At the beginning of 2011 I made a resolution to be more social, you know, get out of the dungeon, get some sunlight, and talk to people face to face again. I started inviting a lot of people to lunch for no other reason than that I wanted to engage in the art of speaking, [...]
I created my first business plan in 4th grade before I had ever heard of the word “entrepreneur.” Since then I’ve had more fun trying to make my own way rather than following others. Sometimes it has worked out well, and other times it’s been educational. Either way, this is where I share my experience and opinions on entrepreneurship and business in general. Take it for what it’s worth.
I’ve never had a formal board or advisory board for my company. But I do have mentors, friends, my wife, and other associates, and from time to time I’ve received input from them that has been of great value to me. One such event happened yesterday. But to give some backstory… 2-3 years ago I [...]
I had an interesting dream last night. I was wading across a stream when suddenly I got swept away in the water. At first it was kind of fun as the water gently flowed along, and I didn’t fight it. But then I saw rapids up ahead and realized I was in trouble. I started [...]
Having just written this, it got me thinking about the skills I have, or wish I had, that have helped or truly would help me as an entrepreneur. I have a Masters of Information Systems Management, and I happen to run an Internet-related business, so people often assume that my degree has been helpful to [...]
On Wednesday I had the opportunity to attend an event at BYU focused on entrepreneurship. While there, I was able to talk to a few students, including one who was asking for general advice. The more I talked to him, the more I started to ramble and blabber, not because I didn’t have anything substantive [...]
I just got off of a phone call with a nice-sounding sales lady from Qwest. The phone call ended with me saying something along the lines of “No, thank you.” Where did this start? It started over 10 years ago, in an apartment on 500 North in Provo, UT, when I was first starting my [...]
15 years ago I thought being a successful businessman meant being the CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 10 years ago I thought it meant being the CEO of a large advertising agency, providing services to Fortune 500 companies. Either way, I dreamed of big buildings, big revenues, lavish and stylishly modern offices, nice clothes, [...]
Today is one of the most exciting days of my life. It represents the culmination…ok, not the culmination, but the beginning of the culmination of 10 years of work. Today I launched a project which, to the casual observer, may seem like no big deal, but when you understand the numbers in aggregate, then it [...]
I hate debt. I hate it, hate it, hate it, hate it. I don’t think anyone who hasn’t been in massive, overwhelming, crippling debt has any clue what it’s like. It’s worse than just having a monkey on your back (sidenote: I held one on my arm once and within 10 seconds he peed all [...]
I’ve had a number of “mentors” over the years, but for the past few years I’ve been completely on my own. Perhaps that’s been good, in a way, but last week I was talking with a friend who said he was looking for a mentor, and that got me thinking. Then, last night, I kept [...]
Used car salesmen, insurance salesmen, financial advisers, lawyers, and…realtors. Why don’t we trust them? For me, it has to do with statements contained in articles like this; “‘Home sales in August were down slightly compared to last year, but with home prices continuing to go down and mortgage interest rates remaining at record lows, there [...]
A leader. The simplest definition of the word leader might be “one who is followed”. But I’d wager most of us have more complex definitions than that. I’d suppose that most of us see a leader as someone with some sort of admirable characteristics, even if we may disagree with how those characteristics are used. [...]
Every year Inc. Magazine publishes its famous ranking of the 5,000 top private companies in America as determined by growth, with certain revenue thresholds, one would assume. The point is there has to be some sort of growth. So what does it mean that I have received upwards of 20 emails inviting me submit my [...]
A few years ago I was this close (imagine me holding my thumb and finger very close together, but not quite touching) to getting out of the web design and SEO businesses and starting a chain of skate shops. And by “skate” I mean “skateboard”, lest anyone think I’m talking about roller skates or something. [...]
It is entirely possible that someone in management at Starbucks one day thought “You know, our country really needs more people to get out and volunteer to help their communities and the people around them. Wouldn’t that be great if we could encourage that? What if we gave away a free drink to encourage that [...]
Each year vSpring Capital publishes a list of the 100 individuals who are most likely to lead a successful venture as CEO or CTO in the next 5-7 years in IT or Biotech industries. Nominees do not currently need to hold titles of CEO or CTO, need not have current involvement in a startup, should [...]
Rick Wagoner, Chairman and CEO of General Motors, has given his opinion on why GM and the other three major US automakers should be bailed out. The gist of it is that GM is too big to fail. That is, the consequences of GM failing would be disastrous for the nation, not just the auto [...]
