On this episode of the Tandem Talks Podcast, Carrie and Craig talk to Laurie Barkman, CEO and founder of SmallDotBig LLC, a firm that specializes in helping companies and business owners through the complex process of exit transition planning, value creation, and M&A strategies for succession and growth. Laurie talks about her long journey into the business world, where she spent a lot of time wading through self discovery and learning the ropes before finding her niche as an entrepreneur. She walks us through the 8 types of entrepreneurship, to the three archetypes of business owners. Laurie also shows us that there is more than one way to get into running a business, but the best way of learning is to just go and do it.
Laurie: "If someone wants to own a business or do they want to be a business owner, I think that's where the conversation could start. What's the difference between the two? Well, one might look at it as a lifestyle. I want to have my own business, I want to be a business owner because ultimately, it's gonna give me the lifestyle that I want to live."
Laurie: "Freedom fighters, they too really value control. All three archetypes do. But the freedom fighter most of all, is the one who probably will say I am a business owner, and they will probably own that business for 20 years or longer."
Laurie: "In my story, I thought I couldn't be an entrepreneur because I didn't have the big idea. And as I have been in business so many years now, looking back 25+ years later, here I am saying I'm an entrepreneur. Well, how so? I think there are others who explore other paths. Another big path are people who are buying companies. They are acquiring businesses. They're getting an SBA loan from the government, or they're getting a loan from friends and family."
Laurie: "For people who are really interested in exploring other options and think starting your own thing from scratch is the way to get there, I'll say to them, 'hey think again.' The other thing I would say about this notion of I can't start a business unless it's new and you know this crazy technology, I'd say, 'let's think about that, let's unpack that' and point to all kinds of examples of the type of entrepreneur that we call an Imitator. It's not negative, it's just a descriptor."
Laurie: "The number one thing is to be clear about who you are, why you're doing what you're doing, and who are you doing it for."
Laurie: "For an entrepreneur starting from scratch, what do we need to do? What is step one? Well with the students, we say, do competitive research in this space. Understand the ocean you're swimming in, the lake, the pond, the puddle, where are you stepping in, where are you swimming in."
Craig: "Go do something, go learn. Because I say the best way to learn about business is to run one. Not like theorize, like do the canvas but don't do the canvas for six years. Do the canvas, take your time, like build it out nice, but then go learn and make the micro adjustments that we're talking about."
Laurie: "I think that's the other side to really know from the economics in your household what do you really need to be doing because you may not truly be ready from a budget standpoint to go all in. So this test and learn, side hustle is a great way to fare that out and see if one, you would enjoy it and two, if you're seeing the market demand that you need."
You can find out more about Laurie in the links below:
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