Inc's 2013 Survey of Entrepreneurs
people, according to surveys, consider starting their own businesses at some time during their working years. The
risk of failure and the cost of startup are what prevent most elsewise entrepreneurs from taking the leap of faith
in their own abilities. Not everyone is cut out for running a business whether it be a one-person venture or a conglomerate
with a payrolls of hundreds. Knowing and heeding your own limitation in deciding to remain under the employ of another
company is as virtuous and sound a reason for dismissing thoughts for self-employment as is having the knowledge
and will to strike out on your own. A lot of business are started on the sideline while being employed fulltime
in a regular job. Indeed, that was RF Cafe's origin. It wasn't until I had confidence that I could subsist on RF
Cafe's revenue level that I left the security of the best engineering job I ever had to tend to the website full-time
(at a substantial reduction in pay, I will add).
year or so, Inc magazine does a major poll of successful entrepreneurs to find out what motivates them (2013
Inc 5000), what decisions they consider to have been the best and worst for their companies, what they would
have done differently, what they would and would not change about the way their companies have evolved, how they
view the business climate today versus when they first began, what are the qualities of good leaders, how to select
the best employees and how to dump bad ones, whether to seek out venture capital investors, how to handle undeserved
bad publicity, etc. The September 2013 issue is an example. It is chock full of graphs and charts to let you see
the responses of the founders and CEOs of the Inc 5000 list of companies (Portrait
of a Leader). Some might surprise you.
For instance, 19% say their employees view them as a "tough taskmaster."
You might think that would be a big negative, but there are some people that are at their best when given a
and an expectation that the job be performed as outlined, with little or no room for error. Out of a list of 21
qualities of an outstanding leader, #1 was trustworthiness and #21 was likability; in other words, being the best
friend of all your employees and overlooking underperformance is not considered anywhere near as important as running
a company that is successful and keeps the paychecks coming to employees. That doesn't mean it's okay to be a tyrant,
but you don't have to sacrifice the good of the company to be everybody's best friend. 29% think achieving a good
work-life balance is "a nice fantasy."
What probably doesn't surprise you is that 42% identify finding and
keeping good employees and skilled workers to be the biggest challenge facing leaders. Delegating financial control
to someone else early in the game was the biggest regret. A whopping 93% believe there is a distinction between
being a great manager and being a great leader.
So, out of 5,000 top companies which one ranked numero uno? Why,
Fuhu, of course! Right, I've never heard of them,
either, but then their 3-year growth in revenue of 42,148% is a tad higher than RF Cafe's similar growth. Fuhu makes
the Nabi, an Android tablet for kids. Number 5,000 is
ALL4, which consults with companies on air quality issues. Tops in engineering is
Integrity Engineering &
Design Solutions (#533 overall), which advises on design, development, and manifesting in the aerospace, telecom
and military industrial communities. Sparc (not the
Sun Microsystems' Sparc) headed the Software category with an overall rating of #14 - they're proud of it, too,
as evidenced by their homepage. The top telecommunications
company was Spoken Communications (#90 overall), which provides large-enterprise contact centers using a cloud-based
the same issue is the
Inc 500 list. Rather than me summarizing the results, you might consider taking a quick visit
to the website. Here is a cool graphic from the article.
No, RF Cafe didn't make the list, and probably never
will. My prices are too dirt cheap and have remained fixed for years. I could probably double or triple revenue
by selling one of those wonderful full-screen website entry advertisements or by allowing those beloved ads that
pop up onto your computer screen, but something tells me you wouldn't appreciate it very much, even though the industry
has trained everyone to tolerate them. I don't even set cookies or collect and sell visitor URLs or e-mail addresses.
There's a lot of money to be made by employing those tactics. Let me know if you'd like to be subject to any or
all of them so maybe I can get onto the 2015 list.