Friday, September 05, 2008
Party Bus Driver
Wow. I'm "teaching" Entrepreneurial Leadership at Drake University in Des Moines. I put "teaching" in quotes because it feels more like I am guiding students to discover on their own what makes and what it takes to be lead an entrepreneurial venture.
Anyway, why the "Wow!" Well, yesterday, my first guest presenter, Alexander Grgurich, provided a terrific guide to how to drive an entrepreneurial venture. While an undergrad, Alexander bootstrapped some $, bought a bus and turned it into a party bus. Half a dozen buses and a couple of acquisitions later he has built a solid little company, all at the ripe old age of 22, and is looking for new opportunities. Also while an undergrad, he ran for mayor of Norwalk, a small town near Des Moines, and came within 6 votes of winning the election; he turned that bump in the road into a successful run for Norwalk's city council. (hmmm, do I see a trend of small town politics leading to bigger and better things? I did not ask him if he can field dress a moose, but I'd bet he could learn if he had to).
Alexander and I share an interest in co-working; we also believe in giving back to the community. I thought he'd bring a unique perspective to the 40 students in my class, and he graciously agreed to talk to them early yesterday morning. Here are some highlights from his excellent presentation:
+You never really know where the next big thing* will come from, but you must keep an eye on what is going on in the world. Alexander recommends Springwise, a very cool business trends site.
*Tom Davenport discusses this in his blog at Harvard Business Publishing. Thanks to CrowdSourcing Directory for the eye image.
+Entrepreneurial Leadership involves innovation, risk and persistence.
Without innovation progress will grind to a halt.
It doesn't require a new product or gizmo;
it can be a new, better way of doing something
Life is hard; it involves risks.
The key is to protect your downside; try not to lose if all if you fail
If you fail, try again, and again, and again.
He was elected only after 2 failed tries.
+He closed with 3 tips; I'll call them Grgurich's Guide to Successful Entrepreneurship:
1. Understand who you are
Put aside all distractions and identify your strengths and weaknesses (he drew pictures).
2. Admit you don't know everything, and ask for help when you need it.
3. Find mentors.
Great stuff. Keep an eye on this guy.