In over 12 years of experience with start-ups either working directly in one or being part of entrepreneurship accelerator organizations like TiE & Ennovent. I have observed for successful entrepreneurship while the technical elements like business model, market opportunity and product-market fit are important – what essentially does get looked over by most entrepreneurs and founding teams is the behavioral aspects and attitudes of the entrepreneur or the founding team.
With this background I wanted to cover couple of key aspects over a small series from my observations on founding team mindsets, their vision for the enterprise and in turn their behaviors which actually drive the business and leads to scale.
In this post my focus is going to be on the VISION of the enterprise and more importantly of the founding team. My observation on vision is not so much about what the organization or start-up will be and what impact it will have the typical jargon we see on vision statements but more on “WHY DO YOU WANT TO DO THIS” this is a question that the lead entrepreneur and the core team have to ask themselves not only before plunging but also in the journey.
Even sitting on the other side of the table in running an investor group we are now constantly asking entrepreneurs on:-
- What made them take the plunge and start this venture?
- Why they would give up something equally if not more lucrative to plunge towards entrepreneurship?
Typical responses I have seen on why I want to be an entrepreneur range from “I want to be my own Boss” to “I want to make lots of money” or “I want to be famous like Richard Branson”.
Other more mature responses are “I want to create meaning” or “create a large scale impact” or “leave a legacy”. While there is absolutely nothing wrong with these motivations and drivers and has lead to success – for long term success it’s very important for entrepreneurs to be clear as to why they want to do this. I’m not talking of about the vision of the enterprise or the business models or the product/service offering what I’m referring to is more fundamental – WHY SHOULD I START A VENTURE & CAN I SEE MYSELF IN IT FOR THE NEXT 10 YEARS?
Entrepreneurship is a marathon and not a sprint before we plunge we should think around:-
- What I’m really passionate about, what turns me on is it temporary or permanent?
- Can I commit between 5-10 years to do this venture day in day out?
- Can I accept failure not just if the venture fails but when thinks don’t work out in day to day operations?
- Will I be fine if things don;t go as planned and more importantly at the necessary speed?
- Can I put skin in the game – capital, resources and whatever else is required to see the venture through? Essentially close my back door?
- Is there size able number of customers who would be willing to pay for the solution?
- Do I have the write team/expertise to pull it through?
- Is the market opportunity large enough?
- Is my service/product offering a more of a can have or a must have for the customer?
- Is there a real differential in my offering can it lead to creating of entry barriers.
So before you plunge in or have already plunge in think as to why you started, what was your vision and what changed along the course