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Lessons on Leadership for the Young Entrepreneur


In a relatively short period of time, I believe I’ve accomplished a lot as a young entrepreneur, but leadership and employee management came later in my career (later being a relative term) and these are some of the lessons that both my leadership successes and failures have taught me.

 

- You Must Care to Lead and Not Project – I used to be all about myself. After all, I was the CEO, or so I thought. When younger, I was very difficult for employees to deal with because I could not understand why they did not want to work 19 hour days.

 

For me the search engines and reciting business theories of Jack Welch came easy, it was looking at my employees at individual people with needs, goals, strengths and weaknesses that gave me the insight to implement.

 

"ken sundheim, ken sundheim nyu, ken sundheim wasserman"

Pictured to the right, Ken Sundheim speaks to students at NYU ‘s Wasserman Center for Career Development as Entrepreneurship as a Career Choice

 

- To Lead, You Must Be Great – In the recruiting business, I’d like to think that I’ve worked hard enough to become the best I can be which is competitive and, from what I’ve taken in, employees must believe in your skills and theories to give into the belief that a good company can become great.

 

One thing I can promise to the young entrepreneur is that if you can’t self improve, you sure as heck can’t mold others.

 

- Positivity – When young, it was easy to not understand that I was the CEO of a company and not just a kid. I would get down on myself which lead to negativity in the office.

 

As of late, I’ve come to believe that positivity combined with thinking based on reality is a the way a leader should carry himself or herself.

 

In the End

 

Humans are an inexact science, but the more we can master dealing with others, the better we can lead and the better we can lead, the better we can become as young entrepreneurs. Ken Sundheim Google+

 
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How to Start a Business During a Recession


For me, it’s hard to think of it any other way. Nearly right after, I started my recruitment agency, I found myself in the midst of one of the worst recessions this country has ever seen. Though, after getting things going, bad job numbers and economic news that was nothing short of horrid became the norm and I survived.

 

So, how do you start a business during a recession? I don’t have all the answers, however here is how I did so included with some tips that any entrepreneur owning a cyclical business such as a recruiting agency should implement to heighten their odds of success.

 

1. Keep Costs Down – The best businesses can generate the most money with the least amount of expenses (employees, employee perks, lavish office space, etc.) When I first started my executive search firm, I associated lavish spending with success.

 

We all have our odd thoughts and the correlation between spending and business success was one of mine. Don’t make the mistake I did as it nearly put me under. Control your spending.

 

Enjoy the ups, but always prepare for the downs.

 

2. Broaden Your Target Market – When there is not much antelope to hunt, wild cats still do their best to ensure survival. Metaphorically speaking, make sure that you have contingency plans if your target market goes through some economic woes.

 

This also includes avoiding being reliant on a single client (regardless of size) for revenue generation. While you want to maintain expertise, during a poor recession, you may have to take the time to broaden that scope.

 

3. Be Flexible on Price, but Not Desperate – When you go to the negotiation table with clients, you may have to be flexible, but remember that once you price a potential client, you have to stick to that price for a long time and, sometimes work excessive hours for that money.

 

Don’t give away the farm simply out of fear of the economy. Be professional and explain why you charge what you do. If you come across with clarity and sincerity, your target market will typically pay your asking price or close to it.

 

In the End

 

Starting any business is difficult and takes a lot of dedication. Regardless of economy, I don’t see a reason why someone with this type of dedication and passion should not go on to be an entrepreneur.

 

Though, I must stress the words dedication and passion because during a bad economy, it takes that much more of both.

 

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3 Entrepreneurial Take-Aways From Running a Recruitment Agency


Starting any business from the ground-up is a very tedious, sometimes thankless job, but when done correctly, you have the freedom of self-employment. This is not to mention a sense of accomplishment that very few get to have in their lifetime.

 

When I started my sales and marketing recruiting firm, I knew very little about business and, looking back, I knew very little about life in general. Though, I learned what I needed to along the way.

 

Out of all of these entrepreneurial lessons, I would rank 3 with significant enough importance to share with you:

 

1. If You’re Not in the Game to be #1, You’re Not Going to Ever be Significant – Too many entrepreneurs go into their business thinking that they will carve out a niche within a niche to hide from the competition, though this mentality never seems to quite work.

