The Critic

The Critic by Eric Corl, Review Complaint

In a recent Medium post, I wrote about the climate of entrepreneurship and the very present critic. Access to profiteer websites, acting as a soapbox, makes it easier than ever to break a small business. I have seen entrepreneurs sell their companies because they simply don’t want to deal with the peanut gallery anymore.

I wasn’t raised by parents that saw the world in black and white. Learn more about my story here. As an adult, I am grateful for that because I don’t either. I have come to realize that I approach each situation differently because of knowing that there is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ answer. You do what you can with what you have.

Things need to be accomplished. Period.

There are better and worse ways of doing things. Some that are more and less efficient. Some that heed the results you want and some that don’t. But that’s ok.

Enter the Monday morning quarterback. Defined as: Someone who criticizes others after something has happened by saying that they should have dealt with it differently, although the people involved could not have known what would happen.

Proudly standing on their soapbox, the critic plays Monday morning quarterback. Why should their opinion hold any weight? It shouldn’t. They weren’t there during your past lessons and they won’t be there to help you in the future…

Being an entrepreneur takes MORE. More mental, physical, emotional, financial and every other ‘-ial‘ than 99% of the population is willing to give. Thinking outside of the proverbial box is what got you to entrepreneurship in the first place. When you are paving the way for something new and never seen before, not even you know what lies ahead. And certainly not the critic.

No one, and I truly mean NO ONE, knows the journey you’ve been on with your business. Simply because they haven’t built what you have. They haven’t learned the most important things that you have… what doesn’t work.

The errors, inefficiencies, lack of results and self-admitted mistakes… they hurt. But they are YOURS.

Drown out the critics and keep cranking.

Female Entrepreneurs > Male

Why I like working with Female Entrepreneurs MORE than Male Entrepreneurs

Women outperform men in business and usually by a significant margin. To the point where it is becoming increasingly clear to me why God created women second; He didn’t get it right the first time.

Our team has worked with over 1,500 entrepreneurs over the past 12 years. Out of my top 100 favorite partners, a majority of them are women. Why?

  1. They Focus on Details
  2. Listening to their Customers Comes Naturally
  3. They Follow Through
  4. Their Ego isn’t a Driving Factor
  5. They’re Better Leaders
  6. They Work Better with a Team

Guess what, the data backs it up.

For innovative companies, female led private companies lead to an average a 35% higher return on investment than their male counterparts.

Further research backs it up, showing women founded companies backed by VC’s utilize 1/3rd less committed capital to achieve comparable results. They also return a 34% higher return to shareholders. 

A 10 year SBA backed study between 2000-2010 found that VC firms that invest in women owned businesses performed better than men led businesses. Read it here.

According to First Round Capital’s own analysis,female leadership impacted returns by as much as 65%. I have seen this time and again. Women are better communicators and seemingly have no problem getting the best out of their employees.

Elizabeth Hu, of Business Insider, reports women generate a 0.78 return on every dollar invested vs. 0.31 for men. Ouch.

So, why do we even bother working with male led companies? There are more of them. While business start ups have increased dramatically over the past 20 years by women (prior to 1988, women apparently needed a male co-signor on any loans, what???), the majority of the increase is for solo based businesses in industries not feasible for venture backing.

Why did I write this article? In my own analysis of the companies I’ve most enjoyed being a part of helping build, I noticed a trend heavily in the favor of female entrepreneurs. Both based on the character and the results.

One of the favorite entrepreneurs I’ve worked with of all time has been an entrepreneur named Ashley Whitman, the founder of Cappy Bug, LLC (Romp & Roost). She is a true representation of a great female entrepreneur and I’ve been honored to work with her for 4 years come September. 

Read more about me and why I decided to become an entrepreneur here!

10 Tips to Reduce Burnout

Burnout is a real and extinguishing force you can face as a high performer. As a veteran entrepreneur, it's something I've dealt with a few times in my career. Here are ten ways you can dramatically reduce your chances of burnout and will help you get back to "normal" quickly if you're currently in the burnout lull.

