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Portrait of a Ceo: A Guide to Starting and Growing a Small Business

Portrait of a Ceo: A Guide to Starting and Growing a Small Business

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Portrait of a Ceo: A Guide to Starting and Growing a Small Business

Lunghezza:
129 pagine
1 ora
Editore:
Pubblicato:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781452084589
Formato:
Libro

Descrizione


This book presents some unique tools and techniques that each successful entrepreneur ought to follow and adopt in order to guarantee their business growth and success. It primarily focuses on the challenges and difficulties associated with starting, managing, and growing a small business. It takes you through this journey, by addressing many of the obstacles that face individuals who decide to venture out and become self-employed. The discussion is divided so that it matches four distinct phases each small business goes through.





o The first phase, which is referred to as success by chaos, describes the first 12 months or so of being in business.


o The next phase, management by chaos, discusses the business challenges of the next 2-5 years.


o Next a discussion of the second set of five years of being in business is presented.


Finally, the books closes by presenting 21 different qualities each small business CEO must master to become a leader in his or her industry.

Editore:
Pubblicato:
Nov 2, 2010
ISBN:
9781452084589
Formato:
Libro

Informazioni sull'autore

Dr. Mahafza is the founder, President, and CEO of deciBel Research, a small engineering business supporting the defense industry. Under his leadership, deciBel Research grew from a 1-person company with revenue of zero dollars in 2002 to a 78-person company with revenue of $15 million at the end of 2009. deciBel was recognized by the Inc. Magazine as one of the fastest growing businesses in the US, ranking #213 in 2007 and making the Inc.500/5000 list of the fastest growing businesses for 4 years running. Recently deciBel was recognized as the small business of the year by the Huntsville/ Madison County Chamber of Commerce in north Alabama. Dr. Mahafza is the author of 5 textbooks on radar systems design and analysis. He holds a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering and Mathematics. Dr. Mahafza is often invited to deliver motivational talks to other small business owners and other entrepreneurs regarding small business challenges in today's environment.

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Portrait of a Ceo - Bassem R. Mahafza Ph.D.

them.

Acknowledgements

This book project could not have become a reality without the support and help from many individuals.

•   To my family: You have sacrificed so much, I love you.

•   To my management team and my business partners at deciBel Research: Over the years I have learned a lot from you, thank you.

•   To my employees: Thank you for being part of deciBel Research.

•   To my friends and colleagues: Thank you for the endless supply of support and encouragement throughout this endeavor. You provided much valuable feedback.

•   Finally, many thanks to my developmental editor Lisa Joy Wolkow. Lisa, you did a great job.

Table of Contents

Preface

Chapter One

Introduction

Chapter Two

Get to Know the Facts

Chapter Three

Get to Know Yourself

Chapter Four

Getting Started

Chapter Five

Success by Chaos, Level-I Entrepreneurs

Chapter Six

Management by Chaos, Level-II Entrepreneurs

Chapter Seven

Becoming a CEO, Level-III Entrepreneurs

Chapter Eight

Leading by Example

Chapter Nine

Dos of a CEO

Chapter Ten

Don’ts of a CEO

Chapter Eleven

Final Thoughts

Preface

Nearly every man who develops an idea works at it up to the point where it looks impossible, and then gets discouraged. That’s not the place to become discouraged. Thomas A. Edison

It is natural for people to think of and contemplate plans to improve the quality of their own everyday life. In this paradigm, only great innovators seek and find ways to pioneer new constructive concepts and ideas to benefit others. They do so, even as others promote concepts and ideas to the contrary. I came to know this firsthand when I decided to start my own business.

Many people with whom I shared my desire to start my own business were skeptical, and in some cases, had adverse reactions. I was repeatedly asked not to do it. You are jumping off a cliff, some insisted. Others said, You are an engineer; what do you know about running a business? At first, and on the surface, these reasons seemed logical and were to a great extent, convincing. However, upon further analysis, I discovered that many of the reasons were primarily self-serving to those individuals who asked me not start my own business. Other reasons were fear-based and came from individuals who were not risk takers. Only a handful of individuals supported my idea of starting my own engineering company.

By the time I started my own business, I had been gainfully employed for many years working for other people. In a sense, I was at the top of my profession. I was one of the very best at my technical work. I had a very handsome paycheck to back it up. And, at my work, I led a team of almost 80 engineers, physicists, mathematicians, and computer scientists.

I have always adopted the belief that, if someone else can do it, then so can I. The glass is half full, was and remains a governing concept that shapes my thinking and behavior. Because of my beliefs, and despite the many naysayers, I started my own business in 2002.

