Happy father’s day, dad entrepreneurs
If you are the child of an entrepreneur, you’ve watched your parent work their fingers to the bone (sometimes literally, other times figuratively), and you have admiration for his grit and determination.
The next generation of dad entrepreneurs is here, and their take on the work/life balance conundrum is very different. Tech startup founders, inventors, and business men of today involve their children, care about every waking moment they can spend with their kids, and go above and beyond to make them a priority.
Eight fathers tell us below how they balance their work with their family life, and we salute them this father’s day:
Kevin McCarthy – founder and CEO of McCarthy Music
“My daughter Sophia, 6, has been intimately involved in the development of my company’s first product, the Illuminating Piano. Since Sophia was 4, she’s been playing occasionally on various prototypes. It’s been a great way for us to connect about what I do and it’s inspired her to want to invent all sorts of things. I think trying to involve your children in your business is a somewhat overlooked aspect of work/life balance, but it gives them a much better understanding of what you actually do. I also work 7 a.m.-4 p.m., which gives us an additional hour or two each night to spend together.”
Marc Gorlin – founder and CEO of Roadie, Inc.
“Anytime I have a decision to make, I ask myself ‘What’s most important?’ I do this at Roadie all the time. When put through this simple filter, questions get, well, simpler. For example, last week, I had the choice of being five minutes late to a meeting or ordering flowers for my daughter’s debut as the Dragon in Shrek the Musical. The meeting could wait.”
Edward McCloskey, founder of WaterWipes
“Ensure that, as a father with kids of teenage or younger ages, you make sure that you allow enough time in your life to spend regular ‘family’ time with them and to be around, available and interested in their day-to-day lives. It is way too easy to get sucked up into the ‘thrill of the chase’ when building your business, but your kids will have grown up and moved on before you know it, and you don’t want to miss out on their developmental years. So the challenge as an entrepreneurial dad is to both do the best you can in growing your business and also make sure to spend regular quality time with your children. It’s as easy – and as difficult – as that.”
Peter Waisnor, Vice President, Tenba
“Be home for dinner, be in the moment and arrive with excitement. I travel about 25% of the year, much of it internationally, and I could easily travel twice that amount if I went everywhere I was asked to go. To minimize my time away, I often take red-eye flights home so that I don’t lose a full day for travel. And when I arrive home, no matter how little I have slept for the time that I was away, I arrive ready to do whatever my son wants to do. My son is very excited to see me and hang out when I return, so I don’t want to spoil it by letting him know that I’m exhausted.”
Sean Folkson, Founder, NightFood, Inc.
“Get your kids on board: It might not be possible, depending on your business, but my both my kids love NightFood, so they understand when Daddy has to work late or on weekends. Whenever we are in a mall with a GNC store, my 5 year-old Benny wants to go in and do a sales call. We’ve even featured him in some promotional videos and ads we’ve done. He tells his friends and teachers about the bars. He feels a sense of ownership, which makes me proud and makes things easier. Also, try your best to leave work at work and understand your priorities.”
Roger Wilson, Owner, GermBloc
“Keeping perspective on what truly matters can easily change when you stretch your mind to think outside the box and create innovative products that you become emotionally attached to. Whether your new idea becomes a success or failure, you want to maintain your priorities realizing that having faith and family will last forever and your awesome new idea will not give you true fulfillment long term.”
Jon Sumroy, creator of mifold
“It’s never easy being an entrepreneur – bringing something new to the world. But there are two huge myths that make people think being a ‘daddy entrepreneur’ is particularly hard: the myths that only young entrepreneurs can succeed and that being a “daddy entrepreneur” requires life/work balance. To combat these myths I suggest: be a good entrepreneur (do your research!), merge life and work, commit to the very important things, bring your kids with you to business activities, and create kiddie entrepreneurs.”
Gregory Schern, Founder of Ogden Made
“My success is wholly dependent upon my family’s support – any success at being a ‘dad entrepreneur’ relies upon understanding that long days, and extended periods away from home are not possible without a great family support network. The best way for that to happen is involve them in the big ideas and let them come to work, meet the team, and share the success. Also, time management is the toughest battle – and don’t forget that your employees and team members have families, too!”