  1. Exercise - Exercising is one of the most powerful ways to prevent and overcome burnout. The downside? You usually don't feel like doing it when you're in the burnout lull. Start by signing up for a gym membership and getting an accountability partner. Any exercise is better than none, and while a rigorous workout is best, even a 20 minute walk a day can help you beat burnout.

  2. Drink Lots of Water - Our bodies are made up of more than 70% water. If you're tired, hydration is more than likely one of the factors at play. The first thing you drink when you wake up in the morning and before you go to bed should be a large glass of water.

  3. Practice Gratitude - Ideally during exercise, go through your mind about all of the things you are grateful for. Having a hard time? Start with the fact that you're alive. That you can see, feel, touch, etc. It is amazingly effective and has been shown to have tremendous psychological benefits.

  4. Socialize - The last thing you should do when you are facing or in burnout is to isolate. It's not a mentally healthy path. Socializing can boost your physical, mental, and emotional health. Restricted by your location to visit with family and friends? Pick up the phone or facetime at least once a day to build your relationships. It will boost your life and those you connect with.

  5. Practice Mindfulness - Take small breaks throughout the day to be mindful of how you are feeling. It's being fully conscious of how you are feeling mentally and physically, and not just letting the day run you. Many people use this as a form of therapy. For some, this is saying a prayer. For others, it's quietly thinking while walking.

  6. Create a Consistent Schedule - Often times when I talk to high performers who face burnout, their schedules involve late nights and inconsistent schedules. Get a schedule that consistently works for you. Create small consistencies to give your day shape and structure. It can be as simple as the first few things you do in the day such as getting coffee, reading, and exercising. It will help create a foundation for you to build from and provide consistency in the midst of chaos.

  7. Get 8 Hours of Sleep - Sleep is critical to how our bodies and minds function over the long run. Yes, there are people that can sleep only 4 hours a night. Unless you are fully optimized both mentally and physically, it's a recipe for disaster. Sleep deficiency can lead to a host of mental and physical issues in the long run.

  8. Eat Well - We put premium gasoline in our cars to help them run their best and increase longevity, yet we often settle for less than premium fuel in our bodies. Eat clean, healthy foods, and you'll see a boost in your mental and physical performance.

  9. Take Time to Rest - Working 7 days a week for 18 hour days can only last so long. Take time to rest at least one day a week. On your off day/s, try to spend time with friends and family, and doing something you thoroughly enjoy. It lets your mental tank refuel.

  10. Believe In Yourself - Work on building belief in yourself. That way, even when you face obstacles, you'll have the confidence that you'll be able to get through it. Challenges, burnout, and life events are bound to happen. How you react to it is what matters, and you have within you the power to get through it and past it.

Eric Corl is a business owner and nationally recognized entrepreneur based out of Columbus, Ohio.

 

How Gratitude is a Multiplier

Gratitude is a Multiplier
Gratitude is a Multiplier

Gratitude. What does it mean to you?

To me it means showing both in action and in your words your appreciation for others. In my experience, it’s a good signal of a person who recognizes and appreciates others.

It’s a powerful multiplier in business, in friendships, in marriage, and spiritually. Practice it daily and watch your relationships blossom. Giving it promotes more of it – in your life and in others – it truly does multiply.

Studies to Support the Power of Gratitude:

Practicing Gratitude Can Make You Happier – Harvard Psychology

Gratitude Increases Mental Strength

Gratitude Enhances Empathy and Reduces Aggression

For Business, People Like Getting Thank You Notes

So many benefits and such an easy habit to get into. When was the last time you expressed gratitude?

Here are some ideas on showing you’re grateful:
Friendships –
Sending a thank you note.
Picking up the tab the next time you grab lunch or drinks.

Marriage –
Bringing home flowers or cooking their favorite meal.
Scheduling something they enjoy doing just as thanks.

Business –
Acknowledging a mentor in social media.
Sending a thank you note when you get a referral.
Getting an employee a gift card when you notice that extra effort.

Spiritually –
Giving thanks for all of your blessings. The ability to breathe, see, hear, smell, taste, touch.

