- So one other piece that I think you should be thinking about as you're thinking about making the transition to entrepreneur are sales, B2B sales. When I became an entrepreneur I thought, got this, I got this. I know a whole bunch of companies, I know a whole bunch of CEOs, I know a whole bunch of heads of HR, I got this. And what I want you to take into account as you're thinking about the risks of starting your business with B2B sales is they take longer than you think they do. I am now almost putting on my business card that a fast no is okay.
A fast no sometimes is better than a slow yes, and a slow no is death, because as you're an entrepreneur you're sort of fighting the cash flow, and I've actually seen when I was running Merrill Lynch that we put a start-up out of business, that one of my direct reports loved a start-up, loved the product, loved it, and was going through the approvals at Merrill, the approvals at Bank of America, the approvals in technology, and the entrepreneur ran out of cash by the time that he got all the approvals done.
What I want to urge you to do is build into your business plan if you're going after B2B sales, that it's gonna take longer than you think. That's one warning. The other thing I want you to keep an eye on as you're thinking about risks as an entrepreneur is hiring people. The other thing, I know lots of people. I've worked with lots of people. At this point I think I might know everybody in New York City. I'm pretty sure if I haven't met you in New York City yet, just come by and say hello 'cause I'm at the last handful of people that I do not know in New York CIty, and you know what? What you're gonna find is a lot of the people that you've worked with at your company are not the right people for your start-up.
And so you have risk around hiring people. I know every chief investment officer in the world. I thought that for Ellevest I would go out and find this one or that one. Well, because what we're doing is innovative, hasn't been done by anybody else before, we needed a chief investment officer who had the experience, who had the years, who could think differently, though. Who could build something that was different. It took me almost a year to find the right chief investment officer, and I know them all. Likewise, the people you've worked with at your big company, they're good at complex decision-making within the confines of a large institution.
Is that what you need? Is that what you need? So thinking sort of outside of that corporate box, being open to bringing in different people, being open to taking a risk with different people I think matters a lot. Another thing I find is that people in start-ups default to hiring their friends. Thank goodness I'm out of that corporate environment, let me hire some people I want to be with, let me hire people who align with the culture. Well the truth is, everybody at a start-up, myself included, I'm writing, I'm building earnings models, I'm copy editing.
And so you have to make sure that perhaps the people you worked with in a big company, that if they are gonna join you that they are willing to do the absolute grunt work, and by that I mean absolute grunt work. So those are two more of the risks that if you're thinking about making that shift to being an entrepreneur from being an executive, you're thinking about, because very few people are talking about them. And I want you to sit down, I want you to get those all on a piece of paper and I want you to start thinking about, if you're looking to make the switch, how you're gonna mitigate each of these.
How you're going to get that revenue more quickly, how you're gonna hire the right people and make yourself uncomfortable in doing it.
What's holding you back? How can you gain the confidence necessary to take risks and chance failing? Sallie Krawcheck is a LinkedIn Influencer and one of the most successful and influential executives in financial services. She has built her career and reputation on thoughtful risk-taking. Here she shares an approach that will help you to take chances while mitigating risk—and keep you on the track to growth and continued opportunity.