Do you find yourself thinking about a specific social problem or issue? Do you see a gap or void that is not being met? Are you tired of working for someone else, or maybe you don’t feel appreciated at your current place of employment? This is something that many have expressed or gone through once or twice in their lives. Yet, many continue to go through the motions of having a 9-5 job. However, maybe you were made to do something else. Maybe you have some great ideas and are finally ready to launch and start your own business, organization, or nonprofit. If that is the case this article is for you. I am talking to you about strategic entrepreneurship.
What is strategic entrepreneurship? Dr. Mike Haynie of Syracuse University states that entrepreneurship is “the practice of starting new organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities.” In other words it’s seeing a problem and having the desire to solve it. Strategic entrepreneurs see value in solving problems, and do whatever it takes to solve them. These men and woman are driven by a burning desire because they know that their ideas, creativity, and innovation are needed for humanity.
Who can be an entrepreneur? Many people read the previous paragraph and probably counted themselves out from the entrepreneurial life. But you shouldn't. I got the opportunity to spend nine days at Syracuse University’s Entrepreneurship Bootcamp Program for Veterans with disabilities (EBV), and it was proven to us through research that these characteristics do not drive entrepreneurship: intelligence (having a certain IQ), being of a certain gender, risk-taker, or family history. What you do need is determination, vision, creativity, self-esteem, a good work ethic, and a passion to serve others. As you decide to pursue an entrepreneurial venture there are certain things you need to consider. Let’s take a look.
What ideas do you have to solve a problem? The reality is that most people who try entrepreneurship will fail. Mainly because their ideas do not solve problems. On the contrary; someone was tired of washing clothes in the river and decided to invent the washing machine. Another person wanted to work at night, but could not because there wasn't any light after the sun went down, until a wise person came and invented a light bulb. Do you see my point? Entrepreneurs recognize a problem and also visualize a solution for it. What problem do you see in your community, industry, or country that has you awake at night? This is where your ideas should come from. Whatever you are passionate about; whatever you are great at; and whatever you have a burning aspiration to do in this world may very well be the solution to what we all need.
Who are your potential clients? No idea or problem is worth solving if you will not have customers or clients. If you do not have customers or clients you may very well have a hobby but not a business. Don’t get me wrong, it is great to have hobbies, it just isn't business or entrepreneurship. Strategic entrepreneurs go an extra mile when launching a new business, product, or service. They check to see if their idea is truly valuable. Meaning, they research and conduct market analysis. This means that you will have to find out if people will actually pay you for your service or product; and if what you’re bringing to the market is so valuable that they cannot get your service or product anywhere else.
I can call myself a consultant or an executive coach all day, but unless I have clients and serve them well, I am just another guy with a dream. Entrepreneurs check to see what are the risks associated with their start-ups and do everything in their power to minimize them. Many would say that entrepreneurs are risk takers, but this couldn't be farther from the truth. Actually, strategic entrepreneurs have evaluated all risks, have discovered value where there wasn't any, and have leveraged an opportunity to bring to the society.
Final thoughts: Strategic entrepreneurs differentiate themselves from the bunch. They are able to brand themselves in such a way that people desire to pay for their service or product. Why? Because strategic entrepreneurs know it’s all about the customer. This is what is going to help you in your new entrepreneurial venture. What makes you different and your services or products unique? If you go along with the rest of the people complaisant with how things are around you, then entrepreneurship is not for you. But, if you think you have what it takes to launch an idea that will change humanity forever, don’t wait any longer, it may be time for you to stop saying “someone should really do something about that,” to saying, “I’m going to do something about this.” Who knows, you may be the next inventor of a great product or service, or someone who solves a great problem our society/community is facing. The world is waiting for you!