At our last Professional Consultant's Association meeting, we had a presentation by Terry Brown, Executive Director of the Falcone Center for Entrepreneurship at Syracuse University's Whitman School of Management. In his role he also works with the South Side Innovation Center and WISE Center.
He started out by telling us about his experiences of being a consultant for an engineering company. They had many challenges but lived by the "can do" model, thinking outside of the box on many ventures that made him and his company successful. He told us that story while leading into the first part of his presentation which covered the subject of innovating or creating new combinations of resources, pursuing opportunities, acquiring or bringing together resources, risk-taking, profit-seeking and value creation. This was a credo he & his company lived by, and it incorporated all of these conditions.
The one that challenged most of us was the risk-taking idea. He talked about a project where his company put in a bid much lower than all other companies had. When asked about it, he said that his company intended to invent a machine that could do the work at a much lower cost than what everyone else was proposing to do. They got that contract... without having invented the machine. Yet they invented the machine, it worked as it was supposed to, and his company made a lot of money off the deal.
He next talked about the characteristics of entrepreneurs, and in his opinion all true entrepreneurs exhibit the following:
* Drive to achieve
* Calculated risk taking
* Tolerance for ambiguity
* Self confidence
* Tolerance for failure
* High energy level
* Creativity and innovation
* Integrity and reliability
His ideal says entrepreneurs should always begin with the end in mind, your company, you personally and the clients you work with. This part garnered a lot of discussion because, with a group of consultants like ours, each of us has different experiences in working with clients, especially those who don't follow up on the advice we give thm and those who aren't sure how to value our worth.
Finally, he talked about the need to have a "dream team" of professional support, folks who can handle the important things for you so you don't have to, as well as the need to figure out how to differentiate your services and what you have to offer from everyone else. One important thing he said in this regard is that all of us need to be ready to reinvent ourselves and our business when necessary. In other words, we shouldn't always be defined by what we think we are and do but what the market might need from us.
It was a very good program from someone who's been there and is now passing his knowledge on to those who are ready to take over the world. Hopefully some of our own members picker up enough tips to be a part of the takeover.