Category Archives: News and Updates

Meet the crew

When I’m on the road doing my one-man-show speaking gigs, people always ask me about the team I work with back at the ranch.

Who are they, and what are they like?” They ask.

They’re all rockstars in their area of expertise” I say. “And they’re a ton of fun to be around“.

But here’s a little more about each of them and their role on the team. They all play in the sandbox with me in the BOSI Accelerator.

Steve Thompson is our resident human capital guru. He spent 25 years in senior human resource leadership with medium to large sized corporations. He was recruited to lead a startup that grew to over 540 million in revenues and went through an IPO. From 2000-2010, Steve was Principal at Sterling Partners (a Private Equity firm) that grow from $90 million to over $4 billion in assets during his tenure. His role at Sterling was to do diligence on incoming portfolio companies and build powerhouse management teams that could scale companies to massive revenues. In addition to being my business partner, he runs the human capital practice @ Dreihaus Private Equity. Third parties have told me he is in the top 2% of human capital experts in the country.

Tim Conway spent the first 15 years of his career in Marketing and PR for companies like Sears and McDonalds. He then transitioned into entrepreneurship to launch his own advisory firm. He then taught public speaking and marketing at DePaul University and now teaches entrepreneurship at Roosevelt University. Tim wears two major hats on our team. First, he heads up the development of any content and curriculum we create. He is our education czar. Second, he participates as a strategist when we’re working hands-on with a company to incubate or accelerate growth. His ideas come a mile-a-minute and he’s never shy of rolling up his sleeves and helping companies get important things done – especially in the areas of marketing and public relations.

Andy Parker is a serial entrepreneur like me. He’s built three technology companies from the ground up, raised tens of millions of dollars in funding, built huge sales teams, sold the likes of Microsoft on big-cash licensing deals. Andy plays two major roles on our team. First, he’s a master strategist and problem solver. I’ve sat with him through countless hours of strategy and never found him to not know what to do next. His brain is wired with so much Builder DNA, it’s not even funny. But more importantly, Andy is one of the few people I have ever found who rolls up his sleeves and goes to work in a startup or struggling company to create growth. Unlike most people who want to tell you what to do and then sit back and watch you do it, Andy shows you what needs to be done and then does it with you. That’s a priceless asset on a team like ours. Our portfolio companies are absolutely addicted to him.

Bob Rupczynski Bob is our digital marketing rockstar. But don’t take my word for it, know that top Facebook executives gave him that title. He was the brains behind Albert Culver’s competition crushing digital marketing rollout in the mid-2000′s. When TresSomme’ beat out Pantene in online marketing, that was Bob’s doing. He then joined Wrigley (yes, the brand we all love) and build their digital marketing footprint to one of the most dominant in the world. His Skittles Facebook page success was just featured in Forbes magazine. As busy as Bob is at Wrigley, I don’t call on him much, but when we’re incubating a startup or working with a SMB in our 18-month accelerator, Bob’s genius brain is always brought into the mix.

Jackie Camacho-Ruiz When you meet Jackie, you get the sense that she is always having a amazing day. Celebrated author, speaker and PR guru, Jackie runs her own marketing firm JJR Marketing. With a decade of marketing and public relations experience behind her, clients entrust Jackie with strategic planning, marketing planning and creative brainstorming. We ask her to play in the sandbox with all our portfolio companies when it is time to get big news coverage and leverage powerful media relationships to leapfrog the competition.

 

Trey Morris Trey is a sales and marketing machine…period. With over 100 million dollars in personal sales production over his career, he knows what he is doing. He comes from the advertising sales world but along the way has owned his own ad agency and full service marketing firm. He is also a restauranteur. He is co-owner of the best BBQ restaurant north of interstate 40 called Q-BBQ. If you’re ever in the Chicago area, we’ll be glad to meet you there for lunch! Trey engages when companies need a killer sales and marketing plan. He’s a no-nonsense, old-school sales and marketing guy. He’s not a digital marketer like Bob. He’s all about windshield time, building relationships and closing deals. So when a company’s business plan calls for people-driven sales and marketing, Trey’s our guy.

Satish Rao Satish is a financial model designing brainiac. I can’t say it any better than that. He is a Kellogg MBA who spent almost a decade with IBM Strategy and Change. He also works as a principal in a firm with world-renown professor and author Robert Wolcott. We bring Satish in when we’re working with a company that needs to raise a boatload of capital. Satish builds the financial model and participates in pitch training and investor deck prep sessions. I seldom trust anyone else to build a financial model for one of our portfolio companies. He’s one of the best I have ever worked with.

 

So there ya go! The team @ the ranch (and interestingly enough, the longest blog post I have ever created).

 

The future of entrepreneurship is bright!

While most of the world (thanks in great part to the media) worries and frets about the future of our country and world economy, I stay highly optimistic.

Here’s why…

I get to spend most of my working hours around entrepreneurs – the coolest and most energizing people on earth. You can’t help but be energized being around entrepreneurs – especially the next generation version of them.

Enter IMSA (Illinois Math and Science Academy). Past home to founders of companies like YouTube, OkCupid, Netscape and Paypal. It’s a high school that is consistently rated one of the best in the US and top 40 in the world. Needless to say to be that good, you have to be doing some pretty special things.

One of those really cool things at IMSA is the TALENT program. A place where entrepreneurially minded students can meet, learn and collaborate.

IMSA’s TALENT program is the first high school entrepreneurship program where the cornerstones of Entrepreneurial DNA and BOSI are being installed to build teams, design strategy and create business models.

