In the past few months I published several blogs related to entrepreneurship:
- Advice for Entrepreneurial Success: Opportunity Seeking, Feasibility Studies, and a Viable Mindset
- What is Entrepreneurship?
- Entrepreneurship, Social Entrepreneurship, and Impact Investing.
- Serving Entrepreneurs in Distressed Communities.
- Ecosystems Have Powerful Lessons for Supporting Entrepreneurs.
- What Makes for a Healthy Entrepreneurial Ecosystem?
- Learn from the Best.
These blogs presented many ideas about how to facilitate entrepreneurship, especially to foster upward mobility. Researchers and various types of commentators have taken different approaches to understanding entrepreneurship and suggesting ways to foster it. Macro views include organizing the environment (such as an ecosystem) and providing incentives such as tax breaks or favorable financing. Other macro views and strategies consider cultures within geographic locations that favor entrepreneurs. Some locations, such as silicon valley and large cities such as Los Angeles, Philadelphia, New York and Boston, provide robust capital markets that fund entrepreneurs.
Other researchers and commentators suggest entrepreneurial success comes from family traits, the entrepreneurs ability to seek opportunities and recognize feasible business ventures. The entrepreneur’s core competencies and abilities to manage risks account for his or her success.
My view is that the most important trait and skill of a successful entrepreneur is opportunity seeking. People who constantly seek opportunities and pursue them tend to be more successful than those who don’t have this mindset, skills, or traits. The skill is to recognize an opportunity that can scale, avoids retaliation from larger more well-funded competitors, satisfy real market needs, is sensitive to the customer adoption process, and may even exploit established company weaknesses.
I also suggested that location matters (see the two blogs: Thick Markets: A Method for Creating Location Advantage; Location to Gain Advantage). Simple questions will help make the point: Why are you located where you are? Does the location help you to be successful?
There is a paradox in these statements. The main paradox is that to create upward mobility, entrepreneurs do not always get to choose their locations. The location is at issue – it needs development. So, the location may pose a disadvantage, yet the entrepreneur is encouraged to pursue his or her business ideas anyway. This means that successful entrepreneurs in disadvantaged locations may need to do things to overcome the disadvantage. For example, locating in a food market in a food desert may mean that food supply may be difficult. This supply challenge may mean that the food market entrepreneur may need to invest in its supply chain and retail locations. These investments are not unlike large companies entering emerging markets which have missing institutions and missing parts of the business ecosystem.
This is the last blog for now that I’ll write on entrepreneurship. Hopefully you have enough information here and in the other blogs to stimulate your thinking about becoming an entrepreneur, supporting entrepreneurs, or at the least, having respect for the enormous challenges these individuals face.