Editor’s note: Keith Luedeman is CEO and Founder of goodmortgage.com, which is based in Charlotte. He recently spoke to a group of entrepreneurs in Asheville about the importance of “giving back” to others launching their own ventures and Local tech Wire asked him to share his thoughts with LTW readers. goodmortgage.com will serve as host for The Tech Exec in Charlotte on July 19.
______________________________________________________________________________________As I’ve launched and grown my own business, I’ve benefited tremendously from mentors, from trusted advisors and from other entrepreneurs who are generous with their earned knowledge. I do my best to give back to other entrepreneurs to return that debt of help – because it is part of the reason why my company is successful.

There are several ways to give back:

There are personal contributions: I’m in a group that I jokingly call “CEO Group Therapy.” It’s a group of CEOs who meet every month for breakfast and honestly share business issues, solutions and concerns. When you are a CEO and entrepreneur, you have an enormous set of responsibilities — and it’s amazing how many of the same issues most growing companies face. So being able to give help, or get help, is very beneficial. And knowing that you’re not in it alone, and you have a support group — well — that’s why I call it CEO Group Therapy!

There are organizational contributions: I support organizations through membership and participation such as Business Innovation and Growth (BIG Council), the Charlotte Camber, as well as providing valuable content to meetings of other area’s entrepreneurial councils such as the Blue Ridge Entrepreneurial Council headed by former Charlotte entrepreneur Jim Roberts.

It’s of tremendous value for those who are struggling with start up companies to know that others have been in their shoes and come out on top. That you can make mistakes and still be successful — in fact successful people often make mistakes and they learn from them. They don’t make the same mistake over and over again. It’s called experience.

Other important points for entrepreneurs:

  • Look for a window of opportunity that has attractive fundamentals — gives you room to hit less than a perfect shot the first time you try.

  • If you think you have to wait until everything is perfect before launching — you never will. Get the product out there and constantly improve it.

  • To control your own destiny — grow without outside funding if you can. How? Make a profit!

  • Maintain focus. Keep your eyes on the prize.

  • Don’t let unexpected interruptions stop you.

  • Gradual growth is a growth path that can be maintained.

  • Gather and keep good people around you.

  • Customers are your business. Focus on sales.

  • Partnerships with the right companies are very important.

  • Your brand and your reputation are important. Nurture them. Guard them.

  • And perhaps most importantly — have passion. Without it you won’t have the intestinal fortitude to do the rest. It’s not easy being an entrepreneur — make sure you enjoy the journey!
  • Reaching Out as Host of Tech Exec

    And passion is exactly what led me to the third way to support entrepreneurs:

    Sponsoring or hosting events that we feel add value to the business community.

    Goodmortgage.com is hosting LocalTechWire’s Charlotte Tech Exec on July 19. Events such as these are important because they provide a place where people who have started and want to start technology and technology-related businesses can meet in a social environment. In technology, we often become absorbed in our own products, services, projects or companies and don’t meet those who we can learn from, and others who we can help.

    So, as an entrepreneur, I want everyone to support this event. Not just because we’re hosting it and, of course, we want it to be a success. But because we see it as an important relatively new venue for bringing mentors together with those who need them — and that makes our businesses stronger and our start-ups more likely to succeed.

    And, it’s fun. Come join us on the lawn outside goodmortgage.com on July 19 — www.goodmortgage.com/directions and RSVP at www.localtechwire.com/charlottetechexec