Archive for the ‘serial entrepreneurs’ Category

“Founders’ Dilemmas” Course: Franchising, The Full Life Cycle of a Venture, and Exit Decisions

Prior posts about my “Founders’ Dilemmas” MBA course included the following items: an overview of the course, details about the Introductory case and the cases in the “When to Found” module, details about four cases in the “Building the Team” module, descriptions of the core new-venture hiring cases, and details about the founder-CEO succession cases. This post describes a case that examines franchising as a growth option and as an entry point into entrepreneurship, from the perspectives of both the founder of the potential franchisor and the founder of the potential first franchisee (“Rubbish Boys“); three cases that trace the full series of founding decisions from idea through exit (“Evan Williams: From Blogger to Odeo,” “The Tale of the Lynx,” and “Lather, Rinse, Repeat: FeedBurner’s Serial Founding Team“); and a case that focuses on exit decisions (“Nantucket Nectars: The Exit“). For each case, this post provides the official case description, a list of the case’s core issues, and a link to its full HBS Publishing entry. As mentioned before, case studies are often valuable for helping founders, employees, and investors understand the difficult issues they are facing or will be facing in the future (or even help them gain insights into their past experiences!), so if you want to see any of the full cases, you can get them from the HBS Publishing site via the HBSP links below. FRANCHISING Case #1: “Rubbish Boys” (HBSP link) Case description: “It looked like founder-CEO Brian Scudamore might not be able to pursue franchising as a growth option for his junk-removal business after all. Over the years, he had overcome many hurdles, including buying out his ‘too-fiery’ co-founder, firing all of his employees so he could start all over again when he became disillusioned with the company’s developing culture, and failing at experimenting […]

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The Perils of Being a (Successful) Serial Entrepreneur

Succeeding as an entrepreneur comes with many benefits: heightened credibility, new skills, broader and deeper connections. However, once you’ve succeeded, are there any downsides you should worry about? There are substantial benefits to having already been a successful entrepreneur. (In addition to the things listed above, one specific example: My new “After the Firing” analyses — details forthcoming in the coming months — suggest that being a serial entrepreneur may be the strongest protection against the founder’s being replaced as CEO.) However, on the other side of the ledger, I’ve observed several new challenges faced by entrepreneurs who have succeeded. Among those challenges are the following: Less driven to succeed? — Once you’ve succeeded, you may feel less of the hunger or drive needed to motivate yourself to work 24/7 on your next venture, and to persist when faced with the tough hurdles that are sure to arise. More pressure to succeed BIG — On the flip side, serial entrepreneurs may also feel pressure to have their second venture be even bigger and more successful than their first (“I’ve built a $100M company already; this next one is not worth doing unless it’ll be more than $250M”). One-hit wonder? — Serial entrepreneurs may also feel pressure to prove — both to themselves and to others — that they aren’t a “one-hit wonder” or that they got lucky with their first ventures. (In a related vein, a VC recently observed to me that in some sectors, he felt that the most successful entrepreneurs were those who continually pushed into the next generation of technologies with each of their ventures. In those sectors, he strove to invest in entrepreneurs who had already succeeded. In other sectors, though, he felt that each entrepreneur usually was capable of having only one good idea, and […]

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