In 2002 I was running MWI’s predecessor, Mindwire Interactive, but I had made mistakes and was ready to walk away and start over. Another business offered to buy us out. We started negotiating to try and come to a deal. And then I made a mistake. I assumed we would get a deal done…soon. The [...]
What’s interesting about the current economic woes is that it’s all about credit, or in other words, debt. Businesses large and small can’t get the debt financing they need to stay in business. Obviously there’s little or nothing an individual business owner can do to save the broader economy, but they are in control of [...]
Yeah, you heard me. College is overrated. I’ve been to seven years of college. I have a Masters of Information Systems Management. Does having the degree help me? No, I run my own company, so nobody gave me a raise just because I had a graduate degree. Does what I learned while obtaining my degree [...]
If you’re a web designer or even just interested in web design, and you have some sort of tie to Utah, please join the new Utah Web Designers group on Linkedin.com.
I wrote a week or two ago about how a simple and straightforward cancellation process makes it easier to acquire customers, not to mention leaving people with a feeling of goodwill. I suppose you could add that when companies have a reasonable cancellation policy then their customers also won’t post about their negative experience on [...]
I’ve been working from home for over a year now and it is absolutely wonderful. Amongst the myriad benefits are: 1. My four-month old daughter. This might become a challenge when she’s three and banging on my door. 2. Lunch with my wife. Not to mention being able to see her several times a day, [...]
Let’s say I own a house-painting company (I don’t, but let’s pretend) and you work for me. I charge my customers $100 per room to paint their house, and because I want your incentives as an employee to be aligned with the company’s incentives I pay you a per-room fee, just like the company gets [...]
About a year ago I got into doing triathlons and in March I did a half-Ironman (I was hoping when I finished the race the announcer would yell out “Joshua Steimle…you are half an Ironman!” but they said something else). Apparently I’m not one of the only new triathletes around and the sport is growing [...]
I just canceled my membership at 24 Hour Fitness, but it wasn’t easy, and that makes me hesitant to sign up with them again the next time I’m shopping for a gym. It used to be that you could just call the main number on the website and cancel quickly. But this time I got [...]
If you’re a fan of the concept of results-oriented work environments (ROWE) then come join the Results-Oriented Work Environment Association group over at Facebook. The idea is to get people together who are in favor of companies being run in what is ultimately the only logical way to run a business–based on results.
I recently created groups on both Facebook and Linkedin for LDS entrepreneurs. The Facebook group already has 37 members but the Linkedin group is languishing a bit with a total of 2 members. Probably because Facebook makes it easier for someone to find a group and join (just go to Facebook and do a search [...]
Barack Obama has come under fire by the Clinton’s for being able to speak well but offer little in the way of actual ideas or policies. Rush Limbaugh this week claimed that liberals hate George Bush because he lacks talent when it comes to public speaking. At first blush, the idea that a great leader [...]
Over the past few months since I read The 4-Hour Workweek I’ve been experimenting with bits and pieces of it. At Thanksgiving I took my laptop and left “headquarters” for two weeks. I got my work done while a four hour-drive away and none of my clients or employees noticed. But seeing as how it [...]
Rush Limbaugh didn’t say they lack leadership experience, he said none of them were showing any particular leadership at the moment, and that if one of them were to step up and show some true leadership then the Republican primaries would quickly become a foregone conclusion. But he didn’t say anything about what that leadership [...]
If you’re an entrepreneur or an aspiring entrepreneur, what kind of entrepreneur would you want to be, given the following three choices, and assuming your financial compensation would be the same regardless of your choice?
A wise man once said “He who is offended when offense is not intended, is a fool; he who is offended when offense is intended, is also a fool.” I’ve had a number of experiences with various “business leaders” who, although successful financially, seemed to have limited capacity to receive criticism constructively.
Since reading The 4-Hour Work Week, which to me is a decent manual on creating a personal results-oriented work environment, I’ve been trying to implement more and more of it in my life. During the Thanksgiving holiday I spent two weeks away from my home office with nothing more than my phone and laptop. Most [...]
Perhaps you’re as surprised as I am that CompUSA is going out of business, and perhaps, like me, you become less and less surprised the more you think about it. Here are some of the more obvious reasons: 1. Competition. Everything at CompUSA can be bought somewhere else, and probably for cheaper. Local computer stores, [...]
I’m writing an article for Connect Magazine on results-oriented workplaces or “results only work environments.” Have you had any experience with one, or have you seen examples of workplaces where a results-focused approach is sorely needed? Post your experiences and you might get quoted in the article.
