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Entrepreneurial Thoughts

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I came across the center of entrepreneurship BYU Marriott School and found a tremendous resource for entrepreneurs. I took the liberty to answer the first 10 thoughts on the list of entrepreneurial thoughts with my two cents. I felt compelled to answer these great thoughts. For a the complete itemized list (26 total) of entrepreneurial thoughts check out the BYU | Marriott School “Center of Entrepreneurship”. You will also find other great resources like Idea Evaluation, Common mistakes, Starting costs, 5 Stages of Growth etc…Enjoy.

1. It has to be a business that gives you an emotional high.

Startups are like marriages, they are a tremendous commitment and you have to be willing to see it through to the end. If you just “like” the business and not “love” it, don’t bother. A failure that was “loved” is better than a success that was “liked”.

2. Try not to go into anything that is labor, inventory, or accounts receivable intensive.

An entrepreneur’s time is extremely valuable, spent being the puppeteer of so many business systems from accounting to marketing to operations. The last thing you want to do is sacrifice your precious time doing administrative functions. Here is a quick solution to this great entrepreneurial thought: If your startup demands labor then outsource, if it demands inventory then drop-shop, if accounts receivable is a must then streamline your A/R systems and personnel.

3. Have independent market research done on feasibility of your ideas.

Due Diligence and idea research is one thing and one thing only —CHEAP! So don’t skimp on the market research and save yourself the future hassle. I tend to follow the 10:2:1 ratio with new startup ideas. I nurture 10 good ideas with market research and end up with 2 that are worthy of further development. Out of the 2 ideas left, one almost always proves to be superior and quite possibly becoming my next startup.

4. Don’t think someone is waiting to steal your idea, it’s paranoia.

You can’t steal an idea, only the methodology of executing an idea or a specific use of that idea. This is an important point because startups are based on a developed idea but the execution is what determines success not the idea itself. If someone said they had an idea for an Internet auction site, do you think they are nervous about that idea being stolen? Put yourself “out there” or you will end up “nowhere”

5. Don’t get started on a real business until you have someone (spouse, family member) who will listen to your dreams, sympathize with your failures and applaud your successes.

Sounding boards are critical in to startup success. I do this long before I commit to market research, if you can’t convince your own blood or friends it is a good idea, who are you kidding? Make sure you don’t “hard sell” your concept….do a “soft sell” and listen to their feedback. This is like a mini and free focus group before your idea has ever left your skull.

6. Never involve yourself in any service or product that requires a consumer attitude change.

This is a brilliant philosophy…it is the entrepreneur that needs to roll with the consumer’s punches not the other way around. Don’t end up like the music studios in a changing digital environment. Underestimating the consumer’s tenacity and crowd sourcing ability will be an entrepreneur’s downfall.

7. Don’t invest your money or time in home run schemes—invest in what you like and know.

The book I’m writing on the daily life of a StartupAddict dedicates a chapter to this concept. Everyone of us has our very own toolbox of skills, education and experiences in life. If you know a tremendous amount about real estate don’t try to startup a pet store. This sounds like blatant common sense, but sometimes we all need to be reminded of just that.

8. Find a lifelong mentor as soon as possible. Have him continually play devil’s advocate with all of your projects.

I have multiple mentors in this game called life, but I also tend to be very industry agnostic when it comes to starting companies (almost to the point of negating my answer to the previous thought #7). Because I am so transient with industries I have not always been fortunate enough to have an industry specific mentor handy. So I developed a technique of utilizing only the friends, family and associates I know play devil’s advocate role. This is a great substitution. This is also why I created the advisors section in “StartupCentral” at StartupAddict.com so I could mitigate this problem for future entrepreneurs.

9. Make sure you are not just buying yourself a job. Have an exit point or harvest plan to cash out.

This is a safe mind-set to have going into any new business or startup. If you want to build a cash-flow business and never sell, know that going in. If you want to build a company and sell for 10 times annual earnings, make sure you know that. This is critical to how you treat your business on a daily level.

10. Do self-awareness training. Find out who you are.

As far as we know (us mortals) we only get one go at this life. Make sure you don’t merely plod along and just get by. Find out who you are, your purpose and then Dream Big and Be Great.

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