May 14, 2021


Whether you are enterprising from within a large corporation or through a small business, Rice’s “Four Fs” provide a framework for success.

While living in Madison, WI, I visited a local entrepreneur club. A detailed outline was distributed by the host to all in attendance. Of course, I planned to be attentive. I always hope to learn something new, but when I notice the presenter listed Faith as one of the "Four Fs” on his outline—my interested was piqued. Jim Rice, then-president of Telco Broadband Forum at TDS Telecom, relayed his experiences of converting marketplace needs into rewards through the art of entrepreneurship and intrapreneurship.

Intrapreneurship is similar to entrepreneurship; each effort requires turning an idea into a profitable solution through risk-taking and innovation. Intrapreneurship, however, often results in the creation and operation of new business units within large, existing corporations rather than creating and operating the business itself.

Rice provided the following tips for successful enterprising from within a large corporation or through a small business. Obtain proper sponsorship from start to finish. Without it, even wildly successful ideas lack monetary and political support. Consider competition as an endorsement of, rather than a threat to, your new idea or concept. Be patient; naysayers often lack understanding of the vision or resist change. Remember, every company has its problems, which translate into new opportunities.

Here are the "Four Fs” that guided Rice's achievement:

  1. He said, have FUN. Work in the area of your passion. If business building is for you, you will probably love the freedom of being your own boss, love to compete and win, love self-discipline, and love to learn through experiments and failures.
  2. Put FAMILY before business. In fact, Rice, suggests making a commitment to your family and getting a commitment of support from your family as you pursue new endeavors. This promise to loved-ones may require pacing your success or intentionally regulating growth, travel, hours, etc.
  3. Though FINANCING can come from government grants and programs, friends and family, or private equity, Rice recommends Small Business Association Loans over these alternatives for startup and growth. Set ‘Stop Limits’ for managing risk. Stop Limits are predetermined caps on time spent, money earned (or lost), etc. Once these thresholds are reached, the business is sold or terminated.

  4. Operating with a servant attitude is underscored in Rice’s fourth F: FAITH. Giving back to employees, customers, and shareholders is not only biblical, but it also fosters loyalty. “It is not about you,” he warns, “it's not about making money to have more toys or a bigger house”. It's about serving the Lord and loving those around you…

Whether you are enterprising from within a large corporation or through a small business, Rice suggests that converting marketplace needs into reward may be more about having fun, loving family, being a good steward, and focusing on your faith.

Jim Rice is a serial entrepreneur and currently the president and owner of VectorTech, Inc., an ideation lab and consulting company.

by Michelle Sugerman • Leading Synergies, LLC • © All Rights Reserved

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