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As many of you know from my previous posts, I often comment on Adam Bryant’s pieces in the New York Sunday Times column, The Corner Office.
I read the column weekly because I am fascinated by what drives business owners to become CEO’s, how and when and why did they become a CEO, what are their opinions, what are their management styles, how do they think, how and why and what types of people do they hire, and what are the trends they follow.

I was particularly intrigued with the headline of this piece about Tien Tzuo, founder and chief executive of Zuora, a software company for subscription businesses which was, “Don’t Expect Me to Manage You.

Obviously, every CEO has a different style and approach. Mr. Tzuo prefers being a leader, not a manager, and expects his employees to manage him. He says, ‘Don’t expect me to manage you. You have to manage me.”
And, he doesn’t do performance reviews. “What I found was the one-on-ones just became this laundry list of issues. And I want most of the issues exposed in a team environment, because most of these things have to be worked out in a group setting.”
He believes that if his team members want feedback, they have to ask for it, and then he’ll give them as much as they ask for!

I have to say I find Mr. Tzuo’s approach fascinating, and I’m not sure his leadership and management style is for me, nor can I, nor do I recommend that approach to my clients. I believe that a CEO must lead by example, and I also believe that the CEO needs to seek out his team members as much as they need to seek him or her out. Leadership and/or management is not a one way street.
I am always interested in what my readers think . What kind of CEO are you? What kind of CEO do you want to become? What kind of CEO do you want to work for? Please forward me your comments.

The other day I came across one of my favorite newsletters from The Stanford Business Graduate School, and in particular the subject line “Do Funders Care More About Your Team, Your Idea, or Your Passion?” intrigued me to read on.

In a study co-authored by Stanford finance professor Ilya A. Strebulaev, “How Do Venture Capitalists Make Decisions?” The findings seem to indicate that Venture Capitalists who are considering investing in entrepreneurial ventures, are most interested in entrepreneurs who are passionate, capable, experienced, and part of a strong team.

The survey included 885 Venture Capital professionals at 681 firms, and asked the VCs to identify the factors that drove their investment selection decisions and ranked them according to importance. The abilities of a founder and his/her management team are the most important factors driving investment decisions, and even more important than the product or technology itself.

The average investor evaluates 200 companies a year and invests in just four. Each deal takes an average of 83 days to put together, which includes 118 hours of due diligence and Strebulaev says that “Venture Capitalists gauge an entrepreneur’s passion level by their commitment of time, effort, and money to their idea. “

The study was structured in a way that enabled researchers to better understand how different types of venture capital investors approach their decisions. They found that information technology investors tend to be interested in an entrepreneur’s management team, while health sector investors are more interested in products and market forces.

If indeed you have the time, I strongly recommend downloading the complete study HERE.

As usual, please email me your thoughts and comments. I guarantee you a response!

During the months of December 2016 and January 2017, I had the opportunity to present  “REFLECTIONS FOR THIS PAST YEAR AND OUTLOOK FOR THE COMING NEW YEAR” to over 100 people in 13 different networking groups.

In the workshop we asked each other what were our professional accomplishments as well as our professional disappointments in the prior year.

We also asked one another to reflect on the one thing to stop doing, and the one thing to start doing in the coming year to become a more effective leader in each of our own companies.

Lastly, we asked ourselves to list our three Professional Performance Objectives and Milestones for the coming year with our anticipated Specific Outcomes and Results with the Dates to be Completed by.

The ultimate goal of this interactive workshop was to create a “roadmap/top down business plan” which each individual could review as they saw fit, in order to make the new year as successful as it could possibly be.

On a personal level, it was a great learning opportunity for me, and I truly appreciated everyone’s candor, honesty and willingness to share their experiences in a group setting.

I also wanted to thank Dave Bresler, Steve Percudani, Paul Berkman, Matt Plociak and the NYC Creative Masterminds Group for enabling these workshops to take place in so many different settings.

Please visit Reflections and Outlook and feel free to download the document, and use it with your colleagues and/or employees. It’s still not too late to complete your own 2017 Roadmap for Success!

As always, I look forward to your comments and feedback

Shreya Gupta


I was perusing through the Sunday NY Times, Business section a few weeks ago and I was intrigued with the headline, “At Work, Focus on the Fun”.

(Read full article here)

Reading past the headline, I once again read the statistic from a recent Gallup poll that two of three working Americans do not feel engaged at work.

Actually, I can relate to that statistic as I experienced that for a considerable period of my early work experience. And then something happened – I started my own Company with a partner, and my life and my work was never the same again.

What was it that made the difference? I think it was that I found what I did was not only challenging, but also incredibly interesting, and inevitably fun.

So what is fun at work? In my opinion, it is believing that what you do does make a difference, and that being fully engaged in the process of whatever you do does matter, and seeing the impact of your efforts, despite everything that can and does get in the way, can indeed be the difference of having fun at work.

The article makes some interesting points on how to make work fun:

  • Making friends and establishing comradery with coworkers
  • Breaking the routine
  • Shifting one’s mindset to focus on the positives of one’s jobs instead of the negatives
  • Making one’s goal the process of doing the job and completing all the necessary tasks

Most importantly, I agree with the statement in this article, “…that people feel energized when the process of doing something becomes the goal of doing it”. For me, I found this very satisfying and inevitably have made work more fun for me.

Once again, Veronica Rao was helpful in my gathering my thoughts to write this piece. And, as always, I do appreciate your comments and feedback.


As you probably know by now having read my posts in the past, I am fascinated about how business people become CEO’s, and what they must focus on if they are to succeed at doing their job.