 

When starting, think of yourself and your company as a football team. For any team to successfully march down the field and put points on the board, everything must be in sync and no piece is less important than the others.

 

Rather, all pieces are reliant on one another.

 

2. Know It’s Okay to be Afraid, Then Forget About it and Go About Your Work – Many younger entrepreneurs have too many fears or “what-if’s” upon going into business. I was no exception; to me entrepreneurship and running a staffing agency was fearful.

 

However, one day I realized that thinking about those “what-if’s” was very counterproductive and working to alleviate any loose ends my business had was much better use of my time.

 

3. Know That tt’s Never a Perfect Time – Many entrepreneurs get so used to the word “tomorrow” that their entire career passes them by without having ever opening the business that they set out to.

 

Entrepreneurship is like having a child of sorts – it’s expensive and it never comes at the perfect time…or so we think.

 

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement, an executive search firm helping sales, marketing and media job seekers throughout the United States in over 100 industries. Sundheim has been interviewed by Fox Business, spoken at NYU, Syracuse and many other universities regarding his experience running a recruiting firm.

 

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5 Considerations Prior to Becoming an Entrepreneur


 

Upon opening up my staffing agency, I did not factor in certain considerations that I recommend many entrepreneurs think about before opening a business.  I feel as if I got lucky.

 

As aspiring entrepreneurs, we never want to over think opening a business, but we never want to under think the important aspects that encompass successful business ownership.

 

Below, I’ve included five factors that every aspiring entrepreneur should consider upon going out on his or her own:

 

1.  Can You Go Without a Paycheck?  If you’re looking to open a business, you should plan to go without any revenue for at least 3 months if not more.

 

The longer you can go the better, plus the more reserves you have, the pickier you can be about what clients you take on.

 

2.  Are You Being Realistic About the Industry?  Prior to opening the business, ask yourself whether you like the industry, whether you are going to be able to break into it and whether you are going to be able to make the money you want.

 

3.  Do You Have a Marketing Plan? Marketing your company is one of the most important things you can do to obtain new business.  Prior to quitting your job, make sure that you determine what your marketing plan is and how it is going to translate into sales.

 

Think about how your service is going to be different and be creative.  To really be successful as an entrepreneur, you must stand out.

 

4. Are You Willing to Work the Necessary Hours?  Entrepreneurship takes a huge commitment and to get your business off the ground, you should expect 18-hour days.  Nothing great comes easy and entrepreneurship is no exception.

 

Prior to quitting your job, make sure that you are willing to work harder than you are now, as owning a business takes a lot of devotion.

 

5. Are You Becoming an Entrepreneur for the Right Reasons?  There are right and wrong reasons for becoming an entrepreneur and many people open a business for the wrong reasons, making success all the more difficult.

 

Remember that things such as not liking your boss or being bored at your job should not be the drivers for you opening your own business.  Rather, being passionate about an industry and having a good idea of how to market it should.

 

In the End

 

While there are many considerations the potential entrepreneur should think about prior to opening his/her own company, the above five should prove to be big differentiators as to whether it will or will not be a successful endeavor.

 

Ken Sundheim is the CEO of KAS Placement NYC, LA sales and marketing recruiters Chicago. Ken’s articles have appeared throughout major media ranging from Forbes to the NYTimes. Follow Sundheim on Twitter

 

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The Toughest Things I’ve Had To Do As An Entrepreneur


1. Look at my own faults rather than blaming others – I think it’s a lot easier for us to blame others when things don’t go the way we want rather than looking at ourselves and identifying what we can improve.

 

As an entrepreneur, I’ve come to learn that it is sometimes painful, yet always necessary to analyze situations from a neutral perspective, even if that assessment comes back with a verdict that it may be my fault.

 

It took some time, however I’ve come to the conclusion that we can only work on ourselves and cannot control the actions of others.  Trying to do the latter is simply counterproductive.

 

2. Not spend like a rockstar – I must say that I think many entrepreneurs are what I refer to as “media entrepreneurs,” meaning that due to heavy exposure in the media, people assume that they make a lot of money.