Product Hunt is putting their money where their hunt is
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Product Hunt is putting money where their hunt is by announcing a new Maker Grants service to boost small and independent creators.
Product Hunt – a technology centric site that aggregates new products daily – recently announced a new Maker Grant program that is designed to identify and help startups get their products started with a $5,000 grant.
Since its inception in 2013 by Ryan Hoover, Product Hunt has been a success vehicle for numerous products and companies by giving them access to a large audience of potential customers and investors. Available as an app across multiple formats, it allows groups to post their ideas and get feedback from a number of sources through comments and an integrated voting system. Everything from books, podcasts, hardware, and games can be found on Product Hunt, with dozens of new entries every day.
And now, Product Hunt’s new venture is to give 3 promising products their own substantial grant each month in an effort to give back to its community by placing money into the hands of its followers.
In a statement in its press release, Product Hunt announced that, “We know that building products can be expensive work, and passion doesn’t always pay the bills. As a way of saying thank you to the community, and to encourage makers to keep building, this year we’re offering cash gifts of $5,000 to three makers each month.”
Users will be able to nominate Makers that they feel deserve the investment by filling out a form. Product Hunt will take these suggestions and make decisions from there. In terms of how this will all be done, the official word is, “We’re reviewing makers who launched in the previous month who we believe are shining examples of innovation, grit, and engagement with the PH community. We’ll also be prioritizing those who are bootstrapping their businesses or working on their side projects without the help of venture funding.”
The big takeaway here is that Product Hunt is championing its support of its Makers through direct monetary help. By giving back into their own users, it strengthens and encourages them to put their best ideas forward and believe in their own innovation. Whereas more standard and traditional methods of grants may require several layers of arbitration, paperwork, and other hurdles, Product Hunt is providing a fast track to capital by leveraging its existing group of passionate users. Even knowing where to look can be intimidating and overwhelming.
At a time when banks may not be the best option for grants and loans, seeing a company choose to instead redirect its own money into the hands of its users is uplifting (and even more so given the turbulent market in a pandemic-choked world). Product Hunt maintains that it will do this each month, and will listen to feedback as it continues to build out the program.
Product Hunt’s userbase has reacted with incredible enthusiasm and praise, with repeated posts expressing a huge level of excitement and gratitude. While there are still some questions to be answered, Product Hunt’s flexible and community-driven approach is poised to potentially change the lives of many Makers. It will be exciting to see how this all plays out, and hopefully will encourage other companies to follow suit in creating positive outcomes through financial support.
Snowpocalypse disaster 2021: How can businesses help their employees?
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) How did your business manage your human resources during snowpocalypse? How can you protect your team and prepare for the next disaster?
The effects of Snowpocalypse 2021 will be felt for months. It’s not just fixing the power grid, paying off electric bills, or repairing pipes. Many employees lost wages because they couldn’t work. CNBC estimates that over 40% of Americans couldn’t last a month on their savings. Combined with the impact of COVID-19 across many industries, recovering from a 2-week loss of wages from the snowstorm disaster could devastate many Texans.
How does your business manage time off during disasters?
Larger businesses often continue to pay their employee’s salaries during disasters. Exempt employees have different rules over non-exempt employees, but we’ve seen many instances where larger organizations continued to pay employees, even though they couldn’t get into work. Employees with small to medium sized businesses often don’t have an option. These employees either take PTO or don’t get paid. While this might be legal and understandable from the business point of view, there might be other options. What can a business do when a disaster occurs when it comes to employee wages?
Know the law to pay employees right
I’m not even going to try to and sort through the multitude of laws that pertain to nonexempt or exempt employees. Every business should have a disaster policy that informs employees how their salary will be handled during the disaster, whether employees can stay home and work, choose to stay home out of safety or are forced to stay home and can’t work. Know the policies of the ADA, OSHA and FMLA to know what your rights and responsibilities are as an employer when disaster strikes. Make sure you’re paying employees according to state and federal laws.
