sobel. Your curiosity will empower the other person, allowing you both to make a good impression and to learn from them. "When you ask thoughtful questions you supercharge your conversations," Sobel explains. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/5)
Finance & Growth
Bootstrapping your way to business success
Building your business without outside investment can allow you to maintain more control over the direction of your company, writes Jay Wu, creative director at Best Drug Rehabilitation. With your own money on the line, you will have more incentive to make smart decisions and high-quality products. "When every last dollar matters, you need to pay attention to your customers and their needs by building a superior offering," he writes. Forbes/Young Entrepreneur Council (2/6)
Consumer-products entrepreneurs get an in with industry heavyweight
Entrepreneurs who raise money on CircleUp will be able to get advice from business experts, thanks to a partnership between the selective crowdfunding platform and Procter & Gamble. CircleUp serves businesses in the consumer-products industry. "Everything is easy when you know how, and we get access to a group of people who know how," said Kim Walls, owner of a Los Angeles-based company. Entrepreneur online/The Daily Dose blog (2/6)
The Whole Entrepreneur
How to take control of your to-do list
Look for opportunities to get rid of low-priority tasks if you feel that you are drowning in work, time coach Elizabeth Grace Saunders says. "Decide what you can say 'no' or 'not now' to and get it off your list ASAP," she said. Be realistic about the amount of work you can handle, and get plenty of sleep, she recommends. CBS MoneyWatch (2/4)
Ideas for Innovators
Innovate like Urban Outfitters
Urban Outfitters has grown quickly in the last decade, thanks in part to the innovative way it runs its stores, writes Kaihan Krippendorff, author of "Outthink the Competition." The retailer's founders say they knew nothing about retailing when they started the company, which led them to management strategies than are uncommon in the industry. "Innovators make choices the competition won’t follow," writes Krippendorff. Forbes (2/5)
Fortune from Failure
How The Beatles failed at first
The Beatles are one of the most popular bands of all time, but they actually failed an audition with a major record company early in their careers, writes John Greathouse, a partner at Rincon Venture Partners. You can learn from the band's early struggles by building a strong team for your company, weighing advisers' input carefully and timing your moves appropriately, Greathouse writes. Inc. online (free registration)/Street-Smart Start-ups blog (2/6)
Setbacks on the path to success are inevitable. What matters is whether you allow them to build you up or tear you down."
-- John Greathouse, a partner at Rincon Venture Partners, writing at Inc. online's Street-Smart Start-ups blog.
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