In the world of cutting edge technological innovation, who's to say who is a successful entrepreneur and what is a thriving entrepreneurship? The Oxford Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as someone “who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”.
"My name is Lior and I'm addicted to the passionate thrill of what I'm trying to achieve". I think that should be the mantra (or maybe even the definition) of an entrepreneur. So what defines or makes a successful entrepreneur?
First of all there should be a basic understanding that there is no "Magic Pill" for becoming a successful entrepreneur. You have to earn it... by working hard!
Therefore, one must first ask the question "why become an entrepreneur in the first place? Here are some of the latest statistics from a survey of entrepeneur's motivations:
To achieve a sense of accomplishment 82%
To be “MY OWN BOSS” 73%
To have an element of adventure 66%
To make better use of my training and skills 63%
To be challenged by new opportunities 61%
“It’s going to be MY WAY or THE HIGHWAY” 62%
If you total the percentages, you get to 407%! Maybe that could be used as another definition of an entrepreneur, one who aims for way more than 100% in what they care for and do.
Once you have decided to become an entrepreneur in breakthrough technologies, and start an entrepreneurship here are my 10 commandments for a successful enterprise:
- Flexibility. It is going to be a long, complicated, tiring, low-chance-of-success process. You have to have the ability to adapt yourself and the R&D of the company to an ever changing environment. Be in Love with the Concept. Don’t Fall in Love with the Prototype!
- Don’t Lose Focus and Make sure there’s ALWAYS a PLAN! As far as I can see it, in my opinion, success is not about having many businesses running in parallel. There is no point in having multiple running businesses if none of them succeeds. Be prepared for disappointments. Many entrepreneurs experience failure. Everyone has an idea, 1 in 10 get started, 1 in 100 get funded and 1 in 1000 make some kind of an EXIT...
- Create a Buzz around the Idea… Use Sexy, world-wide known Names. Recruit known names as part of the Advisory Board, as Chairman, as part of the Board of Directors… They can spread the word around… Keep in mind that sometimes "it’s not what you know…. It’s who you know…."
- Regulations. Are there any specific regulation or standards requirements? FDA, CE, ASHRAE, TUV?
- Add Vision to the Mission. Build your plan by knowing what it is that you want to achieve and what it takes to achieve it. Know what you want to achieve from the very beginning! Have clear goals for your business!
- The Pitch. Put your ego aside… Let the one who knows how to sell the idea do the pitch…and Don’t bore your audience to Death. Keep your Pitch Fresh and Interesting. Understand what the listener is saying, where he\she is coming from and what he\she wants to hear about… learn their language, talk their language. This will enable them to understand you and communicate with you.
- Remember the KISS rule: 'Keep It Simple, Stupid.'
- I always keep in mind the 3 magical words of "Execution, Execution, Execution". Know that a great strategy ALONE won’t win the battle; the WIN comes from basic continuance, blocking and Tackling.
- As personally, I'm coming from the Intellectual Property (IP) world… my 9th Commandment is: build your Circle of Trust: Get yourself a Patent Attorney immediately; practically, no investor today will put money into a technological venture which doesn't seem protectable. Work closely with your patent attorney; build your IP strategy along with your business plan.
- And finally… the intimidating word of… MONEY… $…. CASH FLOW. It is important to realize that it doesn’t matter how world-changing-life-alleviating your innovation is, you will still have to successfully market it to get results AND $$$! Focus ~50% of your time on world-changing-life-alleviating innovation and ~50% on marketing so as to raise money. Oh, and by the way, get yourself an accountant!
So… who's to say who is a successful entrepreneur and what is a thriving entrepreneurship? To answer that we have to first define how success is measured. Measuring success, of course, is very personal and subjective. There is no universal success scale.Some define success as the maximum valuation of the entrepreneurship, the ever increasing valuation. Usually, valuation depends on at least 4 factors:
- The Team - Surround yourself with key opinion leaders... Listen (!!) to them… they have been in the area far longer than you;
- The Market - Make sure the market is NOT a Negligible market; If there is no market – CREATE one… (Create a new need, a new service… etc. for your product. A great, working product which has no market is no good to anyone!
- The Technology (Proof of Concept); There is nothing better than a demonstration, be it live , a video clip , or some compelling data graphically represented.
- [What I, personally, hold dear…] - Intellectual Property (IP). Trust your IP in the hands of someone who knows the job! Make sure to always have an IP strategy, a second line of defense IP strategy and a full-back IP strategy! Can you license your patents ? Can you protect your innovation? Can you avoid infringing other patentS? All of these questions will be asked by your investors/competitors/partners.
95% believe that success is measured according to the cash flow and the size of the bank account… The remaining 5%, on the contrary, believe success is measured according to the number of lives which, in light of the entrepreneurship, have experienced a positive difference.
Define how YOU will measure your success! Therefore, you are the one to define who is a successful entrepreneur.