 

Moreover, I think that these young business professionals play into this assumption, which gives many youngsters an excuse to spend frivolously, as if it were the typical lifestyle of an entrepreneur.

 

Entrepreneurs need to consistently save money; you never know when there is going to be a down time.  Enjoy the ups and prepare for the downs is what I always say, even if I sometimes grit my teeth saying it.

 

3. Firing employees – I’ve had to fire my share of employees and it’s never pleasant.  The lower level they are, the harder it is despite behaviors that go against the success of the business.

 

I am one that thinks that there is good in all of us and possibly I didn’t adhere to the above #1…but who knows.  All I can tell you is that be careful whom you hire and do your best to be a fair and caring manager.

 

4. Breaking into the media – The media was very difficult to break into and it took me a great deal of time.

 

The best advice I can give to anyone is to start guest posting at reputable sites via contacting editors and, once your articles begin to catch on, go to the media sites and see if they’ll take a look.  Persistence, not nagging, is the key to the media.

 

5. Gaining the courage to become an entrepreneur – Starting my NY / LA executive search firm was probably the toughest thing I’ve had to do as an entrepreneur.  Going out on your own is a rush of nerves and doubt which eventually subsides.

 

Just know that those nerves and doubt are only for a short period of time and fear is a poor reason not to go out on your own.

 

In the End

 

Hopefully, throughout these experiences and explanations, there are some takeaways not just for aspiring business owners, but also businessmen and businesswomen looking to get further in their career via gaining more of an entrepreneurial mindset in their everyday work.

 

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The Career of a Young CEO


Being the young CEO of a recruitment company, I hold many jobs.  Some are exciting while others are more in the “have to do” category.  Below, I’ve listed just a few of those jobs as well as the expectations that a young CEO has.

 

1. Leadership and Management – This could be the hardest part for many young entrepreneurs as managing those your age or even close to your age can be a tricky proposition.

 

Running my executive search firm for some time now, it is in my opinion that people follow those who respect them and who possess industry knowledge sufficient for them to learn and the company to grow.

 

2. Sales and Marketing – Sales and marketing is important for any CEO to stay on top of and when it comes to young business leaders, this principal stands.

 

The young business owner must come to the realization that nobody knows and loves their company as much as they do and this passion can be heard by the customer loud and clear.

 

3. Company Vision – The best CEOs have a clear-cut vision for their company and stick to their guns until that vision is complete.

 

When starting any company, the young entrepreneur is at a disadvantage and it’s this relentless drive that grows the organization into a major player in the field.

 

The Overall Job

 

As a young entrepreneur growing a business, there is one contant amid all the variables: there is always something to do.

 

Therefore, I would say it’s safe to assume that you must love what you do as being the CEO of any firm, you are married to your job until that company gets off the ground.  In the end, believe in yourself, make sure to do all of your work and growth will happen.

 

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Philosophies from a Young Entrepreneur


 

As I grow older, yet still remain young in the business, world I continually carry certain entrepreneurial philosophies that I believe can benefit business owners both young and old. While these entrepreneurial philosophies may not help all, they should assist some in engaging in a thought process which can ultimately help their business.

 

1. We fear entrepreneurship because it’s what we do not know. Since many universities do not teach entrepreneurship and / or consider it a viable career option, many aspiring business owners don’t know enough regarding the top and, thus shy away from engaging in it because we always fear what we don’t know. Owning an executive search firm, I found it very hard to engage in my business at first simply because I didn’t know what to expect.

 

I now find this deterrent to be quite the opposite of productive.

 

2. As an entrepreneur, it is my philosophy that we must love the entrepreneurial venture we go into. When starting a business, expect to be around your new spouse as much as if not more than your current or “real life” partner.

 

Therefore, the same rule applies which goes something along the lines that if you marry for money, you somehow end up broke.

 

3. Failure should be the least of the hesitations when opening a business. We only get one time around on this planet and to sell our qualities and ambitions short simply because we fear something which may or may not even exist makes absolutely no sense and can almost guarantee the entrepreneur feelings of regret.

 

While I carry many more, these 4 should philosophies on entrepreneurship should help the aspiring business owner to begin to put important pieces of the puzzles together which took me a very long time to do.

 

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