Into the mind of a Successful Entrepreneur.

“The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem”, a bi-weekly blog…

I’m an entrepreneurial geek.

There, I’ve said it. In writing, no less. I can’t take it back. Some people are food geeks. Others are gadget geeks. Still others, musical theater geeks. For me, I’m fascinated by businesses… How do you start them? Grow them? Sustain them?

It was with that mindset that I set out for a recent Startup Grind meeting to hear the prolific John Osborne being interviewed by the always engaging, Jeremy Berman. Osborne is one of the forces behind The Harbor Entrepreneur Center, Charleston Angel Partners and Funding Charleston.

John has built shared workspaces, launched business accelerator programs and created the recent Charleston Angel Conference, where local businesswoman Krissa Watry of startup Dynepic, pitched her way to win a $100,000 investment.

Thinking what I am… “When does this man sleep?” I’m not sure he does that much.

But his wife Allison vouched to the audience, when called upon, that he is indeed a great husband and father (and in the end, isn’t that the most important stuff?)

Now in keeping with my self-imposed 500-word limit, here are some of that night’s highlights from the active mind of entrepreneur John Osborne…

“How is what you’re doing impacting your business on THIS day?”

When he said that, it really made me think. Especially when it came to making daily choices on what to focus on in running a company. John talked about learning the importance of how to “be efficient and effective with time.”

On his first trip with partner Patrick Bryant to visit The Nashville Entrepreneur Center to see how those folks were running their successful hub, he didn’t care as much about the cool space or bells and whistles. John wanted to know about the inspiration: “Take us back to just two dudes at a bar and what did you do to initially get this all started?” Talk about going to the heart of the matter.

Find your entrepreneurial peeps. To me, that’s what John was saying when he talked about getting in with a mastermind group, like his Harbor’s Forum Groups. A place he said, where “you’re not afraid to admit you’re having trouble meeting payroll and your grandmother just died.” In other words, a safe haven to be honest and vulnerable with your fellow peers.

When asked his best advice for startups? “Stop thinking and start doing. Just make the call. Be in more dialogue with more people. The worse thing that happens is you’ll be more educated than you were before the dialogue.”

Top mistakes on pitch decks? “Too many words, not enough data points. And ‘What’s the Ask?'” As a coach, I couldn’t agree more. Too many budding entrepreneurs aren’t clear on what they’re asking for in a pitch.

Another tidbit: “Don’t be afraid to get into an uncomfortable position.”

How did he see his future legacy? “He had a thing that made a difference and helped some people along the way.”

Now to me, that’s the mindset of a successful entrepreneur.

“The Entrepreneurial Ecosystem” is a bi-weekly 500-word blog by Thomas Heath, CLC that explores the world of business from an entrepreneur’s perspective. Its goals are to educate, enlighten and get conversations started. Join Thomas with a Share or Comment, he loves to respond. And be sure to follow him here on LinkedIn or socially @AskThomasHeath.

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