Whether you are an aspiring entrepreneur looking to launch the next billion-dollar idea or a small-business owner wanting to open a café specializing in artisanal coffee, starting and running a company provides a unique set of challenges.
Thomas Hansen feels your pain. His career path has run the gamut, having included stints as a windsurfer, telemarketer and bartender. Hansen began his journey overseeing a windsurfing company out of Denmark and later started his own telemarketing company. He then made the transition back into the corporate world, working for several IT organizations in numerous leadership roles.
Throughout this journey, Hansen has maintained his entrepreneurial spirit and is hoping to pass on his learnings – both good and bad – to aspiring entrepreneurs.
“I’ve had the pleasure of working for and with some influential and passionate people, and the advice they gave me in my younger years has stuck with me,” he says. "I’d like to share and help young entrepreneurs, so they can learn and drive change – and one day pass their advice on, full circle.“
And in his current role, he is doing just that. As the vice president of small and medium business at Microsoft, Hansen’s team is responsible for overseeing an ecosystem of partners that deliver high-value experiences and meet the needs of more than 100 million SMBs worldwide.
Prior to this role, he spent eight years on the board of nonprofit Enablis, where he helped entrepreneurs in emerging markets get their businesses off the ground. "I learned just as much from them as they learned from me, and I’m eager to share those learnings with today’s generation of entrepreneurs.”
For the month of March, we are thrilled to have Hansen as our expert. Because of his experience and current role at Microsoft, he is able to offer advice on a number of different issues and is open to an array of subjects. Feel free to ask him anything about entrepreneurship (customer acquisition, retention, hiring and management) or using technology as a competitive edge (cloud, productivity, security and emerging trends).
Submit your questions in the comments section below or tweet us, using the hashtag #ENTexpert. One topic will be selected by the editors of Entrepreneur and addressed by Hansen in a weekly writeup.