The ‘boring’ details behind entrepreneurial success
Often times, people will have you believe that accomplished entrepreneurs had their success purely by dint of the invincibility of their irresistible ideas. The media creates a narrative that posits a sole human as the harbinger of change while completely obscuring the so-called boring details.
While big ideas are engines for change, often times it’s in fact the boring details that are the single biggest determinants of entrepreneurial success.
As a seasoned entrepreneur, I would not have previous wins under my belt or be seeing success currently as the CEO of Sqeeqee.com, the first-of-its-kind social networthing site, without understanding that the devil is in the details.
I have identified 5 “boring” aspects of entrepreneurism that if focused on will lead to success.
1. Business support network
A new entrepreneurial venture requires a great deal of assistance in terms of headhunting, business coaching, venture capital etc. that can only be met through a nurturing ecosystem of service providers. As an entrepreneur, you need to identify and build this support network of allied businesses, consultants, coaches etc. and put them to good use.
This would involve expanding the business ecosystem wherein your business idea can get traction through the process of leverage. For example, a business venture that builds relationships with the academia can profitably tap into their resources that professional consultancy services are not equipped to provide. Similarly, building relationships with peers and other start-ups can lead to beneficial and inexpensive business coaching sessions.
2. The people
The very best of business ideas can seem to go nowhere in the absence of a committed and competent set of people. Not only should a new business venture have an able and motivated team of people with diverse skills and competencies, it also needs to allocate roles and responsibilities carefully and precisely. An ambiguous division of responsibilities within the team can spell business disaster especially in the case of lapses in communication. A venture should be run and managed only by people who have genuinely bought into and share the entrepreneurial vision.
A start-up venture critically depends on outside sources of funding to run its day-to-day operations. Procuring venture capital funding or business angels who put up with seed capital or expansion capital can be helpful and exciting. However, these investors have their own exit strategy, which typically follows after a strong period of growth of the company. Astute entrepreneurs should be mindful, however, that an excessive focus on growth in terms of sales might come in the way of the company delivering a product or service that is defined by the articulated or unarticulated needs of the buyer.
4. Conventional service providers
A business venture, by its very nature, faces a number of hurdles that do not necessarily have business solutions. These are the type of problems (legal, taxation etc.) that should not preoccupy and thereby eat into the limited time of the entrepreneur and her team. Assembling a competent team of allies in the form of patent lawyers, tax advisers, and market researchers allows the entrepreneur to focus on the business side of the venture.
5. The product or service
A business needs to, in the ultimate analysis, fulfill unmet demands of the market or create a demand for its product/service that was not articulated so far. This is, however, not the same as creating a great product or coming up with a great idea. A great idea can lead to the creation of a great standalone product that nevertheless does not provide a great customer value. The focus, therefore, must always be on delivering a clear value proposition to the customer that leaves them satisfied.
One way to test whether a great idea or product/service has the potential to satisfy customers' needs is through an assessment of your resources. As an entrepreneur, you should have a handle on how much resource (in terms of money, people and time) you can expend on developing the product and how it would impact profitability. Before your great idea can transform into a successful one, it has to do more than just deliver customer value and be feasible. It must also demonstrate or create a significant market size so that your business has future growth potential.
Jenny Q. Ta is the founder and CEO of Sqeeqee, the first-of-its-kind social networthing site. Launched in 2014, the site gives individuals, businesses, celebrities, politicians, and non-profit organizations the ability to monetize their profiles in unprecedented ways.
Ms. Ta is a seasoned entrepreneur with two successful ventures to her credit. She was the Founder and CEO of Titan Securities, a full service investment firm that was acquired in 2005. Prior to founding Titan Securities she was the driving force behind Vantage Investments, a full-service broker-dealer start-up she founded in 1999 at the age of 27 and grew to a quarter of a billion dollars in assets.
Overall, she has more than 20 years of experience as a senior executive in sales, marketing and finance.
Jenny is an author whose book, Wall Street Cinderella, will launch in 2014 detailing her escape from Vietnam during the war and her path to success from welfare to Wall Street. As a self-made millionaire by the time she was 27, the book will serve as a roadmap for women looking at a business career.