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The Passion of an Entrepreneur May 26, 2006

Posted by Amanda in A Better Mouse Trap.
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So, for my first on topic post, I decided to start on Entrepreneurship.  I have been an entrepreneur since I was about the age of 4 years old and I had the best Marketing plan there can be. It was based on cuteness and the utter inability of parents to say no when their  presents a rock, colored with crayons, in exchange for a couple of those shiney things called quarters.  Granted, the niche market was saturated pretty quickly. But my dad still has one of my rocks on his desk at work which he displays proudly as a paperweight.

Through the years, I've tried many other things.  From marketing fresh fertilizer from our horse farm (Happy Healthy Gardens never passed the passing around flyers stage.  It seems it was undermined by my competitors (Mom and Dad) giving away the product for free.  Darn that pentration pricing!) to selling my brother's old baseball and football cards.  As I've gotten older, I've focused more on the planning stages and less on the implementation.  I've written several business plans, but never taken that final step of investing my full energy and time into one.

Scott Burkett has some great ideas on filtering your entrepreneurship, and evaluating which are good and which are … well, not so good, in his blog Pothole on the Infobahn.  He starts at step 1:

Stage 1: Wouldn’t it be great if … ?

This seems to happen to me at least 2 or 3 times a week. Every so often, I even go through a phase where it happens almost daily. I’m driving down the road and all of a sudden I blurt out a string of expletives to myself, usually prefaced with the word “holy.” If I happen to be with someone else when I have such an epiphany, you get something a little more in line with coherent English: “wouldn’t it be great if they did x?”. This is the seed. The nucleus of all things entrepreneurial. The birth of the big idea.

As for exit criteria, most ideas never pass through this stage to reach stage two. It’s one thing to come up with original ideas, but it’s another thing altogether to muster enough energy, desire, and passion to drive them along.

And then here is where I usually end up before I stash the plan away in my box of business materials:

Stage 5: Hmmm … how can I pull this thing together?

By the time an idea reaches the final stage, the entrepreneur is examining the launch process. What resources do I have available? How can I build this thing? How can I bring this to market? How do I capitalize this operation? What does the management team look like? What are my strategies for partnering, growth, exit, etc.

Some people create business plans in this stage, some do it later. In either case, it is vitally important to have an understanding, even upstairs, as to what your roadmap for success potentially looks like.

When you exit this stage, you are going through a rite of passage. The idea is original, validated by people you trust, seems like it could be sustainable, and you’ve now made a conscious decision to pursue it.

As a simple, personal benchmark, I’d say that for every 100 ideas that I have, only one or two will actually make it this far.

But I never reach the final elusive step 6, where you actually register your business at the local clerk's office.  Where do you normally end up?  How many new business ideas would you say you have in a week?  Remember, you have to have an idea and the passion to implement it to ever reach that elusive stage 6.

Tags: Entrepreneurship, Scott Burkett

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