Advising Entrepreneurs and Companies with an Entrepreneurial Spirit
David Ross ’88 knows what it takes to build a business. His twenty-year career as an entrepreneur and business owner recently transitioned to a role in business analysis and consultation. As chief innovation officer of KRD LLC, Mr. Ross provides counsel to clients about strategic development and innovative business solutions. As an expert in entrepreneurship, Mr. Ross is also an adjunct professor and entrepreneur-in-residence at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business, where he educates business students about the entrepreneurial process. In October of 2012, Mr. Ross visited The Hun School of Princeton and offered advice and inspiration to the small business class as they launched their own businesses.
He began a conversation with students by introducing himself and dispelling a myth about entrepreneurs. “Many people think that entrepreneurs are, by their nature, risk takers or risk-loving. The truth is, most serial entrepreneurs are really good at knowing which risks to take, but more importantly they are really good at knowing which risks to avoid. You can only make a couple bad calls, before your startup goes out of business,”
The information was a revelation for the students. Mr. Ross continued to expose truths that encouraged the class. “Depending on the business, some entrepreneurs have all the resources and expertise they will ever need. And, for some, partnerships and advice, particularly when the two parties are equally motivated for success is extremely beneficial. There is no hard and fast rule to how to make a business work. The key to running a good business is being able to adjust and adapt over time. You have to understand what you are trying to do and consistently align your goals with your business model, product, and customer base.”
Mr. Ross went on to embolden the students to be curious and active learners, not just during their time in School and college, but as young professionals. “Entrepreneurs need to understand who they are selling to and what matters to their customers. For that reason alone, entrepreneurs need to continue to learn new things, to read, to stay current,” said Mr. Ross.
As the class period ended, Mr. Ross offered parting advice. He said, “If you have an idea, and you are really into it – go for it. So few people actually take the risk, and that can be the biggest mistake – the mistake of not trying.”
The Hun School of Princeton is an independent, coeducational, private day and boarding college preparatory school. Student-centered, hands-on learning prepares students for the global community in which they will live and work.