Kelly Clarkson is a recording artist that has risen from being unknown on American Idol to one of the most popular stars of this decade selling millions of records and winning countless awards. Likewise, northern Nevada’s entrepreneur landscape has risen from being unknown to a hot scene this decade. Clarkson’s song “What Doesn’t Kill You Makes You Stronger” is a motto that is often used in many contexts, and a motto that aptly describes northern Nevada’s entrepreneur market over the last decade.
From the time I was very young, it was quite apparent that I would start my own business one day. Nobody knew what it would be or how things would turn out, but my family could recognize a certain drive in me that would one day lead me down an entrepreneurial path.
There is an effective, yet under-utilized strategy by startups that is employed by companies every single day. It is the art of developing strategic alliances with associations, non-competing organizations and affinity groups within your industry. I hesitate to call them “strategic” partnerships as many do, because they are most often not partnerships. A partnership denotes some sort of shared risk and shared reward, but in most cases this is not the case, especially early on, as the #parties will keep the relationship at arm’s length until the comfort level, expectations, and rewards of the relationship become more evident over time.
The unexpected #success is not just an opportunity for #innovation; it demands innovation. It forces us to ask, “What basic changes are now appropriate for this company in the way it defines its business? Its #technology? Its markets?”
While this strategy does not seem novel, the large majority of start-ups never complete this simple but powerful exercise. Simply talking with people, surveying potential customers, or getting feedback from customers of your competition will provide a wealth of information and value. The key is to be open and unbiased with the responses you receive — it is better to find out there isn’t a need for your product or service than to sink all your savings and time into a business that is destined to fail.
Pet Rocks, 1-800-Flowers, Facebook–we’ve all heard of a widely successful company with a product or service that is so simple, we think, “I could have come up with that.” But could you? The answer is “yes.” There is no magical, proven standard or formula for coming up with the next great idea for a business. When it comes to innovative #ideas, the “ah-ha” moment can best be realized by utilizing a few simple, but very powerful and effective techniques to #help you come up with the next big thing…
First of all, the best ideas are those that stem from your life; be it work, hobbies, or general everyday experiences. If the idea directly impacts your life, you will be able to better determine if it is a truly great idea. Great ideas are also simple to explain. If you can’t explain your idea to a stranger in a minute or two and have them understand it, it is likely not a great idea.
The fear of failing stops many people from pursuing what could be amazingly successful opportunities. After all, who likes to fail? When you are talking about a business, failure can be a humiliating experience, as well as costly.
Have you ever heard of the Detroit Automobile Company? Probably not, because it went bankrupt in 1901. But you probably know its founder, Henry Ford. His second car company also failed. Even after going bust twice, Ford managed to attract enough investor dollars to get the Ford Motor Company off the ground.
Walt Disney was fired from his job as a newspaper cartoonist because he “lacked imagination and had no good ideas.” Imagine if he had quit after that failure?
In business, we often hear about companies that seem to come out of nowhere to become a big success. We see it locally in companies like Bentley Systems or Click Bond. We also see the Facebook’s and Alibaba’s of the world that seem to defy the laws of traditional business growth to become the mega-companies that rival 100 year old economic stalwarts like AT&T and GM.
Entrepreneur is a word that gets used a lot, but what does it really mean? Most people would say an entrepreneur is someone that starts a business. But, just starting a business does not make someone an entrepreneur.
If you would like to know the #difference between entrepreneurs and small business owners, click on the link to read this great article by Dr. Robert Whitcomb.
In my Introduction to Business class at Western Nevada College, we’ve recently completed our module on Entrepreneurship. Every time I cover this topic, the same question arises: Aren’t entrepreneurs and small business owners the same? The truth is, though most entrepreneurial ventures begin as small businesses, not all small business owners are entrepreneurs.
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