Okay, it’s that time of year again where lists of how to close out the year right, get a jump on the next year, and how to leverage the holiday social scene pop-up like… well they are everywhere. So much so that it forces your brain to tune out and everything starts to sound like the teacher from Charlie Brown fame.
So it shocked me when this one 2012 list flipped my brain switch back to on. And, all it took was the concept of put a business idea into action in under 54-hours. For me it really wasn’t the specific business ideas, you can check them out here, but the mindset of the founders of Startup Weekend, Marc Nager, Clint Nelsen and Franck Nouyrigat. Nager summed it up best by stating that “Filing an LLC, pitching to an investor, and creating a 20-page business plan is absolutely the wrong way to go about launching a startup. The first steps arefinding a team and validating your idea. Without these two things, you just have dreamers.”
If you are a regular, our have seen some of my posts over the last few years, you will realize that my thinking around the best way to start a new business has dramatically evolved. Being a MBA, Business Professor, and recovering Engineer it should be no surprise that I was very much in the camp of following a methodical business-planning regimen. Spend the time researching the issue, defining your assumptions, and determining how to best fund the venture.
The fact of the matter is that this is still a great process if (and that’s a big if) the concern has a significant track record or is a ‘business format franchise’. Ventures of this ilk are market tested. There is an abundance of historical information that can be directly applied to the business forecasting process of a new entity. If you’re eyeing a venture that doesn’t fall into one of these two categories I believe that there is a better path for you. But first we need a definition.
Entrepreneurship –The management science and art of crafting an entity designed to create a new product or service under conditions of extreme uncertainty.(1)
If your concept doesn’t fall into the above mentioned frameworks congratulations you’re an entrepreneur. And for you the better path is a resultant of what many are calling the ‘Lean Startup’ movement. Like all movements it’s not one definitive piece of work but the combination of many shared experiences and insights. In addition to my work with nascent businesses, the three books that have most influenced my thinking in this area have been Business Model Generation, The Four Steps to the Epiphany, and Lean Startup. If you would like to learn more about my current views on how to navigate an entrepreneurial path I just finished a series titled 5 Keys to Starting A Successful Venture for my institutions blog.
P.S. I know some of you may disagree with me; I’d love to get your feedback.
(1) Based on the explanation of an entrepreneur developed by Eric Ries in “The Lean Startup