Consider options to protect employees
We’re not suggesting that businesses put themselves in debt to pay workers during a crisis, but Texas has experienced so many disasters over the past few years, it does make sense to think about how to help employees during those times. Critical time off (CTO) is one option as a benefit to workers during crises. By lowering stress during critical times, your employees come back to work ready to deal with your business.
Building trust with your team by helping them through a crisis can help your business keep your best workers. Now’s the time to look at your disaster response and figure out how to take steps to prepare for the next time.
4 tips for acquiring a business: The why and how
(BUSINESS ENTREPRENEUR) Acquiring a business can be a key part of your business’s future growth, but there are some factors you should consider before signing the deal.
Growing businesses have multiple levers that can be pulled separately or in unison to continue scaling and expanding. And while many companies choose to grow internally, there’s always the option of acquiring other businesses to supercharge results and instantly expand.
Acquiring a business is certainly a complicated path to expansion, but it’s also a highly attractive one for a variety of reasons. This includes:
- Increased market share. If you’re acquiring a business that happens to be a competitor, you can instantly increase your market share. If you currently own 20 percent of the market share and the competition has 15 percent, you suddenly catapult to 35 percent. That might make you the industry leader overnight!
- Expansion into new markets. Sometimes you acquire a business outside of your industry or niche. In this case, it allows you to expand vertically or horizontally. This can improve top-line revenue and/or reduce costs and benefit profit margins.
- Advanced tech and IP. In some situations, an acquisition is about acquiring a specific piece of technology or intellectual property (IP). This may prove to be the final boost you need to accelerate growth and initiate further expansion.
- Talent acquisition. One of the secondary benefits of an acquisition is the opportunity to welcome new talent into your team. Whether it’s a seasoned executive or a highly effective sales staff, this is one benefit you can’t ignore.
Mergers and acquisitions aren’t the correct solutions in every situation, but they often make sense. It’s ultimately up to your team to sit down and discuss the pros, cons, opportunities, drawbacks, and possibilities of pursuing this option.
Helpful Acquisition Tips
Should your business choose to move forward with the acquisition route, here are some essential tips to be aware of:
1. Assemble a Talented Team
Don’t do anything until you first develop an acquisition team. This is a very important step and should not be delayed. (Many businesses make the mistake of starting the search and then forming a team on the fly, but this results in missed opportunities and foundational errors that can compromise an otherwise smart acquisition.)
A good acquisition team should include an experienced mergers and acquisitions advisor, a responsible executive, an attorney, an HR professional, and an IT expert. You’ll also want to bring on a public relations professional as soon as possible. This will ensure you control the messaging that customers, investors, and even employees hear.
2. Do Extensive Due Diligence
With the support of a talented dream team, you’re equipped to find the best acquisition opportunities. As you narrow your targets down, you’ll want to identify and implement a very detailed due diligence process for acquiring a business. This may include an extensive, objective analysis that consists of a letter of intent, confidentiality agreement, contracts and leases, financial statements, tax returns, and other important documents.
3. Make an Initial Offer
If the due diligence checks out, then it’s time to work on formulating an offer for acquiring a business. While the first offer almost certainly won’t be the offer that gets accepted, it’s the single most important offer you’ll make. It frames the transaction and sets the tone for the rest of the negotiations. It’s generally a good idea to offer no more than 75 to 90 percent of what you’re willing to pay. It should be low enough to leave room to inch up, but not so low that the other party could potentially see it as an insult.
Your first offer won’t get accepted. But unless you’ve totally insulted the other business, they should come back with a counter. Now is where things get really interesting. Negotiations ensue and it’s time to counter back and forth. The offer consists of a variety of elements – not just a price tag – so consider all of these variables in your subsequent counters.
Adding it All Up
As valuable as an acquisition can be, the process is often filled with friction. It’s up to your team to make the transition after closing as smooth as possible.
It’s very important that you respect the products, services, employees, and customers that the acquired business has. If you come into an acquisition and attempt to shake things up on day one, you’re going to get backlash. There’s nothing wrong with making changes – you now own the business – but be diplomatic and patient. Build trust, work together, and gradually introduce changes.
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