Should You Fire Yourself?
Each day, Inc.'s reporters scour the Web for the most important and interesting news to entrepreneurs. Here's what we found today:
Replace yourself in 2011. What happens when the business you've grown becomes too big for you to handle? The New York Times tackles that question in an article today that explores the difficult choice many entrepreneurs must make when the company they've grown from the ground up comes to a point where it requires someone with more experience and leadership skills. "Turning over your company to a successor is not to be taken lightly," the article says. "But in some instances replacing yourself at the helm makes sense." Matt Dorey, founder of Curve Dental, asked a new CEO to replace him; a necessary—but not easy decision. "I was starting to become conscious of what I didn't know," he said. "It was almost a feeling of loneliness."
Behind Goldman's colossal Facebook boost. With a fresh cash infusion of $450 million from investors at Goldman Sacks and Digital Sky Technologies, what's next for Facebook? Maybe another $1.5 billion, if Goldman Sachs suceeds in setting up a "special purpose vehicle allowing some of its clients to invest indirectly in Facebook, Mashable reports. Fast Company says the massive infusion gives Facebook the same powers as a publicly-traded company, only without the "pesky oversight of the public." The New York Post focuses on the lofty $50 billion valuation that accompanied the deal, saying it "should have investors tripping over each other for a piece of the red-hot tech company when it sells shares to the public, expected some time next year."
How can you boost international sales? That's what a reader asked the Los Angeles Times. Simple: Get a foreign distributor. "Finding a good local partner in the country you're targeting will help you understand business and legal details you would have tripped over," said Kathleen Brush, an international business consultant based in Seattle
BitTorrent's remarkable growth. If you think Netflix is a force to be reckoned with, you clearly haven't been keeping an eye on BitTorrent. Fast Company reports that the pirated media giant now has more than more users than Netflix and Hulu combined, according to stats supplied by BitTorrent at the Consumer Electronics Show. The question is, will these numbers add to BitTorrent's legitimacy?
Mobile payments on the horizon. Developed by who else, but Google? The new service, called near-field communication (NFC) technology, allows users to buy products by tapping or waving their mobile phones at the register, according to BusinessWeek. Google CEO Eric Schmidt said in November that the high-tech chips will "replace credit cards," holding a consumer's financial account information, gift cards, store loyally cards, and coupon subscriptions. So far, Google has thrown dollars at two start-ups specializing in mobile payment solutions and has begun testing on businesses in Portland, Oregon. Yet it is only one of a number of companies vying for the NFC market, including Visa and several wireless phone service providers.
Seth Godin believes in fairies—meeting fairies. Are you wasting precious time on unproductive meetings? Linchpin author Seth Godin has a solution: spend more money on them. Godin proposes hiring a person whose expressed purpose is to keep meetings short, efficient, and effective. This employee—dubbed a "meeting fairy" by Godin—would ensure that: only the right people attend meetings; meetings start on time and last until their logical conclusion; each meeting has a clearly defined purpose; and guests are given proper directions, welcomed appropriately, and provided with biographies of other participants. He or she would also manage the flow of information, including PowerPoint presentations, and issue a follow-up memo to all attendees. "If you do all this, every time you call a meeting it's going to cost more to organize," Godin writes. "Which means you'll call fewer meetings, those meetings will be shorter and more efficient."
Why young entrepreneurs fail. Are you young and enterprising? Get ready to crash and burn. Every entrepreneur will fail at some point, says start-up investor Alex Taussig. But those under 30 tend to fail in ways that are "wholly unnecessary," he writes in Fortune, ratting off a list of "15 mistakes young entrepreneurs make but don't have to." Among the youthful foibles: being trapped in the "college bubble," paying for things that could be free, making up stuff instead of saying "I don't know," and not telling a good story.
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