Beth Cross

Beth Cross

Beth Cross, President at Ariat International, which produces footwear and apparel for equestrian athletes. 

"The most critical thing is to visualize the company as a fully formed entity. We started out with an idea to revolutionize the equestrian footwear industry with performance technology. Once we pressure-tested the idea with consumers, we started to architect the company on paper. We asked ourselves, what will the company look like at $1 million in sales? At $50 million in sales? Study the leading companies in your industry and learn everything you can about their structure and go-to-market strategy. Sketch it out by function so you know what you will be competing against, and also have a sense of what relevant organization structures look like as you're building your team."

"There are no do-overs. There is so much on-the-job training when you build a business. Every day, there seems to be at least one decision or discussion, large or small, that in hindsight I would love the opportunity to rethink or redo. I'm reminded of a decision I pushed for to make an inventory purchase of a new product that I thought would be terrific — but our buying team was very skeptical. I thought it was a great opportunity and convinced everyone we should go for it. Well, of course the product was a flop, and we were stuck with the inventory. My team teased me about it for a long time, and I learned to not interfere with the collective wisdom of an experienced team! You have to own your bad decisions, and in doing so you reinforce a culture that celebrates success and learns from failure.”

Via Stanford GSB, Photograph via Murdochs 

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Joan Birman

Joan Birman

Renee Dua

Renee Dua