Sunday, January 29, 2012

A CFO Entrepreneurial Lesson Learned

Don't let your small business make you small minded.

This is one of those tough lessons I learned this week. I am an entrepreneurial CFO. This means that I am a Part time CFO that performs CFO Services and my background consists primarily of owning and operating small businesses all through my career. Even now, in addition to my CFO practice I co-own a property casualty insurance agency with my partner.

What I learned this week is that as a small business owner we can become small minded. What I also learned that a large part of what drives that small mindedness is self doubt.

Here is my story:

Back in 2002 I put together a business plan to create Virtual Trade Shows. These virtual trade shows would help small companies who cannot afford to attend or exhibit at important trade shows an opportunity to attend over the internet.

Here is an excerpt of the concept from the Executive Summary:

", Inc. ("TSON" or "the Company") was created to streamline commercial trade shows and make them much more cost effective and more productive to the participant. The trade shows would take place on the internet providing both exhibitors and attendees with more capabilities and tools in order for them to accomplish more at a lower cost than they would if they all were actually at an exhibit hall. The Company's purpose is not to eliminate trade shows, but creating them in a virtual environment while maintaining all the advantages that trade shows afford and increasing efficiencies, data and participation."

As I reflect back on why I did not pursue my business plan, I remembered I was fraught with self doubt. Self doubt that I could not raise the money, self doubt that I could not come up with the technical programmers, Self doubt that the idea was before its time and so on.

Last week I received an email from On24 a company among other things creates and builds virtual trade shows. They have 3 Venture firms on their board and look like they are doing extremely well. I saw pieces of their latest virtual trade show and it is exactly what I envisioned. Evidently the founder of On24 had no doubts about raising money, finding programmers and the timing of the project.

I had prepared and executed business plans before but they were on a smaller scale. I let a small business mentality make me small minded and I let self doubt prevent me from executing this plan.

The take away here is:

Wouldn't it be a shame if self doubt prevents you from serving the world!