Entrepreneurial academic Howard Frederick notes that entrepreneurs “blend imaginative and creative thinking with a systematic, logical process ability”. In this way, successful entrepreneurs mitigate risk and capitalise on opportunity when driving a concept into reality.
Research is required to understand the market – demand and supply, longevity of a venture, anticipated trends. Gleaning insights through research, experience and knowledge places the ‘entrepreneur’ in a position of advantage. A critical component of this research is in understanding the market (customers) and the industry (competitors and peers) its history, longevity, potential innovations and external influences.
Working to launch a presence in an established market is risky and requires a significant opportunity to offer differentiation.
For consideration, a static marketplace often lacks innovation – a new entity offering a more desirable product or service that produces significantly better outcomes for clients will drive market evolution.
Assessment is required to measure where the idea fits, whether it is viable, the risks and the potential into the future. Not everything we start ends up fitting with our businesses later on…. strategy is a deliberate plan to align a concept or business idea with the opportunities and threats posed by its environment.
Risks can compromise or destroy a perfectly viable idea and impact on scope, schedules and cost.
Planning is required to tailor an approach to enter the market; meet costs; manage risks; capitalise on opportunities, resource the venture, set milestones and confirm goals.
Benchmarking is required to determine how the plan compares with current market forces. This ensures a standard as well as identifies delivery of Apply the social innovation model as described by Frederick et al to deliver a product or service which is more effective, efficient and has greater longevity.
Refining is the process of bringing all the above elements together to deliver a business plan that considers the external and internal forces impacting on a concept. This component in the equation recognises the elements which trigger modification for ideas.
An active approach to positioning helps define the proposed opportunity’s ‘point of difference’ in the marketplace – the brand. Clear articulation of the brand, values, goals and objectives helps the opportunity stand apart from competitors. This also provides the opportunity to determine who will be responsible for the ‘face’ of the business – building relationships, reputation and credibility. This may not be the creator of the initiative – instead a person with strong engagement and positioning skills. Additionally, the resource identified as most appropriate to build relationships and position the organisation is well placed to recognise new opportunities and capitalise on them.
Conviction and action seem to be the simplest part of the equation but often are the biggest roadblocks to success. Even if all the testing and planning in the world confirms the idea is a valid opportunity without conviction, experience, capacity and actioning it will not become a reality.