The other day, I was reading Adam Bryant’s Corner Office column in the New York Times, (read article here) and I really resonated with Blake Irving’s (CEO of GoDaddy) comment that “…when you’re the C.E.O., you get to set a tone from your seat that’s different than if you’re working within an organization. That ability — to actually shape the culture, talk about the things we’re going to do, how we’re going to treat each other, what we want our values to be — is different. I didn’t realize it until I was in the seat.”

Creating a culture that motivates, and inspires people to drive the business forward may be equally critical to driving revenue if the CEO is going to be successful in increasing the value of the business, which should be the goal of every CEO.

As always, I look forward to receiving your thoughts and comments.


Check out my article “Growth Means Turning an Entrepreneur Into a CEO”  alongside dozens of other expert contributors in Recalculating 97+ Experts on Driving Small Business Growth.  We were each asked to write special 1000-word contributions for the book based on our expertise.  Topics covered are: Leadership, Finance, Marketing and Sales, Human Capital, Operations and Technology.

You can purchase the book on Amazon in either Paperback or the Kindle edition HERE.

As I have often said in my talks, and as I conclude in my article, ” In my experience with hundreds of clients, I’ve found that whether one chooses or not to grow the business, the principles of systematizing, being deterministic, and increasing value for the business still hold true for any business, and becoming a CEO may not be a choice after all.”

I look forward to hearing your thoughts.



The other day, I received a copy of Advertising Age’s 2016 Mobile Fact Pack.

Quite frankly, I wasn’t surprised about some of the stats they described, and if you like, you can request the complete report if you go to this link: Full Report

  • Did you know that there are 2.1 billion of us who own a smartphone in 2016?
  • Did you know that $40.1 billion is projected for U.S. mobile ad spending in 2018, and that mobile is projected to make up 53% of all internet ad spending in 2018?
  • And did you know that 18 to 24 year olds spend more than 90hours a month using smartphone apps?

There is no escaping that the mobile world is not only here to stay, but is overtaking every other traditional form of communication. Marketing and advertising and sales are changing as fast as I can write and publish this blog entry. If you’re a marketer and want to stay in business, you better get on board and ride with the change – it’s now!


As many of you may realize having read my posts, I enjoy being a student of both the art and science of sales.

When I read this piece in the weekly missives I receive from the Sales Benchmark Index (SBI), I was very intrigued with their position that technology does not actually diminish the demand for sales professionals. (Read Full Article Here)

Interestingly enough, SBI surveyed the top 100 firms that collectively embrace technology adoption to drive sales productivity, and determined that these firms increased the size of their B2B sales forces right along with their total employee population. SBI’s survey data show that despite perceptions that technology adoption lowers sales headcount, the facts show the opposite. Their conclusion is that technology advances only amplify the need for sales talent to drive results.

Quite frankly, I totally agree with that position. In my experience having led a technology company for 15 years, and having worked with a number of managed services and software as a service firms even more recently, I am more and more convinced how absolutely necessary it is for salespeople to be involved in the sales process of presenting technology solutions to prospects and clients.

I urge you to download SBI’s How to Make Your Number in 2017. When you do, review the section on Sales Strategy (pages 285 to 293) and let me know what you think. I look forward to responding to your comments.



For many years, I have been an avid reader of the Corner Office column that appears every Sunday in the NY Times. I almost always find the interviews inspiring, and many times I imagine what I might say if I were being interviewed and asked questions such as: “What was it like growing up? Who were your role models? What would you say to someone just starting out in their career? What are you looking for when you hire someone?”

In this particular column (read full article), I was most struck by the headline that “A Good Entrepreneur is Never Happy”, and I realized that was so true about me!

As I recall for myself, being an entrepreneur was not my goal – not working for the “man” any longer was why I started my own company.  Once I tasted success, even though I thought I might be happy, I wasn’t. I was bored by the status quo, and I wanted to continue to test myself and grow my company even larger.

As I was growing up and all through school and even graduate school, I never really thought about being an entrepreneur.  But, I have always been curious, I have always wanted to learn something new every single day, and since I am comfortable with taking both personal and business risks (fortunately I have a wife and business partners who have let me do that), I guess I do qualify as a bonafide entrepreneur!

I recommend you read this particular column, and let me know what you think. As always I welcome your feedback.


Jon Reinfurt

As many of you know, I often talk about small business owners becoming CEO’s, so I was quite intrigued when I saw this article in last week’s Sunday New York Times Business Section (read full article here) focused on what it takes for a young person starting his or her career to eventually become a CEO in the corporate arena. In particular, I wanted to see if the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the corporate world was all that different than the long and winding road to the CEO’s job in the world of small business.

No one doubts that hard work, brains, leadership ability and luck are key factors for climbing the corporate ladder, but new evidence shows having experience in as many business’s functional areas as possible and building relationships within an industry may now be just as important.

Data from a new study by LinkedIn of almost a half million onetime management consultants showed that experience in one additional functional area improved a person’s odds of becoming a senior executive as much as three years of extra experience. Burning Glass, a firm that scours millions of job listings to determine labor market trends, found a surge in demand for hybrid jobs, that incorporate expertise in different fields such as both technology and finance.

If as as Guy Berger, an economist at LinkedIn says that to be a C.E.O. or other top executive, “You need to understand how the different parts of a company work and how they interact with each other and understand how other people do their job”, then indeed the same is just as true for a small business owner who wants to become a CEO. There really is no difference!

I urge you to read the full article and let me know what you think.