In the year 2007, almost the same scenario was repeated when I disclosed my intention of writing this book. Some painted a gloomy picture of the outcome. Others laughed at the idea. Initially, I listened and bought into this feedback. So, I abandoned this book’s project.

A little over 2 years ago, I was invited to deliver a couple of speeches on the challenges facing small business. I did so successfully, and I received very positive feedback from my audiences. A few months later, I was invited to deliver another speech on how to successfully grow a small business. Admittedly, this time I was a little nervous. The audience comprised members of a local chapter of the American Society for Engineering Management (ASEM), and several professors of engineering management and other related disciplines. There I was, an electrical engineer and mathematician, delivering a speech on how to run and manage a small business to a group of people who study and research the subject for a living. I delivered my speech anyway, and again, it was well received.

Based on the success of my speeches and because of the impressive growth and success that my company has enjoyed over the last eight years, I reassessed my idea of writing this book. I thought this book might not leave my computer’s hard drive, and that would be just fine. I was determined to finish it, however, so I rolled up my sleeves and started writing.

In the past, I have written five technical textbooks on radar systems analysis and design. Writing this book was not the same as writing a book on radar systems; it was far more difficult. But then one day it dawned on me; all I had to do was just write about my own experience starting and growing a small high-tech business. Suddenly, writing a book about being a small business owner seemed like the right thing to do. And, unlike my previous five books, this book is neither intended nor suitable as a classroom textbook.

If you are among the one million individuals who recently started a small business or among the self-employed who have been in business for a few years, then you are this book’s primary audience. In it, I share with you the challenges I faced and the difficulties I endured while growing my own business. I discuss the many techniques and processes that greatly helped me overcome these challenges and master these difficulties. And, I share the personal stories behind the sweat and growth.

This book is organized chronologically and closely mirrors the startup and growth of my small business. I start by presenting a few documented facts about small business. After that, I describe four distinct phases that each small business typically goes through. The first phase, which I call success by chaos, describes the first 12 months or so of being in business. The second phase, management by chaos, discusses the business challenges of the next two to five years. A discussion of the following five years in business is then presented. Finally, I present twenty-one qualities that each small business CEO must master in order to become a leader in their industry.

It is my hope that you will find this book both instructive and entertaining. I wish you the best of luck in starting and growing your own successful small business.

Bassem Mahafza

bmahafza@dbresearch.net

Huntsville, AL

March, 2010

Chapter One

Introduction

An idea, like a ghost, must be spoken to a little before it will explain itself. Charles Dickens

This book focuses primarily on the challenges and difficulties associated with starting, managing, and growing a small business. It presents the tools and techniques that each successful entrepreneur ought to follow and adopt in order to guarantee their business growth and success. I take you through this journey by addressing many of the obstacles that face those of us who decide to venture out and become self-employed. First, let me tell you a little about who I am.

I came to the United States in the early 1980s. I wish I could add some drama to this fact by telling you I was escaping persecution by an evil foreign government, or I was lost at sea for months and rescued just in the nick of time. I was neither escaping nor lost. I simply arrived at JFK Airport on a jumbo jet. I arrived equipped with a powerful desire to live the American dream to its fullest, and to do so, I had about $1400 in my pocket to support my dreams. Over the years, I have taken many steps toward realizing my dream in all facets of my life, personally and professionally. Today, everything in my life that is worth keeping, I worked very hard at earning. Never has anyone dropped something worthy in my lap that did not require hard work.

In 2002 I founded a small engineering business supporting the defense industry. Very quickly, I turned into the President and CEO of a small business with an emphasis on advancements in radar systems and associated technologies. I had a vision of building The Best Radar House in the nation. Today I believe, although we are not quite there yet, that we are on our way to becoming that best radar house. I was, and I continue to be, very determined that we will succeed in accomplishing my long-term vision. I am also convinced that unless we give it our best shot and work hard on accomplishing this vision, it will never become a reality. Miracles do not exist anymore, especially in business. Only hard work, dedication, integrity, and high standards of work ethics will get us there.

I am an engineer and a mathematician by education and training. I think like an engineer, behave like an engineer, and write like an engineer. I did not attend business school; I attended engineering school. I do not have an MBA in business management; I have a PhD in Electrical Engineering. Prior to 2002 I was a professor, a technical lead, and a chief scientist, not a CEO.

In the past, I have written numerous technical articles, reports, and countless numbers of technical briefings and presentations. I also wrote the following technical textbooks on radar systems analysis and design:

1.   Introduction to Radar Analysis, CRC Press, 1998;

2.   Radar Systems Analysis and Design Using MATLAB, Chapman & Hall / CRC, 2000;

3.   MATLAB Simulations for Radar Systems Design,

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