Saturday, October 23, 2010

On Being an Entrepreneur

The first thing about taking the decision to become an entrepreneur is......making the decision to become an entrepreneur :

" I Will Start a Business........ .......from thin air"

The next thing is to learn to ignore all the people who say "No" and turn you away: if there are people who must be persuaded or you really, really want on board for money, legal permissions, expertise etc, then gather enough people to go with you who say "yes" and ambush them.

Have you the "Right Stuff"?

Well if you have come past the first two hurdles, you have developed the perceiverance and bloody-mindedness to get on in life. Sucking up never got people all that far.

Worried about having the right psychographic profile? As a pal of mine once said, "You can't drive round town in a personality profile" when told of his suitability for a sales job which only lacked a company car.......

In other words, forget the profile. I have met small and large business entrepreneurs and many of them are not really very nice, some of them are real charmers on the other hand, while some could be described as somewhat self centred and introverted.

Organise "Yes People" Around You

What they have in common is they are quite good at weeding out people who don't say" Yes sir, no sir, three bags full sir" and keeping just a few advisers in the background to tell them things they might not like to hear.

Another thing they have is a vision of fulfilling something good for the customer: not necessarily unique! It could be a little cheaper, more amenable, understandable, trustable ....a lot of immaterial stuff as well as some kind of ability to pay everyone less for a long time while the business grows....not always the case but often, entrepreneurs pay less than the going rate when ever they can.



This is what the novacaine driven MBA set are really up to: getting the confidence of other people and then their money, to use in business and take a cut.

However the MBA crowd have had since the mid nineteen eighties to get it right in western countries, and come up with.......make it in China if it isn't military or healthcare, and if the latter two, grab your money from the tax payer by employing lobby firms to get more than the fair GM.

Now western economies are bored with the MBA crowd and are looking for masters-of-entrepreneurial studies and general those mad enough to "start a business from thin air". So as an entrepreneur you will be the one hunting OPM...and eventually MBA suckers to expand your business.

If you are smart, you will realise immediately than MBA guys are "No" people: in that "no, I know better" and furthermore, they will steal your concept or bail on you as soon as things get tough and their fees dry up.

Good news though, OPM wants you! Western economies need a higher business birth and expansion rate, and they need both the "facebooks" and "nikes" as well as the company which may never be more than a handful of employees.

OPM seeks young single, GSOH

Money has no shortage of 5% returns on investment, even in the current on going recession, er sorry, credit crunch. No it's a recession. What money always wants is a compound ROI of 19% per annum over 3 years. Money doesn't unfortunetly dare to go in too early, the little boat rowers are your first bet.

This is soft capital by many accounts if you are not self funding a start-up.

Now comes in my critique of the western system and the economic cycle: depsite the unpalatable nature of the Sub Prime Pyramid, it was just a symptom -probabky- of the end of a value cycle.

There are many economists who can explain this better than me, but basically all the chains of promises of delivtering growth and utilising investment run dry. In other words, companies do not make the profits they stated to "the street" and brokers sneeze, investors catch cold and eventually pneumonia if it gets worse.

Now the economies of the west need the new nippers who can be light on their feet around the dinosaurs from the 1980s and before. Nimble.

That is what you also need to be: hard nosed, but able to bail out or take a sudden new and better opportunity. Alternatively, able to react to change, "breath" as the company grows, cutting back when needed, and then expand quickly with initially termporary employees, premises and funding.

Like the soudn of it?

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