The #1 Piece of Business Knowledge Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew – Part 4

February 27, 2009 at 3:05 pm 8 comments

yef-logoThis is the fourth part of a series fueled by a single question asked to successful entrepreneurs:

“What is the #1 piece of business information you wish you had known when you were younger?”

Today’s answer: That I knew more than I thought I did, or I could figure it out.

Today’s post is inspired by a talk given by Michael Chasen, CEO of Blackboard, to EO members in Washington, DC. Chasen started Blackboard in his early twenties with one of his closest friends.  They worked at KPMG and took a big leap into entrepreneurship. Now at the helm of Blackboard – the  large publicly traded company – Chasen discussed the various stages and growing pains of himself as leader.  He recalled conversations with his board in which they would suggest bringing in someone with more experience.  First, it was experience with growing a multi-million dollar company.  Next, it was experience with running a publicly traded company.  A humble entrepreneur from the beginning, Chasen always agreedwith the board. He wanted what was best for the company. However, after some test runs with other executives, it would always come back to Chasen.   Chasen shows us all that, despite what others may think of us – and what we may think of ourselves – that we can rise to the occasion.  Let’s not be too idealistic, however.  Chasen produces results, which is why he has his job. He continues to live by the public company CEO bumper sticker: “3 bad quarters and you’re out.”

Suggested readings and discussion questions for the classroom to the boardroom:“Wish you knew” Module #4.

1. Describe a situation in which you should have had more confidence, but didn’t. What was the result.

2. Describe 3 situations in which you’ve successfully led something. What new information or skills were you forced to learn. How did you do it?

3.  Would you like to run a publically traded company? Why or why not. Research stories about CEO’s transition from a privately-held to a publically-held company.

4. What does it mean “3 bad quarters and you’re out?” Look up financial records of ousted public company CEOs. Did they have 3 bad quarters?

For follow-up learning points about entrepreneurship, see the free EITC curriculum (registration required).

Tip: Also see the EITC “Entrepreneur in a Day” curriculum and alternative exercises for another on-ramp to entrepreneurship.

Part 1 in this series

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

More information

Know a Young Entrepreneur? Nominate them here.

The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation is a 501(c)(3) organization promoting the importance of small business and free enterprise to the nation’s youth. More information is available at The Foundation is associated with the National Federation of Independent Business; NFIB is the nation’s leading small business association, with offices in Washington, D.C. and all 50 state capitals.

Entrepreneur In The Classroom. The NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom (EITC) supplemental curriculum exposes students to entrepreneurship and the necessary steps to take an idea and turn it into a business. The free curriculum can be integrated into classes teaching a variety of subjects including music, art, fashion, business and many more. You must be registered to view the full Entrepreneur-in-the-Classroom curriculum.

Related links:

Follow NFIB Young Entrepreneur Foundation on Twitter

Follow NFIB on Twitter

Follow blog author Kathy Korman Frey on Twitter


Entry filed under: Business exercises, Entrepreneur, Young Entrepreneur. Tags: , , , .

The #1 Piece of Business Knowledge Entrepreneurs Wish They Knew – Part 3 Top 5 Business Educational Tools – Topic: Marketing

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