Last night was the BRAC Shareholders Meeting and the keynote speaker was John Elstrott, chairman of the board of Whole Foods Market, active entrepreneur, head of Tulane’s entrepreneurship institute, and former CFO of Celestial Seasonings. He shared with us some of what he has learned from 40 years of entrepreneurship.
Here is just a bit of that wisdom:
- A team of between two and four founders enhances the likelihood of success because each person brings different experiences, skill sets, and a larger network from which to raise capital.
- Regarding sources of capital – make sure they share your values and purpose, risk tolerance, and time frame.
- Use both facts and intuition to make decisions. Gather timely and accurate financial info and also customer, market, and competitive intelligence. Then step back and consider it intuitively.
- Never pass up an opportunity to help others or do someone a favor. Karma happens.
- Always stay flexible, decisive, and swift. Resist bureaucracy as you grow.
- Choosing partners and new hires are the most important decisions. Make sure the people you choose share your values, purpose, mission, and vision.
- Every business will hit a wall and be forced to dig deep. Frugality is essential to success. Know your numbers, pick up pennies but at the same time maintain an attitude of abundance. Also, be generous with your stakeholders.
- Vision is what you hope to evolve into over time and should “embrace the heroic”.
- Honor those who help you.
- Celebrate along the way.
It was a fantastic evening! So exciting to be part of a thriving and engaged business community.
What have you learned as an entrepreneur? Share your thoughts in the comments.