Thank you for reading this post. I appreciate you visiting my site and taking the time read. I’d love to connect with you on LinkedIN – Eric Corl LinkedIN.

Small Business Startup Statistics

Startup statistics. Some people will sigh and think, “that doesn’t apply to me”. However, I would say that if you are thinking about launching a new business, it’s very important to understand the statistics of starting a small business.

In general, most new businesses will fail. If you think that can’t possibly happen to you, you need to strongly consider the possibility that it could. Then do everything you can to avoid it. According to Inc.com, only 4 out of 100 businesses survive past 10 years.

The team at Small Business Trends put together a great list of startup statistics here – https://smallbiztrends.com/2019/03/startup-statistics-small-business.html

Out of all the businesses started in 2014, here are survival stats:

  • 80% made it to the second year (2015);
  • 70% made it to the third year (2016);
  • 62% made it to the fourth year (2017);
  • 56% made it to the fifth year (2018).

The #1 reason startups fail? No market need/demand. Solve a REAL problem, and you can drastically reduce that as a potential reason for your startup failure. Don’t worry, there are plenty of others to look out for……

Startup Failure Statistics

  • According to the article, here are the top 10 reasons startups fail:
    • No market need: 42 percent;
    • Ran out of cash: 29 percent;
    • Not the right team: 23 percent;
    • Got outcompeted: 19 percent;
    • Pricing / Cost issues: 18 percent;
    • User un-friendly product: 17 percent;
    • Product without a business model: 17 percent;
    • Poor marketing: 14 percent;
    • Ignore customers: 14 percent; and
    • Product mistimed: 13 percent.

On Startup Funding:

According to the stats, a full 1/3rd of business owners start with less than $5,000 and 58% got started with less than 58%.

Sources of Collective Startup Funds:

The largest source of startup funds didn’t come from investors, or banks, it came from good old savings. The vast majority of people starting a business (77%) use personal funds as a portion or all of their startup funds.

  • Personal funds 77%
  • Bank loan 34%
  • Borrowing from family/friends 16%
  • Other funding 11%
  • Donations from family/friends 9%
  • Online lender 4%
  • Angel investor 3%
  • Venture capital 3%
  • Crowdfunding 2%

Gender Startup Statistics:

Male: 73%
Female: 25%

It is great to see the number of female founders rising as some of the best entrepreneurs I work with are females. They tend to be harder working, more detail oriented, and more focused on the long game.

Age Startup Statistics:

According to the article, 53% of those that start businesses are between 50 and 69 years old. Proof that you’re never too old to start.

I hope you find these statistics as educational as I did. I will continue to update this data as I come across more.

Best,
Eric Corl

Brain Food for Entrepreneurs – SoundCloud

SoundCloud Eric Corl

I’ve started compiling a list of SoundCloud content for aspiring entrepreneurs here – https://soundcloud.com/eric-corl

When you’re first considering entrepreneurship, it’s critical that you absorb as much wisdom from great entrepreneurs as you can. It will help you to get your mindset right, learn the lingo, and most importantly – learn from their mistakes.

Entrepreneurship is one of the most rewarding yet challenging endeavors one can start. If you can learn from those who have been where you want to go, you can dramatically compress time. (And you can find lessons from my mistakes here on my blog.)

Podcasts have made it possible to quickly inhale information. Even if you are not intently listening, you will pick up on some points and that’s better than nothing. I prefer podcasts that are keeping up with entrepreneurs. It helps me stay current with my clients and the potential struggles they may face. There’s even a podcast on SoundCloud called ‘The Failing Entrepreneur’.

Check out my playlist here and let me know your thoughts (it’s a work in progress). If you have a suggestion to add to the list, send it my way!

Eric Corl is a Columbus, Ohio based entrepreneur. Corl works with startups to prepare for the launch of their company. A founder of several companies and investor in many, Corl enjoys coaching small businesses through the struggles of starting and growing a business.

For inquiries on having Corl involved with your business, contact him at ericcorl@gmail.com.

The Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus

Hi, I’m Eric Corl. I’m an entrepreneur based in Columbus, OH.
Connect with Me:
Eric Corl on Twitter
Eric Corl on LinkedIN
Eric Corl on Quora

Very happy to see the launch of the Senate Entrepreneurship Caucus by Senators Tim Scott and Amy Klobuchar. It is extremely important that there is a deliberate focus on Entrepreneurship in the Senate. I applaud the SBE Council’s efforts to keep this as a top discussion in Washington, DC and I am excited to see it yield results.

All too often – in politics – the impact of legislation on small businesses and entrepreneurs is an afterthought versus a focus.

Entrepreneurs are the economic engine that drive our economy forward. They must be supported and advocated for in Washington, DC. While there is mixed data, some studies actually show a long term trend of declining startup activity in the United States. Long term, entrepreneurship needs to remain a focus – I would argue that it is critical. Here is some interesting data and thoughts on it.

Data on the State of Entrepreneurship:
Infographic: Millennial Entrepreneurs and the State of Entrepreneurship
Kaufmann Indicators of Entrepreneurship

Economic Benefits of Entrepreneurship:

Business Formation by State – We need to encourage entrepreneurship nationwide.

We need to encourage more female entrepreneurship and support education/programs to encourage startups. Efforts are showing progress but need to be accelerated.

The Top 20 Global Cities for VC Investment:

Small Business Stats from Small Business Trends

This is a working draft. I will continue to update and refine this article. Please feel free to make suggestions on the content in this article. Thank you, Eric Corl.

Five Life Tips for Entrepreneurs

Here are five life tips for entrepreneurs that I like to share with new small business owners.

  1. Always provide value for value. If you get a great intro, repay the favor with an intro of your own, etc. The more value you provide to others, the more you’ll get in return in aggregate.
  2. Avoid people with external locusts of control. These are people that always blame other circumstances on their failures. This filter alone will save you a tremendous amount of heartache both personally and professionally.
  3. Surround yourself with other entrepreneurs you want to be like. You are the average of the five people you spend the most time with. With audio books, and plenty of online content, you can have lunch with the most successful people in the world, everyday.
  4. Don’t let others judgement of you dissuade you. No matter what you do in life, you will have haters. The more you do, the more that is true. You’ll have unhappy customers, you’ll have people who gossip about you. Everyone does. If you don’t, it’s likely because no one knows who you are. The best steak restaurants in the world have people who complain about the steak after they’ve eaten 90% of it. Plan on 2-3% of people hating you and be OKAY with that. You don’t want to do business with those people anyway. Focus on your fans, on your tribe.
  5. Give it your all. Once you set your sights on your path, give it absolutely everything you have. Hard work compresses time – getting you from where you are to where you want to be in a shorter amount of time. Hard work is what will set you apart from everyone else because while most people are willing to sprint, few are willing to run the marathon.

Eric Corl

Why I Became an Entrepreneur

I grew up in an a family business. My dad was an entrepreneur and my mom supported him through each step. That meant learning how business worked at a young age. It is a topic of family discussion at the dinner table. When the business is growing, it’s a part of your weekends. It’s your summer job. It becomes ingrained in you. These are the roots of my entrepreneurial journey.

For five years , I worked as much as I could for my family’s business and mowed 3-4 yards per week, essentially running a micro business and cutting my teeth with pricing, recurring contracts, and customer satisfaction.

However, when I was 16 years old, I was on a fast track to becoming a doctor. I had straight A’s, I had been fascinated by medicine from a young age. I had scoped out the colleges I wanted to go to, and dreamed of being an orthopedic surgeon. That was, until I started meeting several who were not happy, were not fulfilled, and were all getting into business ventures.

Around that time, that I received my first copy of the book, “Rich Dad, Poor Dad” by Robert Kiyosaki. The book changed my mindset. I stopped thinking about the impact I could make as an individual and started thinking about creating an impact with systems.

It’s my belief that entrepreneurship is the Archimedes lever. Becoming an entrepreneur allows you to achieve more than you would ever be able to as an individual.

It was that realization that put me on my path to filing my first LLC at 18 years old prior to going to Ohio State University where I would get into the world of startups.