Allan Tepper, co-founder of CFO Consulting Partners LLC, spoke on entrepreneurship at the March 21, 2012 NYC Professional Development Session of Financial Executives International. The topic, “Exploring Entrepreneurship as an Option,” was discussed by a panel of entrepreneurial executives that included Mr. Tepper. Below, Mr. Tepper provided a few suggestions on becoming a successful entrepreneur:
- It is best to begin a consulting venture with a partner. Over time, add people. This approach should smooth the revenue stream highs and lows. Picking the right partner and staff, both in terms of personal fit and skill set, are essential.
- Start a business with an expertise that you know very well to increase your chance of success.
- Businesses evolve over time, so remain flexible and listen to your clients.
- Partners and staff must be intensely focused on marketing the firm’s expertise and service culture. Unfortunately, it seems, many financial consulting firms are not sufficiently focused on marketing to succeed in the very competitive financial consulting space.
- Over time, start to focus on one or more industries and by type of service, such as M&A.
- When hiring, look for people who are very driven and know how to network.
- As a consultant, you are very valuable after 25 or more years of experience. This may be good news to many of our readers interested in entrepreneurial consulting ventures.
- Know how much capital you have for staying power before you start the business.
- Be prepared for economic downturns and be flexible to change your business model should that happen.