Start-ups exist not to make stuff, make money, or serve customers. They exist to learn how to build a sustainable business. Eric Ries
A business requires management, a startup a special kind of guidance: entrepreneurship!
But what exactly characterizes an entrepreneur and what skills should he/she have?
According to Kevin Ready, a serial entrepreneur from the US, entrepreneurs go through different stages: beginner, builder, and expert.
He explains that the beginner is enthusiastic and wants to make a difference. The beginner believes that having an idea is all it takes to be successful and is rather inflexibly in his approach but will later on realize the complexity of the market.
Kevin Ready states that the builder “has gone out and put his money and time into an effort and begun to make hard contact with reality. While facing challenges, the builder is pushing through them step by step.” He does not lose his enthusiasm and believes that there is a “tactical solution to most problems”. The builder’s most valuable asset is his persistence!
Kevin Ready claims that after facing challenges and learning from them, entrepreneurs finally become an expert. This stage is characterized by his X-ray vision, which means that the expert detects problems before they occur. He does not take success for granted and most importantly, he reacts flexible to things that are “beyond his knowledge and control.”
Kevin Ready goes even further: He believes that someone who has gone through all stages realizes that he/she is a serial entrepreneur. A serial entrepreneur is someone who builds businesses again and again. He argues that “they know that being out there in the thick of the chase and dealing with the uncertainty and challenge is where they have to be” and “often realize that the chase itself is the reward.”
To sum Kevin Ready’s characterization of an entrepreneur up: “to dream the impossible dream, […] to see and believe in a vision is what defines us who decide to take a risk, head out into the unknown […] and make their dreams become reality” and “optimism fuels […] [us] through the tough times.”
In comparison, Eric Ries, a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and author recognized for pioneering the Lean Startup movement, takes a “scientific approach to creating and managing startups.”
He expresses that as an entrepreneur you will face failure and that “figuring out how to fail quickly and move on is a key component of eventually achieving success.”
Lori Kozlowski , writer and digital editor, compares his approach to an old school formula: “Purpose, Research, Hypothesis, Experiment, Analysis and Conclusion”. Ries suggests that as part of the entrepreneurship process, you need to “emphasize rapid prototyping and testing your assumptions about the market. If you don’t have something that can scale or that users will actually adopt, you want to scrap it as soon as possible.”
Furthermore, Eric Ries recommends that entrepreneurs need to step outside of themselves and double check their idea. He argues that “many start-ups operate in a vacuum, where it is underscored for them over and over again that their idea is great!”
Referring to his Lean Start-Up Principles (which I will further talk about in my next post) he believes that entrepreneurship “can be learned which [also] means that it can be taught.”
Lori Kozlowski points out that “many start-ups operate in a state of serendipity — constantly cross-pollinating with other smart ideas. And it is great connections that catapult them forward versus science and measurement.” In her opinion, it is the mixture of both that makes an entrepreneur successful!
Check out this link to see if you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur!
Finally, to leave you with the words of Steve Jobs:
Stay hungry, stay foolish.