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!

Dream Big

Dream Big. Start Small. Act Now. @ericcorl Eric Corl /in/ericcorl www.ericcorl.com

A quote from Robin Sharma goes, "Dream Big. Start Small. Act Now". It is powerful in that an idea is worthless without execution and it all starts with action.

Have an idea? Dream big. Think about the big picture. What it could be. This will fuel your passion and energy. Then, immediately think about the small things you can begin doing now to put that dream into action.

Now, get going. Buy the domain. Make a prototype. Get going......

Too many people focus too long on the big things and not on the small things. The every day small things that move things forward. The base hits. Start with the base hits.

Robots are Here

Coffee Robot in Austin, Texas Eric Corl Traveling

Yes, that's a robotic coffee machine that will prepare any coffee you want from a Cafe Mocha to a caramel machiatto.

Robots are here and will begin changing lives than most people anticipate. Over the next ten years it will disrupt industries across the board, changing everything from coffee to lawn care.

Robot News

Over the past 7 days, there have been some large announcements on robots making their way into major supply chains.

For example, Amazon announced on their drones will begin making home deliveries "within months" here.

Boston Dynamics announced that it will soon be offering it's first commercial robot for sale, named spot. Click here to review the article with images and pictures of the robot here.

Over the past year, Honda has launched a robotic lawn mower (watch out lawn service companies) named Miimo.

Robots are here and they are going to begin changing everything.

 

Jobs Impacted by Robots

CNBC reported that 25% of US Jobs are at risk to automation.

Visual Capitalist created this nice chart showing jobs that are at highest risk.

VIsiual Capitalist Robot Chart Eric Corl EricCorl.com

Worldwide work forces must develop new skills to stay ahead of the curve. Positions that require creative thinking, and interpersonal skills are harder to replace than those focused around repetitive tasks.

As robotics and automation continue to improve, even the most complex of tasks will begin being automated with AI.

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

An Embarrassing Moment Taught Me a Lot About Empathy

When I was in college, I worked a lot. Too much looking back. The 18 hour days, the traveling, the all consuming focus of “making it happen”. While it took me another 15 years to learn to value balance, one memorable trip taught me a lot about empathy.

Eric Corl
“Here’s where the embarrassing story comes in”

Here’s where the embarrassing story comes in. I was flying back from a business event, and exhausted, I fell asleep. Not bad, right? Lots of people fall asleep on planes. Give it a minute. I woke up with my shoulder on an older gentlemen’s shoulder, and…… I had drooled on him. I was horrified. After a frantic apology, I asked, “Why didn’t you wake me up?”. He replied, “My wife (sitting in the window seat next to him) and I have 5 children all older than you. It didn’t bother me a bit”.

I was in awe of his empathetic demeanor and how kind he was. At that age (19), I would have lost it if the same thing had happened to me. It gave me quite the paradigm shift.

In business and life, you’ll have situations happen to you where you have every right to be angry. I call on you to be empathetic like the older man.

Since then, I’ve been fortunate to have empathy shown to me many times both personally and professionally and I’m extremely grateful. So, I’ve tried to show the same kindness.

In our business, we’ve gone above and beyond to help people who we had no incentive to help. We’ve forgiven many that have wronged us.

We’ve had people attack us and have had to take a step back – knowing that if we attacked back, we’d crush them and didn’t want to put that into the world.

Sure, you’ll be taken advantage of occasionally – but some will take your kindness for what it is and your mercy will be an everlasting reminder in their lives.

Give it a try.

Best,
Eric Corl

10,000 Reasons Not to Start a Business

There are about 10,000 reasons not to start a business, so don’t, unless why you want to is important enough to you to do it anyway.

It’s my belief that if you read through this and are dissuaded, you should not start a business. Starting a business is not an easy endeavor. Making it successful is harder. Keeping it successful is even more difficult. It’s those that want to push forward despite all of that who have a much better chance of making it.

So, 10,000 reasons not to start a business, you say? Yes.

You’ll deal with hiring mistakes, having to fire good people, people irrationally upset, regulations, lawsuits, and more. If you’re in business long enough, you’ll see it all and that’s after you “make it”.

Prior to that, you’ll have to go through the hurdles and obstacles that face every entrepreneur. Product/Tech/Service development and market testing. Legal preparation. Making sure you are properly insured. Getting your first customers to purchase. Collecting your payments and receivables. Managing your cash flow. Iterating product changes based on customer feedback. Delays. Sweat. Heart Palpitations.

You must want it, you have to be willing to bust your ass to make it happen. You will have to be resourceful, persistent, and resilient.

If you have an external locus of control – the tendency to blame others for issues, throw in the towel now. You’ll have enough of that to deal with that if you’re that way it’s not even worth getting started.

If you have an internal locus of control – the tendency to think of what you could have done differently and learn from mistakes, you’ve got a leg up.

It will take longer. It will be harder.

You won’t make money as quickly as you think. It will be harder than you think it will be and you will face more challenges than you could have imagined. In fact, according to Inc.com, only 4 out of 100 businesses survive past 10 years.

If you understand all of that and can still push forward with a smile on your face, then starting a business might just be for you.

Senator Rob Portman Receives Spirit of Enterprise Award

Ohio Senator Rob Portman has received the Spirit of Enterprise Award from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

“To receive this prestigious award, members of Congress are scored on their votes on critical business legislation as outlined in the Chamber’s annual scorecardHow They Voted. Members who supported the Chamber’s position on at least 70 percent of those votes qualify to receive the award.”

“During the second session of the 115th Congress, the Chamber scored members on 10 Senate votes and 12 House votes on legislation related to, for example, reducing health care costs, strengthening our immigration system, expanding access to capital, and combatting the opioid crisis. This is the 31st year that the U.S. Chamber has formally honored the accomplishments of this select group of members of Congress.”

Congratulations to Senator Portman for receiving the award and thank you for supporting the Small Business Community.

We need more small business representation in Washington and it is imperative that their voices are heard.

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.