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Successful Entrepreneurs Offer Advice to Those Aspiring to Become the Same

April 20, 2010
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Panelists
"Being an entrepreneur is about having a vision or a dream and getting people around you to believe in that dream." That's according to Omar Soliman, BBA ‘04, founder and CEO of College Hunks Hauling Junk and a past winner in the School's annual Business Plan Competition. Soliman came back to campus April 19 for a presentation "To Be or Not to Be an Entrepreneur." The forum, which was sponsored by the School's Entrepreneurship Association, also featured insight from Mark Sanna, president and CEO of the Miami-based international consulting firm Breakthrough Coaching.

Soliman discussed how he was able to turn his small neighborhood trash removal business into a multimillion dollar corporation throughout 28 different cities nationwide. He said that having a vision and a passion to carry out that vision were what led his company to such tremendous success. He also pointed out that while many people initially believe that they should base a venture on their passions, it is often more effective to base one's passions off of a venture that one feels has the potential to be successful.

"Being an entrepreneur isn't about what you do, it's about having the three qualities of having a dream, taking a risk, and inspiring others to believe in you as well as having a passion not just for what you do, but why you do it," he said.

Sanna discussed his career change from medical doctor to entrepreneur.  He's now the CEO of five corporations in fields such as health care, hospital management, and consulting. Sanna said that being an entrepreneur is not only about having a great idea, but being able to follow through and make the idea a reality.

"I find that genius comes in what I call the ability to execute.  Being able to take an idea and bring it across the finish line is one of the things that's absolutely necessary when we talk about entrepreneurship," he said. "There are so many great ideas that just sit on the shelf and don't actually get done and it takes someone to say ‘Ok, I'm going to make this happen.'"

Sanna also discussed the importance of identifying personal strengths and using them to shape the vision of a business.  He said that having a strong vision is far more important than worrying about money because vision will lead to financial gain.  And while he encouraged entrepreneurial risks, he warned against taking too many risks too quickly.

 "It's important that you weigh the risk and not being reckless," he said.  "Perhaps the greatest risk is not saying no when you need to say no.  Entrepreneurs hate to say no; we say yes to everything and so we really have to learn to say no to make sure we keep our companies on a strategic track."


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