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23rd March 2012
John Egan , #allaboutbusiness #all about business #allaboutbusiness.ie #bank of ireland #john egan #archipelago.ie #archie talks #young entrepreneurs #celtic tiger generation #social entrepreneurship #ashoka #sandbox #zero dollar ecosystems #entrepreneur #entrepreneurship #entrepreneurial #business start up #sme #own business
This generation, my generation, are a generation for whom the word entrepreneur means something very different. We grew up at a time when money wasn’t a concern, college education was standard and international travel was typical. We were the Google generation, a generation for whom the internet democratised knowledge and opportunity and it changed us; it changed the way we learn, it changed the way we think and it changed the purpose and orientation of our enterprises.
One of the fundamental characteristics of a wealthy society is that entrepreneurship becomes more about expression than income. The Boom-preneurs don’t see money as the primary motivator of enterprise. They see legacy, influence, impact and respect as the primary positive consequences of innovation. This is a generation to whom entrepreneurs are the principal cultural role models. People such as Zuckerburg, Jobs, Dorsey and Paul Graham are the rockstars, the zeitgeist.
So for all those potential boom-preneurs out there; how do you build a commercially sustainable company when your primary focus is measured by affecting the world you live in?
Lesson 1: If you want to grow on an international scale, maybe you should seek a co-founder. If you can’t persuade someone else to do this with you, it might not be the idea you think it is. A question to ask yourself- if you cannot find someone to come on board with you, how likely is it you’ll be able to convince customers to actually buy your product/service? Find a cofounder who can do things that you can’t do. You need a Yin to your Yang. The more similar you are, the more you’ll fight to do some things and fight not to do others and the quicker you’ll ultimately fail.
Lesson 2: Solve a big problem. Finding ideas for your start-up is the easiest thing you’ll do. Find out what the biggest markets are and where VC’s are investing the most money. Then either solve a problem or identify one to market didn’t realise it had.
Lesson 3: Remember it might not be unique, if so, the quicker you realise this the better it will be for your bottom line. In fact, you should be careful when you say the word unique about your company. One in a billion products is actually unique; the wheel, fire, the telephone, the printing press etc. The majority of the rest tend to be efficiency upgrades in the supply chain or tweaks to existing products. Apple never created a unique project, they just did it better than everyone else.
Lesson 4: Nothing ventured, nothing gained so borrow from someone. This may seem like odd advice, but if you’re a boom-preneur, you have no money, no assets and very little experience of financial responsibility – it’s time to learn. Personal risk is the greatest motivational factor you can have and without the funds you’re going nowhere fast.
Lesson 5: It’s all about the vision. Focus on your vision rather than your function. Traditionally, people start-businesses to do something: Build a house, fix a car or make a product. But not you, you’re a boom-preneur. You need to define a vision of what your organisation will mean to the world and let that govern your strategy, because vision is scalable building houses is not.
Lesson 6: The finance correspondents on CNN are not “Business Models”. Business models, business plans and business strategy are all separate concepts. Think about it like this; You’re traveling from point A to point B. Your ultimate destination is your business plan, the car you drive is the business model and the route you take to get there is the strategy. The business model is the actual component parts of your business and where your competitive advantage stems from. Check out the “Business Model Canvas”, essential reading for any start-up.
Lesson 7: Pivots are not something you replace on golf-courses. Many companies fail because they refuse to acknowledge what’s not working. It’s naïve to think that you could come up with a concept and transform it into a functioning business without making some changes. So listen to your customers, launch your product and then fix what they don’t like.