Approximately 26,000 new companies are formed each year in North Carolina. In that same year, over 23,000 companies fail due to poor management and operational mistakes. The statistics are worse in rural and minority populations. Other states have similar statistics about failure rates. This means that good ideas go to waste along with the grant and investor funds that helped get these companies started. As a result, the potential growth of revenue and new jobs is also lost.
If we had assistance for entrepreneurs who are struggling to create successful businesses, the failures should decline considerably. Entrepreneurs should be seeking out business mentors that can help them through the early years of their business.
The Need for Entrepreneur Mentoring
North Carolina has a comprehensive array of entrepreneurship education programs throughout the community college and university systems including various other private and public organizations. The problem is that we have little help for entrepreneurs once they have completed these programs and actually try to start a business.
The issue is that all of these entrepreneurs have need of business management and leadership expertise including:
- Business strategy and planning to make sure their business is focused on a viable market with a winning product and/or service that has a competitive edge
- Forecasting and financing ensuring that sales forecasts are realistic and that revenue, cost, expense and cash are well managed
- Operational discipline and judgment to increase the chances of success by making fewer mistakes
- Industry connections that can help accelerate the business and its operations
- Start-up company experience that can instill the wisdom of what it takes to really start and manage an emerging business
Entrepreneurs often do not know where to turn to perform even the most basic things in creating and managing a business. They need help with such issues as:
- Putting the legal and regulatory infrastructure in place for the company along with the necessary human resources programs
- Financing the early months of the company in order to cover start-up costs, capital equipment and operating expenses, all before the company is cash flow positive
- How to accomplish technology transfer and apply for patents and trademarks
- Getting the necessary skills in place to execute their marketing and sales plans
- Establishing industry relationships that will further enable sales and operational efficiency
EntreDot Connects the Dots for Entrepreneurs
For the majority of the companies that fail, the missing ingredient that could have ensured their success is basic business planning and operations “know-how.” This is the void that EntreDot fills. EntreDot provides business mentoring to entrepreneurs and helps them make the right decisions as they start and operate new companies.
EntreDot is a new non-profit organization designed to increase entrepreneurs’ chances of success by providing them needed business wisdom, resulting in increased revenue as well as job growth. They identify potential “main street” businesses and support them through their early stages of business development. EntreDot matches the needs of these emerging entrepreneurs with their seasoned business executives who establish long-term mentoring relationships and are available whenever needed. Their services include:
- Advising entrepreneurs on the viability of their business ideas, helping them to get on the right track from the beginning
- Identifying research to understand their market opportunities, creating the in-depth understanding of their customer that is always needed
- Developing an effective business model and business strategy so they know how they are going to make money
- Identifying marketing, sales, prototyping and financing needs to make sure the company has the right infrastructure to accomplish their sales goals
- Helping establish appropriate business infrastructure so that the company has the necessary legal and regulatory infrastructure in place
- Advising them on business operations so that the right support is in place for sales and customer support
- Dealing with marketing and sales issues so that the hundreds of issues that always come up are properly dealt with
- Identifying the needs for protecting intellectual property so that the company is not exposed to losing their differentiation and barriers to entry
- Providing management guidance for their business decisions to make sure they are both thoughtful and effective
- Referring entrepreneurs to business resources that will help them in both operations as well as reaching out to new customers and partnerships
Bottom line. Improve your chances. Get a mentor.