Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Are you passionate enough to be an entrepreneur? – Are you focused enough in this?

Posted in job search and career development, startups by Timothy Platt on September 22, 2010

I have written about entrepreneurs and their companies in several places in this blog and especially in Startups and Early Stage Businesses, and one concept that has come up many times is that of the unique value proposition.

If you put the time, effort and commitment into building a business with all of the risks and uncertainties that involves, you want to be able to realistically see a reasonable chance of success from your efforts. That generally means seeing a realistic chance for being if not the absolute best in your market space for your geographic area and product or service type, then at least one of the key market leaders and with a significant market share. You don’t want to struggle simply to become 37th best out of 40, in some overcrowded field.

That essentially always means developing and offering something that is of value to your target marketplace that others cannot readily match – a unique value proposition. But I have seen startup founders fail with what seemed to be great, original ideas – ideas with real potential for creating valued products and services. A great many entrepreneurs succeed too, and even with ideas that cannot be said to be all that original or inspiring, and perhaps most do so with more standard offerings. Startup hardware stores, Laundromats and other seemingly uninspiring businesses can and do succeed, when carefully located, build, managed and run to meet the needs of communities that otherwise would not have these types of businesses available.

Here, originality is more about recognizing local community-based unmet needs and building to meet them than it is in having that globally break-through concept. But many if not most entrepreneurs and would-be entrepreneurs still at least start out thinking in terms of finding and developing that great incandescently original idea. Businesses based on that type of new and emerging unique value proposition do happen so this is understandable. Businesses that succeed in developing and actualizing such an idea do create whole new markets and can grow to phenomenal levels of value and influence. But most startups do not fit that model or need to, and here I only refer to the successful ones – the more everyday startups that bring real value to their communities and that collectively drive our overall economy, creating more jobs and a higher percentage of collective gross national product than the few major corporations do and even when they are collectively considered as a group.

So this posting is about the many, many less glamorous startups and early stage businesses, and about their individual and collective value. And this is about the one essential that these or any other startup or early stage business needs to succeed and regardless of the precise nature of their unique value proposition or where or how in their business they develop and express it (see Startups and Creating a Unique Value Proposition with a Focus on Addressing Chokepoints.)

• The founder and motivator behind that startup needs to develop and convey a focused passion to succeed.

They need to be driven to succeed, and even when that means accepting levels of risk and uncertainty, and even when that means delaying any return on their growing investment, and with all of that even when that means setting aside their own ego and placing their embryonic business first.

• So when you have that great potential value proposition that you see as offering unique value to a significant marketplace, are you passionate enough about it to be a successful entrepreneur?

Venture capitalists look for this passion and the commitment to succeed that it engenders. They look for entrepreneurs and startup founders who are willing to accept the risk and uncertainty and with the long term commitment that their putting some of their own skin in the game demonstrates, but they also look for a coolness and ability to focus on the essentials in identifying and limiting that risk and in increasing their chance for success. But at the end of the day they look for people who are not satisfied with making a routine nine to five commitment and simply call it the end of the day. They look for commitment and passion.

This applies to startups that in fact do have that great original new idea to develop product or service around. This applies to those who would start up a new business that primarily offers to bring a more standard value into a new or underserved market. This applies for those who would set up a stand-alone business, and to those who would enter into a franchise system and start a new outlet as their own business with existing branding and infrastructure support. And this applies to anyone who would attempt the path to startup as a new career path, and whether they do so as a move from an existing job or as a move from unemployment.

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  1. 關鍵字排名 said, on October 2, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    woot, thankyou! I finally came to a site where the webmaster knows what they’re talking about. Do you know how many results are in Google when I search.. too many! It’s so annoying having to go from page after page after page, wasting my day away with thousands of people just copying eachother’s articles… bah. Anyway, thankyou very much for the info anyway, much appreciated.


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