We came across a study by Inc. magazine from a recent research by Gallup that describes how Inc. 500 CEO’s got their start and how they run their businesses along with demographics and the make-up of these leaders. So if you have good business ideas and want to know how the top CEO’s made it there, we encourage you to read on.
Knowing some of these factors can shed light on how other business owners or aspiring start-ups can learn from where these CEO’s came from and who they are.
How did they start their businesses?
Starting a business can be done in a variety of ways. These CEO’s mostly were company founders yet 36% said they were part of a co-founding team. In fact, most CEO’s were not really starting their first business and a good portion were developing their 2nd or 3rd business already.
What was apparent was their choice of who to partner with.
The larger part of the study chose a close friend over a family member to open a business and, in fact, 68% said their entire founding team is still intact from the start of their business.
The kinds of businesses represented in the research were diversified.
A large portion were companies that took existing products or services and made them better where only a few, 32% in fact, developed a new product or service.
What experiences have they had running a business?
I often wonder where business people come from. Steve Jobs was a drop-out while other busines owners came from ivy league colleges such as Yale or MIT. This research shed some light on this as most of these CEO’s were in fact college educated and came from families of non-business ownership.
42% of these CEO’s were 20-29 years old when they started their companies and highly recommend that others who want to start their own business get a college education or at the very least a business school education.
Inc. 500 CEO’s said they chose to be a business owner because it matched their skills and abilities including traits with a higher than average level of determination, work ethic, and willingness to take on new challenges.
Where do they get their support?
Opening doors is much more than planning, it takes money. Surprisingly, 71% of these businesses were funded by personal savings. In fact, a large majority of these start-ups were started with less than $5,000.
What about loans and venture capital? Here are some direct quotes of some of the respondents:
No. 468: “Often, [VCs] have no idea what really drives your customers and your business, but they think they do or want you to think they do. So they flex their muscles, exert pressure or push for short-term profits, and [make] bad business decisions.” –Daniel Siegel, Safe Passage, Neuromonitoring
No. 291: “Appeagle is 100% self-funded. It’s something we are extremely proud of, but more important, it’s given us the freedom to shape the company the way we’ve always imagined.” —Koby Kasnett, Appeagle
No. 423: “I enjoy the flexibility to be creative and influence the culture of our business … which may not be shared by a VC fund whose primary purpose is financial ROI.” –Lee Carroll, Blue Companies
No. 31: “I have had no need for it. I believe in staying debt-free as long as it is possible.” –Chris Jones, Plant Therapy
No. 263: “Oftentimes, you lose the freedom that you became an entrepreneur for in the first place.” –Danny DeMichele, Elevated.com
No. 61: “Didn’t believe the partner was the right fit for us. We were looking for someone who really understood our space and would provide strategic advice, not simply capital.” —Jesse Pujji, Ampush
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