Yeah, I got a loan to start my business. Not just one, either. Lots of them. Looking back it makes me wonder if having a good credit score is all it’s cracked up to be.
As I was saying, laundromatic.com is the second best domain I ever got a hold of, after mwi.com. Not that you, dear blog reader, would see it as I do, since you lack the glorious vision I have long held for what this domain name would become. Dare I share it? Promise not to steal [...]
I once owned radiohead.org. I sold it for $200 in 1999, thinking I had made a killing, seeing as how I had bought it just months before for $35. But alas, I was a fool.
Sadly, it’s often tempting as a business owner to try and do too many things. The thought process tends to go like this–Well, we’re good at this, and this, and this, and this, and we’re not so good at this but we can do it so we’ll tell people we do it, and we can [...]
I’m always looking for excuses to use the word “sundry” and this time it came as a result of an email from Kenny who asked me some questions regarding my previous posts on why SEO is a better business model than web development, why doing web hosting in-house was a nightmare, raising capital, and going [...]
Never has a book had more of an effect on me prior to reading it. Thanks Blake. It’s on hold in the library system, but there are 18 holds in front of me as of yesterday, so it might be a little while before I read it. But just the tidbits I’ve gathered here and [...]
I bank at Zions Bank. I know, I know, they’re a monster. But it’s easier to stick with them and put up with the hassle than to switch, and I think they know who keeps them in business. My most recent frustration with Zions has to do with what happens if you make a deposit [...]
Some of you have had the chance to sit down and talk with me about my recent transformation whereby I admit that up until recently I have been a blind idiot and now I’m just an idiot. Or something like that. Or to put it in Jack Handy’s words, I just figured out that “I’d [...]
Sure, you’ve heard it before “I used to be that way, but I’m different now.” But seriously, I’ve been through some life-changing events that started in December of ’06. Not the kind of life-changing events one normally thinks of, like getting cancer, losing a loved one, or being publicly humiliated on national TV, but life-changing [...]
I was invited to participate in the Entrepreneur Story 100 Profiles over at The Hundred Dollar Business, so here goes. I’m going to take the easy route and just answer the suggested questions. 1. What happened to make you start a business? It was a combination of experiences I had growing up and while in [...]
To be honest, over the past few years I’ve gotten a bit lazy. In fact, I’ve always been lazy. That might not make much sense to those of you who know me as the guy who has worked 60-80 hr work weeks for the past four years while not taking a paycheck, but trust me, [...]
The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs is the title of a Q&A session with Rakesh Khurana, author of a new book titled Searching for a Corporate Savior: The Irrational Quest for Charismatic CEOs. Had I the time I’d like the read the book, but I barely have time to read the article, but read it [...]
I got my hair cut at Great Clips a month ago. While there, I heard somebody talking about a “touch up” policy I had never heard about before that allowed a customer to come back within a limited time period and get things touched up for any reason. I thought the time period that was [...]
Rather than burying my thoughts in the comments of last week’s post on MWI’s 2006 financials I decided to create a new post because I think there are some things that may be of interest to other entrepreneurs. As I’ve had a chance to reflect on the MWI experience of 2006 there are a few [...]
Here’s why I will soon be switching from T Mobile to another cell phone service provider, any provider, after being with them since 1999. I just listened to my wife cry, unable to continue speaking to the T Mobile sales rep, after spending an hour trying to get her phone replaced. We have both been [...]
I’m a business owner with employees and maybe you are too. Now think about this with me. Do you care how much time your employees put in, or do you care what they get done? Unless you run a law firm or another service business that bills strictly by the hour, you probably lean towards [...]
I’m a fan of planned obsolescence when it comes to management. That is, I believe a goal of managers should be to make themselves unnecessary to the successful operation of their organizations. Not only can this be done by creating a structure that enables it, but by helping those who are managed to develop leadership [...]
My prediction is that Microsoft’s Zune mp3 player will absolutely fail to compete with the iPod. I attribute my reasoning from what I’ve learned by reading The Innovator’s Dilemma by Clayton M. Christensen as well as The Innovator’s Solution from the same author. The crux of the matter is that while the iPod was a [...]
Empathy. Definition: feeling of concern and understanding for another’s situation or feelings. Have you ever met someone who didn’t seem to understand who you were, how you felt, or what you were going through? Maybe you didn’t consciously think “Gee, this guy lacks empathy” but maybe you thought about it in other terms. Maybe you [...]
