ECC Talk 1 – The Myths, Misconceptions, and Realities of Entrepreneurship

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Entrepreneurship is not for everyone. It comes with some of the highest highs and lowest lows a person can experience, a never ending stream of mind numbing minutia that requires you constant attention and rapid decision, stress, and late nights.

For those of us that have that entrepreneurial streak, we are pulled towards the lure of starting our own business that will never go away. At some point, we will take the plunge or regret never acting on an idea.

There is no time like the present to start a company. Angel investment is active and growing in the community and in Indiana and resources and support communities have grown up and provide a solid foundation for entrepreneurs to network and learn from people who have been in their shoes. The big question is are you ready to learn or earn?

Startup or Small Business

The term ‘startup’ is often associated with the ‘Silicon Valley’ high-tech startup or a young bio-tech company. Steve Blank, an entrepreneur, investor, educator, and leader in the startup community, talks about The Six Types of Startups which range from the typical small business startup to the scalable startup. The small business type startup is the typical small business, usually family run and accounts for 99.7% of all new businesses and 50% of all non-government jobs in the US. The scalable startup on the other hand is the rarest type of startup, a ‘Silicon Valley’ type of startup that has the potential to grow quickly to be a 100 million or a billion dollar business. Scalable startups attract all of the venture capital money and lots of press. Regardless of the type of startup, the purpose of a startup is to find a repeatable way to generate revenue and make a profit.

It is important to note that there is no single right answer or way of doing things. What works for a small local business might not work for a scalable ‘Silicon Valley’ startup and vice versa. Every situation, company, and market is different. In the end, use what works. The trick is knowing what will work for your business and what won’t without testing it first.

Can entrepreneurship be taught or is it sometime else?

After 21 years as an entrepreneur in 8 Silicon Valley startups, Steve Blank, turned his focus on distilling the chaotic process startup go through to a teachable and actionable startup method focused on customer development. For nearly a decade he has been teaching customer development techniques at Stanford, Berkley, and Columbia as well as the National Science Foundation Innovation Corps (I-Corps) with remarkable success.

 

Qualities of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneurism is the art of optimism. They have an immense passion for what they do, are incredibly driven, and tenacious. They are driven by a desire to prove to the world that their naysayers and doubters are wrong. Entrepreneurs look beyond the risk, strive to minimize the risk as much as possible, but do not let risk stop them from taking action. More than anything, Entrepreneurs Get Stuff Done. They don’t just talk about something. They take action, make things happen, and drive real progress.

 

Myths and Realities of Starting a Business

Entrepreneurship is surrounded by rumors, misconceptions, and half-truths. Unfortunately most of these misconceptions hold us back from taking that first step in starting a business. Not a risk taker? Entrepreneurs strive to minimize as many risks as possible, even to the point of getting a paying customer before they jump and work on the business full time. Don’t have enough money to fund your startup full time? Boot strap it or look at other funding sources. Worried that someone will steal your idea? First – your idea is probably not unique. How many times have you seen a company start offering a product and service you thought of years ago? Ideas do get stolen, but it is very rare. It takes a lot of effort to take an idea and turn it in to reality, and other entrepreneurs have their own ideas that they are passionate about.  Learn more about some of the myths and realities of entrepreneurship at the links below.

 

Mistakes and Avoiding Failure

We learn the best from our own failures, but it’s much better to learn from the mistakes of others if you can, especially when your livelihood and the livelihood of your employees is at stake. Most entrepreneurs make the same few mistakes, which can be avoided with a little planning and approaching starting a business with the right mindset.

 

Want to learn from a successful entrepreneur and venture capitalist? Check out these videos of Mark Suster, Partner at GRP Partners an LA based Venture Capital Company.

Mark Suster, Entrepreneur and Venture Capitalist at talk at NYU

Mark Suster’s Q&A after the NYU Talk

Mark Suster Advice on Starting a Company

ECC # 2 – Evaluating an Idea – Is it worth 5 years of your life?