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  • In the mid-nineties, a former investment banker declared that he was going to become the world’s biggest online retailer.

  • A university dropout tells us that he will show the consumers which products they want and then step by step revolutionizes the markets for personal computers, music and cell phones.

  • And this student digs, a young man designs a comparison portal for female students, which is now the biggest communication platform in the world, connecting millions of people.

  • And an author, who, by his own account, is hindered by dyslexia, becomes a pioneer of commercial space travel.

  • Are Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Apple’s Steve Jobs, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Virgin Galactic’s Richard Branson extraordinary people?

  • Are they Soldiers of fortune? Magicians? Rare super-entrepreneurs who change our lives dramatically?

  • The purpose of research around entrepreneurship is to get to the bottom of this mystery and to explore the seemingly magical about successful entrepreneurs.

  • Successful entrepreneurs are not necessarily male dropouts and secret geniuses. No!

  • The potential for entrepreneurship is in each of us.

  • The entrepreneur we want to send on a journey into an uncertain future is female and neither a visionary nor a dropout.

  • She doesn’t have much money either and no sudden brilliant idea that she puts into action purposefully.

  • And still, she masters the uncertainty like our super-entrepreneurs.

  • Because she also uses the entrepreneurial method, consciously or unconsciously.

  • The entrepreneurial method? What’s that?

  • If Alice were a manager she would ask herself: what are my goals and which means do I need to reach them?

  • By contrast, the entrepreneurial method begins with the unique means a person already has.

  • These consist of their identity, competences, and contacts.

  • Beginning with these means, one imagines several possible goals to solve specific problems.

  • It’s like cooking without a recipe. The super-entrepreneur doesn’t choose a specific recipe and buys the necessary ingredients.

  • No, instead, she could look what she can find the fridge and then makes up various kinds of possible creations!

  • With entrepreneurship, it’s not the goals we focus on in the beginning but the means.

  • By acting without a single, fixed goal, a Richard Branson is able to imagine a whole portfolio of goals and possible ventures.

  • After all, he founded Virgin Records and Virgin Airlines before Virgin Galactic.

  • What’s also important: Business ideas don’t originate in the shower, but develop in multiple numbers when applying the entrepreneurial method.

  • The idea is the easiest part in the founding process.

  • And waiting for theright ideacan lead to waiting forever.

  • Our entrepreneur is already equipped with everything she needs for founding a business.

  • She just has to get going and design the future. But there’s a lack of money!

  • Not if Alice acts according to the successful method of the super-entrepreneurs.

  • Even Jeff Bezos started on a shoestring and funded Amazon with his parentsguarantees, supplier loans and overdrawn credit cards.

  • In other words, with his available means. Instead of trying to define the expected return like a manager, our entrepreneur defines her affordable loss.

  • Affordable in a financial, psychological, and social respect.

  • Instead of going on vacation, she starts a venture. In small, explorative steps she employs the available meansher money, her time and other people’s trust.

  • If she fails, she fails at an early stage and at acceptable costs for her.

  • With her stock of means, her subsequently conceivable portfolio of goals and her affordable loss, Alice has all the prerequisites to embark on her entrepreneurial journey.

  • But wait! There are other people who are interested in Alice and her venture.

  • Surely they want to steal her idea, so Alice shouldn’t talk about her goals under any circumstances! Wrong!

  • What is she going to protect if she, herself, doesn’t know exactly what it’s going to look like?

  • She has to talk about her venture to extend her stock of means and her portfolio of goals.

  • Unlike in management, entrepreneurship is not about a win-lose situation along the lines ofWho gets the largest piece of cake”.

  • Neither is it about a win-win situation: “Let’s make the cake bigger together!”

  • In the entrepreneurial present with an uncertain future, the cake has not even been baked yet.

  • Those who want to join become partners, bring in their means and decide together which cake to bake, the common shared goal.

  • They negotiate the future together and co-create the products.

  • By the way, don’t we need a business plan with a clear understanding of where the journey is headed?

  • An itinerary like that can be helpful, yes, but sometimes it prevents the journey to India from ending up in America, the promised land.

  • So I’m sailing aimlessly in one direction or the other, depending on the wind?

  • But entrepreneurship is a crapshoot! Granted, luck is one element in the formula of success.

  • But if I act according to the entrepreneurial method, I improve my odds.

  • It’s about a learnable routine in dealing with the unexpected. Learnable? But aren’t you born to be an entrepreneur?

  • After all, entrepreneurial success is rooted in the genes!

  • Wrong! The entrepreneurial method of our super-entrepreneurs can be applied by any of us. Everyone has a unique stock of means.

  • It’s what we make of it that determines the success; entrepreneurs are made, not born.

  • Even Richard Branson has had more failures than successes in his ventures.

  • Success was only possible by learning from his failures, which prepared him for the uncertainty that awaits him on his journey in his space ship.

  • Maybe Alice from the entrepreneurial wonderland will be among his first partners.

  • Not as a passenger, but as a collaborator in creating the future of the world we live in.

  • Entrepreneurs aren’t prophets. They don’t have to predict the future. They create it.

  • Ready for your own entrepreneurial journey? Here’s a short summary:

  • First, entrepreneurship is not an extraordinary phenomenon, but lies dormant in each of us as an entrepreneurial potential to act.

  • Second, according to the entrepreneurial method, I start with the available meanswho I am, what do I know, whom do I knownot with mystical goals or fictitious ideas.

  • So, there’s no reason to wait!

  • Third, as an entrepreneur, I don’t submit my actions under one great idea.

  • No! on the basis of my stock of means I constantly develop my imagination about various possible goals for the solution of specific problems.

  • Fourth, instead of an expected return, what do I want to earn, theupside potential”,

  • I define an affordable loss, thedownside potentialand ask: how much is it worth to me, how much can I afford to lose?

  • Fifth, I don’t keep my ideas secret, but exchange my goals on the basis of my means with others.

  • The business idea is the cheapest (there are so many ideas!); my stock of means is the most valuable thing in the entrepreneurial process.

  • So, sixth, “co-creationdevelops with the additional means and the new goals of the partners.

  • Seventh, business plans most likely do not reduce uncertainty, but surely prevent reaching unplanned, yet desirable goals.

  • Eighth, luck is a part of entrepreneurial success.

  • But with the entrepreneurial method I turn the wheel of fortune more often.

  • Ninth, were not born as entrepreneurs but can learn to deal with uncertainty.

  • Tenth, if you co-create the future as an entrepreneur you don’t have to predict it.

  • Science has many parallels to entrepreneurship. Scientists also experiment to get to the bottom of something new or to create something new.

  • Our entrepreneurAliceis called Saras Sarasvathy in entrepreneurship research.

  • She is the discoverer of the entrepreneurial method.

  • Other researchers contribute their means and goals to comprehend the phenomenon of entrepreneurship, where new things develop under great uncertainty.

  • What will the entrepreneurial society of the future look like? Don’t wait for it - co-create it!

In the mid-nineties, a former investment banker declared that he was going to become the world’s biggest online retailer.

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The 10 Myths of Entrepreneurship

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    Zenn posted on 2015/03/07
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