I’m starting a new section of this blog entitled “Leadership,” not because I’m an expert on leadership or a great leader, but because it is something I’m interested in learning more about, and if I have a section on my blog about it then chances are I’ll end up doing more research in order to [...]
I’m writing an article for Connect Magazine that explores the question of what is the ideal age at which someone should start a business and am looking for some quotes from other entrepreneurs.
I just read ‘Born’ or ‘made,’ entrepreneurs share key traits by Joseph Walker who has been affiliated with the Center for Entrepreneurship at BYU for the past ten years. As part of his article he shares a list of entrepreneurial traits he got from John G. Burch that I found at first elementary, but then [...]
Guy Kawasaki’s Top Ten Lies of Entrepreneurs isn’t just a blog post, it’s part of the curriculum he uses when teaching and training wannabe entrepreneurs. Several years ago I had the chance to attend an entrepreneur boot camp put on by Garage Technology Ventures, the venture capital firm of which Guy is the managing director. [...]
I’ve been an avid reader since I can remember. Even before I could read I would beg my mom to keep reading books to me at night while I was in bed. My parents read to me almost every night as I went to sleep and when I could read we would read together. I [...]
I know, I know, it sounds like the subject line of a spam email or a link leading you to a website that will open 10,000 popups and infect your machine with spyware so fast you’ll be lucky to get a click in before your computer is hosed. At best it sounds like a website [...]
I thought Jack Britain, Dean of the David Eccles College of Business at the University of Utah, made some good points about entrepreneurship in his presentation that was covered in Utah Business magazine. His main point? Don’t do it.
I’ve been wanting to write a post about this for some time, and after reading Lou Dobbs column Congress stiffs working Americans I now have enough motivation. For my part, I would be inclined to vote for politicians who would be willing to seriously consider abolishing the minimum wage entirely. My reasoning is that citizens [...]
In this article entitled Are Acquisitions Replacing IPOs? Tim Draper of famed venture capital firm Draper Fisher Jurvetson (whose logo would do well in a worst-logo-ever contest) makes a statement that expresses my frustration with the US government’s involvement in the business world. “Sarbanes-Oxley has been a disaster for all entrepreneurship. There is no way. [...]
I like failure. I like failures. I like letting my employees fail. Why? Because I want my business to succeed. I believe failure is one of the quickest and best ways to learn how to suceed. Those leaders who do not allow their followers to fail are micromanagers, and they rob their followers of opportunities [...]
Since I previously posted regarding the topic of health insurance and small businesses, I’ve gone through the process of getting quotes for a group plan for MWI. We discontinued our plan last year. My hope was that when we signed up again our rates would be lower because some of the employees who had made [...]
There’s getting robbed and then there’s getting robbed. The kind of “robbed” I’m talking about is the kind where people break into your office with screwdrivers and take off with some laptops and the projector from your conference room and you spend part of your busy morning talking to a cop. That’s the kind of [...]
I’ve had an interesting experience during the past 24 hours. I just found out that someone, we’ll call them Person A, who posted on this blog several months ago was not who they represented themselves to be. We’ll call the real person Person B. That is, Person A submitted comments on two postings pretending to [...]
I’ve been using Linkedin.com for some time now. You can view my profile at www.linkedin.com/in/joshuasteimle. I’ve used the system for keeping track of contacts, marketing my firm, finding service providers, and finding employees. Up until recently, I could do all of this easily for free, but since Linkedin.com has to make money somehow, they have [...]
What do you want to be when you grow up? Who do you want to be? Most healthy kids want to be an astronaut, fireman, or athlete. As kids get exposed to more things they might want to be an artist or an athelete. Some kids might be exposed to certain things at the right [...]
“Give it away” marketing is nothing new. Give people something of real value at no cost in order to develop credibility and/or a relationship, and then they’ll come to you when they’re ready to spend money. We do a little of that at MWI with our email newsletters, whitepapers on web development and such, and [...]
During the last year or so my cousin hired another web development firm to build him a site. Yeah, don’t you hate it when your friends and family buy something you sell from someone else because they don’t know what you do? “Oh, Uncle Frank owns a car dealership? I just thought he had a [...]
In case you haven’t heard, here’s the article. Media Play stores closing The question is why? I’m sure plenty of execs at Musicland (the parent company of Media Play) are asking themselves the same question but haven’t found an answer. I just happen to have the answer, and it’s because I don’t shop there.
Those who know me well know that I’m heavy into skateboarding and have been since 4th grade. I started a little retail skate shop business while in high school, and I’ve always wanted to get back into it but either lacked the time or funds. Finally I’ve been able to get my toe back in [...]