We’re working together to build optimized teams (based on BOSI DNA) of students who will design the next-generation products and companies this semester and pitch those ideas at the end of the process. The results (I can assure you) will be nothing short of outstanding. Carl Heine and Jim Gerry who run the TALENT program at IMSA are two of the most passionate supporters of the entrepreneurial spirit in students – and it shows!

I can’t wait for the day when every high school in America (and around the world) has an authentic entrepreneurship program like IMSA’s TALENT program. Meanwhile, it’s going to be exciting to see what this next generation of entrepreneurs at IMSA have in store for us. I am confident they have game-changing innovation up their sleeves. Innovation that will solve major challenges and save money, time and even lives!

We’re excited to be a part of it and see what impact BOSI has on ensuring these innovations achieve their greatest market potential.

The best is yet to come.

Learn more about IMSA
Learn more about BOSI

I’m so excited!

It’s not quite as exciting as having a child, but it’s close…

After years of fun (but painful) research, tons of false starts and failed initiatives, more money invested than I care to reflect on and a few exciting days in between, my blog gets to be bosidna’s first partner site.

What’s a partner site?

Put simply, we took the BOSI Assessment that everyone can’t stop talking about and widget-ized it so it can be available all over cyberspace. Bloggers, social networking sites, chambers of commerce, membership organizations, networking groups, b-2-b service providers and more can have this game-changing tool on their site – absolutely FREE!

This means visitors to our partner’s site can take the BOSI Assessment and get their results without ever leaving our partner’s site! I think that is pretty darn cool (and fairly disruptive to assessment-world at large).

So give it a try (if you haven’t already taken the Assessment). If you have, the system will tell you so. Wanna be a partner site, just say so!

Take the BOSI Assessment

Event Reflections…

Experiencing an “Aha!” moment is really fun, especially when you know one is coming – and when that moment leads to a breakthrough.

Last week I presented the concepts of Entrepreneurial DNA and BOSI to a group of fifty folks in Chicago. Participants included a great mix of entrepreneurs, community leaders, people from the small business development and economic development agencies.

I started by presenting the BOSI Quadrant, which allowed everyone to quickly identify individual entrepreneurial styles and traits – the “Aha!” moment. Then we split into four groups, each DNA type gathering at a different table hosted by a BOSI partner.

For participants “Aha!” became a breakthrough event for a number of reasons:

1. Each entrepreneur spent quality time with people they could truly relate to: People who share their strengths, weaknesses and frustrations. They no longer felt alone, knowing others felt the same joys and pains in their business lives. There was an instant connection amongst each group, a connection that is very empowering.

2. Each entrepreneur shared his or her story in a very different way. During most “Tell us about yourself and your business” roundtable discussions, elevator pitches dominate the conversation as each entrepreneur tries to “sell” others. (After all, isn’t elevator pitching what we’re told to do?) In this case, each group shared an instant connection: Since we had already discussed the strengths and weaknesses of their particular DNA, they instead dove headfirst into discussing their challenges and needs. People spoke with a level of authenticity rarely seen at group events.

Each table quickly built a real sense of community, which is my hope for the BOSI online community as well – we can all speak with greater authenticity and build stronger communities when we set aside our masks.

3. Connections were much more meaningful. When entrepreneurs at the table asked each other for their business cards, I noticed they didn’t take the usual “grab and stash” approach. Instead, they made a “grab, read carefully, make notes on the card and then carefully place in a safe location” exchange of cards. Compared to the typical business card exchange, I feel sure stronger business alliances and more commerce will result.

4. Learning was richer. I personally led the table of Innovator DNA entrepreneurs. Because we had like DNA, we didn’t waste time on irrelevant subjects. We were immediately tackled issues Innovator DNA entrepreneurs face. We spoke in detail about human capital challenges, business management frustrations, and even overcoming personal obstacles. We accomplished (and gained) more in forty-five minutes than an eight-hour seminar with a so-called “guru” preaching a one-size-fits-all approach from the front of the room.

5. The larger group dynamic was… dynamic! When we regrouped, it was amazing to see the lightning bolts of energy flash as entrepreneurs compared their BOSI Profiles and table experiences with each other. The environment was energetic and electric. Why? For the first time, these entrepreneurs were recognized for what they really are – individuals. Individuals with unique traits who no longer have to “compete” with each other in areas where they were gifted or weak. Instead, collaboration ruled the day, with a spirit of, “Hey, if you’re great at selling and I’m great at process, maybe we can help each other out,” filling the room.

All in all, this was the first of what I hope will be thousands of events around the world where entrepreneurs meet, learn, and collaborate in new, more productive, and more empowering ways. But that will take an army of leaders around the world who “get” the breakthrough of Entrepreneurial DNA and bring it to their local entrepreneurial eco-systems.

I commend the BOSI Test and Entrepreneurial DNA to you. Not because it makes me a dime; after all, it’s free!

But because I know the impact it will have on your business…and your life.

A new begining…

I’ve been blogging at JoeAbraham.com for a few years now. However, looking back on that content I just got the feeling that things were too “all over the place”.

I had stuff on small government, entrepreneurship, chambers of commerce…you name it.

It was just too hap-hazard (if you know what I mean).

So, I’ve decided to clear off the slate and start fresh. A fresh set of content with a fresh new approach.

It will come as no surprise that I’ll be posting on two primary content topics.

1. Entrepreneurial DNA and all things BOSI

2. Advancing the cause of free enterprise and entrepreneurship.

Along the way, I’ll throw in some other miscellaneous topics that pop in my head along the way – and I’m always glad to post content on topics you are most interested in. Don’t hesitate to reach out and ask.

So for those of you who came to this site looking for my “old” content, it’s gone.

Why? Because it was one-size-fits all advice and that simply doesn’t work.

I’m hoping this next generation of content I give you will be better suited for your journey than even the best stuff I had back in the day!