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Why Serial Entrepreneurship Matters (And Why You Want It On Your Side)

This month's Inc 500 release was a great reminder that entrepreneurship is a major growth driver in today's reemerging US economy.

Why Serial Entrepreneurship Matters (And Why You Want It On Your Side)

Posted Friday September 12th, 2014 by in Analysis + Strategy.

This month’s Inc 500 release was a great reminder that entrepreneurship is a major growth driver in today’s reemerging US economy.

This year’s class, led by Fuhu (maker of children’s tablets) for the second year in a row, was a great cross-section of industries. However, unsurprisingly, the nature of the entrepreneurs themselves wasn’t nearly as diverse. It turns out that the characteristics that make a great leader are similar across the board.

Inc made a point throughout this issue to point out that successful entrepreneurs are adept at balancing both risk and reward. As a group, they are not a wild band of haphazard risk-takers; rather, they believe in calculated confidence, meaningful relationships, and providing value to their customers and the community.

GEM is led by its own serial entrepreneur, CEO Chris Bartlett. Chris has founded four companies in total, all of which are still thriving today. His 20-year journey has taken vision, passion, exceptional decision-making, a keen understanding of people and relationships, and a brilliant eye for analyzing market conditions and creating value.

Here are a few Q+A’s from Chris, to those looking to blaze their own business trail:

GEM:What made you start your first company?

CB:Initially it was a knee-jerk rebellion against the way I felt like a head of cattle, stuck working in a corporate climate that didn’t value their highly skilled talent. I vowed I would begin a place for people to work where individuality and integrity were highly regarded and valued as vital to the organization.

In my first business, I saw an under-served need in a high-spend industry where the majority of customers remain a participant for most of their lives. My core service offering happened to be one of the most crucial and reoccurring services in the industry, hence I would have the opportunity to have my paying audience in front of me with great repeating regularity, giving me the chance to sell them other products and services. Originally, my mindset was much more of an industry expert helping people get the service they needed in an easy and convenient, user-friendly way.

GEM:What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned, four companies later?

CB:I have learned that the functions of all/any type of business are the same in terms of the underpinnings of admin; legal, finance, accounting, insurance, documentation, need for processes, systems, and great talent to represent the brand/company.

The most surprising thing is the personal growth and change in perspective that evolves with growing companies. Knowing now, that I am to work “on my companies” and not in the daily ops, allows me to forge ahead with more time devoted to developing partnerships and other relationships that propel and accelerate growth at a much faster rate.

Also, understanding that building the most great relationships you can, ones with similar and shared values and integrity, is the key to building both great teams and a strong, reliable client base.

GEM:What advice would you give potential entrepreneurs?

CB:The choice or calling to be entrepreneurial is more about a choice of lifestyle than about working somewhere or choosing a career. One must be wildly passionate about being constantly challenged in all aspects of personal and professional development. Entrepreneurs are pioneers. They are explorers who live for the breakthroughs. They are visionary people who feel like they know better, because they see what most people see, but differently.

You will work an indescribable schedule with demands coming in from a myriad of unexpected angles.

It is extremely challenging. Highly rewarding. You have to love it. Just the idea of it… or forget about it and get a job.

GEM:How important is entrepreneurship to the local, national and global economy?

CB:Entrepreneurs are the bedrock of economics on all scales. Entrepreneurship is crucial to growth and development on multiple levels. It is the underpinning for new categories from which new products, services, technologies and new jobs emerge. It is the foundation from which every global brand once stemmed. Corporations are the grown-up adult versions of companies born in the spirit of entrepreneurship, betterment, dreams, hope, promise, and the opportunity for realized change through the introduction of new things that advance us as people, as a community, as a society, and as integrated economies.

At GEM, we think it matters that the brands we work with can lean on a veteran entrepreneur for his experience and perspective. If you’re looking for perspective on your brand, we’re ready to bring the entrepreneurial spirit!


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