I just read a post by Alex Lawrence called Win-Win Is Not A Tired Buzzword – It Is An Important Business Concept . Almost a year ago I posted to this blog my top ten list of things I had learned by being an entrepreneur, and Alex’s comments reminded of what I had written down [...]
I’ve been running my own business for over five years now. That’s enough time to have a few lessons pounded into my head. When I see people making mistakes with their businesses or having bad luck, I don’t laugh at them and say “What an idiot” I think “Ha, I used to be there, I [...]
The Utah web design firm I run just picked up a new client called SpeedyCeus.com. They’re a small client. At the moment all we’re doing for them is a minimal amount of search engine optimization, helping them get ranked for some of their keywords like CEU’s, CEU online, nursing CEUs, CE online, etc.. What’s interesting [...]
A lot of people think they’ve got entrepreneurial experience. After all, they started or ran a business, and isn’t that what an entrepreneur is? Maybe, depending on your own definition. Well, here’s mine. These are not all necessarily descriptive of what I’m going through right now, and they are not all things I’m proud of [...]
Before writing this, I’ll make the disclaimer to my friends at VC firms and my other investor friends that I’m not necessarily writing specifically about you. I know many people at many firms and these observations are taken from six or seven years of experience. And I’m in no way saying that VCs are dumb, [...]
And in case anyone is interested what I’ve been up to lately and why I haven’t posted much here, it’s because I’ve been quite busy. MWI is in the process of acquiring two web development firms, and the acquisitions will probably about double MWI’s revenues and almost double the staff. In addition, MWI has simply [...]
If you’re reading this then you know at least something about blogging because you’re reading one. But what do you know about using a blog as a business tool? Well, you might be surprised if I told you people are really making money off of blogs in and of themselves. For myself, I get a [...]
This is just a quick note of frustration. I’m trying to start a retail business at the moment on the side from my day job at MWI and of course I need some display cases and a counter and such (the business will be a skateboard shop). Do you know how hard this stuff is [...]
There are many options for financing a startup business, but they generally fall into two main categories: debt and equity. Which is better for you depends on a number of factors.
I don’t feel like I’m boasting when I say that I am a master networker. At least I was. I have spent countless hours over the past six years networking around Utah. I’ve joined every networking group I could find. I’ve donated my time and have been in the leadership of some of them. Out [...]
Do you know what it means to be competent? It means you can get things done. That’s all. Do you know someone who gets things done? I’ll bet you know fewer people who get things done than you think you do.
When all is said and done, a lot of your money goes towards paying the government to do whatever it does for us. You pay income taxes, FICA, sales taxes, and hidden taxes everywhere, because every middle-man builds taxes into his cost as does every service provider. When you pay a lawyer he doesn’t charge [...]
Do nice guys finish last in business? What does it mean to be “nice”? When you’re running a business is it better to be a mean guy or a nice guy? Does being the nice guy sometimes mean you’re the mean guy in the end and vice versa? I’m fairly convinced that being a nice [...]
I didn’t come up with these, I got them from someone in school, but I can’t remember who. But they’ve been pretty useful. Actually that’s not true at all. They’ve been completely un-useful for me because I’ve been running my own business and haven’t applied for a job since I received these. But they seem [...]
By no means is this list inclusive, but if you don’t want to read 100 things I’ve learned then we better stop at 10. 1. Personality-wise, there are givers and there are takers. Know the difference, be a giver, and work with givers.
I’m currently writing a recommendation letter for a former employee who is applying to the Wharton MBA program at the University of Pennsylvania. One of the questions they ask is “How would you describe the applicant’s sense of humor (seriously)?” Yes, that is the question they ask–verbatim.
I have to admit that although I don’t watch much TV, and while I certainly don’t consider The Apprentice reality TV, I do find it mildly entertaining if I’m forced to watch it. What I have a hard time believing is that out of a million applicants these are the best people they could find. [...]
I recently sent an email to the founder and CEO of a large online retailer. His company had recently created a new brand and a new advertising campaign to match. In my humble opinion, the branding as well as the ad campaign were poorly conceived, and I sent an email to the CEO offering my [...]
I don’t think it’s just a Utah phenomenon, I think it has more to do with the mindset of many engineering types. The mindset is “a good product sells itself.” Reality is slightly different. Cases in point Novell vs. Microsoft, Betamax vs. VHS, and Apple vs. the PC. Two examples of situations where the better [...]