Everything I know about business I’ve learned from my clients

Last October, I celebrated my 20th year of self-employment. Over the past two decades, I have often said I was earning an MBA from my clients. Just when I think I’m ready to graduate, along comes another great client who teaches me about a whole new business topic and I start learning all over again.

From Joan Schneider of Schneider Associates, I’ve learned all about how to launch new products and services as we’ve written two books together about that topic. More importantly, I’ve also learned never to give up as I’ve watched Joan lead her independent PR firm through multiple recessions and always come out better than before.

When Katherine Catlin of the Catlin & Cookman Group suggested I attend the Creative Problem Solving Institute back in the mid-90s that led to a fascination with innovation that in turn led me to my first book client, Mark Sebell of Creative Realities. This interest continues to pay dividends as I’ve work for the past two years with Stefan Lindegaard on his books about open innovation.

From Katherine, her business partner Bouzha Cookman, and their clients in their High-Growth CEO Forums,  I have also learned many, many lessons about leadership and about the power of mission and vision and planning.

From R.J. Valentine at The MBA Group and F1 Boston, I’ve learned the value of being passionate about your work. Nobody is more gung ho than R.J. and as a result, few people I know are more successful.

From all of the investment bankers at Mirus Capital Advisors, I definitely got a grad school course in mergers and acquisitions. But more important than that I was inspired by their nonstop dedication to  customer service.

From Robert Wallace of the BiTH Group I learned about how to form long-lasting alliances that can take your business to a whole new level.

From the many members of the National Association for Community College Entrepreneurship who I’ve interviewed over the past four years, as well as NACCE’s executive director Heather Van Sickle, I’ve learned a ton about entrepreneurship education, a rapidly emerging field that holds great promise for helping create more successful entrepreneurs like those I’ve worked with since 1989.

In this blog I will share with you the lessons I’ve learned from these amazing people and from many others small business owners too numerous to mention with whom I’ve come in contact during the past two decades. I have been lucky to work with some of the best and I am confident you will benefit from their knowledge and passion as your pursue your own business success

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