The Possibilities and Limits of “Gut Instincts”: Celebs and B2B execs disagree

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Some 15,000 entrepreneurs gathered in Chicago recently for the annual Sage Summit.

Attendees came from around the globe to learn of the latest innovations in the B2B, accounting and tech spheres.

Celebrity keynotes included entrepreneur/actors Gwyneth Paltrow and Zooey Deschanel. Their messages were very different from those of the B2B execs who rounded out discussions.

Movie star Paltrow was the head of Goop, which touts itself as a “weekly lifestyle publication” (that she separated from days after the Summit.)

“The more you create a vision of where you’re going, the more you can create a vertical,” she advised to entrepreneurs. “Where do you want it to be, where do you imagine it to be, and ask people ‘where do you want it to go?’ that’s how you form an execution strategy.”

She also offered the typical rah-rah morale boost for budding entrepreneurs.

“Unwavering self-belief is everything. Everyone’s going to tell you why you can’t do it, and you have to know in your bones that you can do it… and take disappointments with as much grace as you can,” noted the actress.

Co-panelist Zooey Deschanel, actress of TV’s New Girl, is founder of the website Hello Giggles, an online magazine for young women launched five years ago, that was acquired by Time Inc in 2015.

She is also invested in a hydroponics company growing sustainable, eco-friendly and technologically advanced organic fresh food.

“Trust your gut and be yourself, and watch your bottom line. Customers will thank you for that. Other people probably like you,” asserted Deschanel.

In contrast, participant Sara Gilman, marketing coordinator for San Diego’s TeamTag, cautioned against gut decisions.

“B2Bs reach out to Tag when they’ve been running their business on instincts alone. This is the critical time when companies need to establish a dashboard, KPIs and financial reports in order to move to the next level. There comes a time when you can no longer rely on instincts alone; you must have software and accounting in place to make informed decisions.”

She explained that Tag’s mission is to help B2Bs achieve their business and financial goals by providing customized and effective software and outsourced accounting solutions.

“In order to run a successful B2B business, companies need to make informed decisions based on accurate financial information and forecasting. In most cases, SMB’s do not have the resources to support a full accounting department or accounting software experts.”

Among the unusual advice, came from Los Angeles-based entrepreneur Sandy Abrams, who sold her beauty products to chains as Bed, Bath & Beyond, Bath & Body Works, H2O PLUS, Crabtree and Evelyn as well as Estee Lauder and QVC.

“Breath and optimism are the most underutilized tools for success,” noted the author of Your Idea, Inc, and a featured blogger on HuffPost Business.

Abrams currently works with brands as Sage software, Capital One and LegalZoom as a brand correspondent, thought leader and social influencer.

“We are all attached to our phones and we need to add some real breathing to our lives to slow down and be present daily. It’s absolutely key to the health of a busy entrepreneur. So if we are making decisions from a place of fear, or multi tasking, we aren’t making good decisions and we’ll wake up one day wondering how we got to a place that wasn’t where we wanted to be,” she noted.

“It really can be game changer for entrepreneurs.”

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Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a Toronto-based freelance writer whose work has appeared in more than a hundred publications globally, over the course of twenty years. More about him can be found at