EIGHT Secrets of Entrepreneurship
There is a fine line between being an entrepreneur and being enterprising. The following is a road map to being on the right side.
Entrepreneurship is difficult, especially in countries like Turkey where the culture of entrepreneurship has just recently started to develop. You develop an idea, and in that moment, you feel as though you have found the best opportunity in the world. You forget about all the problems associated with your young age and limited experience in the market; all you have is the excitement of high hopes. With this excitement, you dive into your idea. At the end of great efforts, devotion, and excitement, you find yourself at a point completely off from your target. Being a member of Dragon’s Den program, which supports young entrepreneurs, I have come across hundreds of entrepreneurs and hundreds of new ideas. In my experiences, I have found that many of them go through certain difficulties because they all make similar mistakes. In light of my entrepreneurial personality (which I have maintained for many years) and the experiences I have accumulated, I wish to mention eight very important points for entrepreneurs.
THE IDEA IS IMPORTANT, BUT: Most of the time, there is a mistaken belief that a good idea is all that is needed. A good idea is important, but most of the time, it is not enough on its own. It is important to implement and put the idea into action. For example, if you don’t have sufficient know-how or a reliable partner for implementing a new web project, it will not be easy to create that project.
FALLING IN LOVE WITH THE IDEA: Most of the time, entrepreneurs fall in love with their ideas. Love is blind; hence, they don’t research their ideas in full, so much so that, at times, I have encountered entrepreneurs who presented Voice over IP technology as if it were something totally new.
FOCUSING ON THE MODEL, NOT ON THE PRODUCT: Many potential entrepreneurs that I encounter, while capable of explaining their product in intricate detail, can give no information on the structure of the market, details of costs, and where they want to take their business. A business plan is very important at this point. It is necessary to have some ideas on all stages from organization to marketing, production, and financing, and to start off by making a business plan to form a long-term road map.
ENTERPRISE, NOT ENTERPRISING: It is very important to know your potential and inventory during entrepreneurship. You have to carefully weigh what you can and cannot do. Otherwise, what you achieve is not an enterprise, it is being enterprising, and that does not yield results.
THE IMPORTANCE OF SCALE ECONOMIES: It is very important to assess enterprises within their own socio-economic contexts. An idea or enterprise that appeals to a few people does not have the potential to grow. Sometimes we come across entrepreneurs that bring along products liked by the family members and neighbors. However, they do not consider the scale that the product can reach, or what kind of leverage scale will bring to it.
TREND ANALYSIS: Nowadays, foreseeing the expectations of the consumers is the biggest advantage in competitiveness. Because of this, following the trends (foreseeing what could possibly happen) is of great importance. Repeating things that have already been done, pursuing works that have already completed their useful lifetimes, and being a “me too” entrepreneur are among the most common mistakes made. These must be avoided.
THE ALLURE OF TECHNOLOGY: In an enterprise, the business model is everything: it is the road map, the life jacket. Unfortunately, entrepreneurs are often so taken away by the beauty of the ideas and technology that they never think enough about the financial, operational, and rational aspects of the project. Never forget that many projects that look good on paper are bound to get stuck in practice.
PAY ATTENTION TO PATENTING: Patent applications are a sensitive process. Owning a patent does not make you untouchable. This is why the patenting process needs to be managed very carefully. In some cases, in order to defend my personal applications for patenting rights, I have had to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars, and had to drop them just for that reason. Getting a patent for each idea does not make you the sole owner of those ideas.