What is an Entrepreneur? Lessons I share – reinforced by Barbara Roberts, Columbia Business School Fellow
Barbara recently gave an inspiring talk on what entrepreneurship means to her, and advice on a range of topics, from getting started and setting goals, to obtaining startup capital and building a brand.
Some of my favorite points from the talk are below!
What is an entrepreneur?
- Change junkie; dream fulfiller; system manipulator; everyday revolutionary
- Needs passion and purpose to be successful
- True entrepreneurs don’t start companies to be rich. There’s a myth about how easy it is to become wealthy.
- Some people are born entrepreneurs – just have to do what they have to do. They are driven to do it.
How to get a business going
- Not about the quality of an idea – it’s about passion and commitment to drive business.
- Think big – a big purpose and big problem. But start small.
- Start with something. It doesn’t have to be the best idea. The whole process is test, test, test.
- Build processes. From the start, get everything you do in writing – it will be the start of teaching/process/HR manuals and company culture.
Mission and purpose in your business
- Passion and purpose – what is the problem you’re solving? Why are you doing this?
- Be sure you enjoy what you spend your life doing!
Setting goals – The Rule of 3
- Human beings can only do 3 things at once. Pick 3 goals a year, and do 3 things each day to accomplish those goals.
Timing and success
- What leads to an idea lasting and surviving? Timing is the most important factor in whether an idea works out.
- Be aware of what’s happening in the world to make timing important.
- Ask friends and family for money for your startup, not investors or people you don’t know.
- Money should come from you, your team, vendors, clients and people you know.
5 pillars to build brands on
It’s critical to work on branding from Day 1.
The 5 pillars to build a brand on:
- People (e.g. Goldman Sachs)
- Product/service (Apple)
- Purpose (healthcare)
- Approach/process (Accenture)
10 ways to leave a business
- Sell to 3rd party
- Sell to a financial buyer
- Sell to strategic buyer
- Transfer to cooperative partner
- Transfer to management or key employee (don’t pay capital gains)
- Transfer to family member
- Passive owner