Now Is Never Too Early For An Entrepreneur

“The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is right now.”
Chinese Proverb, borrowed from Scott Dinsmore’s Reading For Your Success

Mission Linen Supply In the 1930’s, when Max Fleischmann (of yeast fame) brought his yacht into the Santa Barbara harbor, the local laundry trucks did the sensible thing. They lined up on the dock and patiently waited for the ship to arrive so they could get their “share” of its dirty laundry. This approach made sense to everyone; everyone except a young man named George Page, founder of Mission Linen.

Rather than wait, Mr. Page jumped in a rowboat and met the yacht before it entered the harbor. The surprised Capitan, no doubt impressed by the young man’s drive, invited Mr. Page on board. By the time the yacht anchored, Mr. Page had closed a deal which gave Mission Linen the exclusive right to clean all of the ship’s laundry, thereby shutting out all the trucks waiting at the dock.

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Actions You Can Take Today to Successfully Start…Anything

I was inspired to write this entry after reading Scott Dinsmore’s 11 Quick Actions article.

The following list is from Scott’s entry. He provides annotation for each item, as well as a very inspirational story related to a recent fishing trip he took in South America. If you have not yet read it, take a quick moment, it is worth it.

11 Ways to Start Really Small

1. Make a tiny list of tiny things
2. Talk to someone who’s done it (find a model)
3. Read something about it
4. Make it fun
5. Write about it
6. Buy a domain name
7. List out your reasons why it’s so important to you
8. Find your support
9. Send a note to your boss 
10. Help someone
11. Put a price on it
Source: Scott Dinsmore’s Reading For Your Success

Scott’s article struck a chord with me, as a number of my entrepreneur studies students from UC Santa Barbara have reached out to me in the past few days looking for jobs after they graduate. I appreciate students who seek help, but those who wait until two weeks before graduation make it difficult for me to give them a strong recommendation. It also brings into question the degree to which they are suited for work at a startup.

As noted in Do Not Seek Your Fortune, Create It, successful entrepreneurs do not wait for someone to shout, “Go!” They know there is no starting gun that will alert them as to when they should start running. When I was an undergraduate, I secured my post-graduation job in the fall, even though I was not scheduled to graduate until the following spring.

Like George Page, it seemed natural to seek out a suitable employer early, even though many of my fellow classmates were essentially waiting on the dock for the ship to arrive. Use Scott’s article as inspiration and start pursuing something you are passionate about before your head hits the pillow tonight. Do not wait, start now.

John Greathouse is a Partner at Rincon Venture Partners, a venture capital firm investing in early stage, web-based businesses. Previously, John co-founded RevUpNet, a performance-based online marketing agency sold to Coull. During the prior twenty years, he held senior executive positions with several successful startups, spearheading transactions that generated more than $350 million of shareholder value, including an IPO and a multi-hundred-million-dollar acquisition.

John is a CPA and holds an M.B.A. from the Wharton School. He is a member of the University of California at Santa Barbara's Faculty where he teaches several entrepreneurial courses.

Note: All of my advice in this blog is that of a layman. I am not a lawyer and I never played one on TV. You should always assess the veracity of any third-party advice that might have far-reaching implications (be it legal, accounting, personnel, tax or otherwise) with your trusted professional of choice.

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