Month: March 2014

Vision And Execution, But Where Is Direction?

An entrepreneur must have vision, they say… Vision is nothing without execution, they say… What they don’t (need to) say is that direction is crucial for getting anywhere. To go from idea to execution, you need direction. Direction is what connects vision to execution, it makes your idea come to life in several successive steps. You absolutely need it to know how to get from one step to the next.

Idea is a plain description or image, a mental visualization, while execution is a task or result, a checklist that’s been checked. Direction is knowing where you want to go and what you need to do, it’s a plan with clear steps that’s in your head, it’s a checklist that needs to be checked. That’s what makes the real difference between success and failure. Does that make an idea any less important? No.

It’s important to know where you’re going and also how you’re going, but we often forget about how to get there (which is understandable since we practically depend on our GPS for getting around). However – and somewhat unfortunately – a GPS won’t guide us to our final destination in entrepreneurship. If you want to achieve success, map out how you’re going to lead your startup there from early on.

Entrepreneurship is a chaotic ride with ups and downs all along the way; it’s all about the journey, isn’t it? That doesn’t mean we can’t choose which roads we take, what turns we make, and when we need a pit stop. Think about direction as well as vision and execution. Be prepared for everything. Readiness is a virtue!

Will you stop to ask around for questions or do you have a road map?

Advertisements

Entrepreneurship, The Ultimate Man-Made Tool

Some say entrepreneurship is a trait you’re either born with or not, others that it’s a skill anyone can learn. I think it can be even simpler: entrepreneurship is a tool. Just like our early ancestors before us developed tools made of stone, we too have developed a modern, more complex tool. We use entrepreneurship to improve life around us. A tool, contrary to a trait or skill, can be used by anyone for anything.

Entrepreneurship is like a Swiss-Army knife. It’s adaptable: you can use to build a business from scratch or to lead a project within your company. It’s upgradable: you can build upon it and improve it as you go, adding new features every day. It’s durable: you can use it over and over again, endlessly, and it will not let you down if you use it properly. Now pick up that tool and use it for everything, not just business. It’s handy and that’s the power of entrepreneurship.

How will you put this tool to good use?

Passion, First And Foremost

I think passion is the most important trait for an entrepreneur. Without it, a team will not follow, investors will not join, users will not pay. Passion is all that matters and success depends on enough passion: whether you muster enough passion for your startup or whether you garner enough passion from your team. Passion alone won’t make or break a startup but it can determine its success.

Most will say that the main predictor of success for any startup is product/market fit where the focus lies on having a product that satisfies the market or founder/market fit where the important thing is having knowledge of the market; it’s not that I disagree or dismiss these concepts – they are important and I believe both can (and should) be worked and improved on – but I think we need a new predictor called passion/market fit. It looks like this: a founder or founding team must be passionate enough to satisfy the market.

In theory, it will predict whether there’s enough interest from the people involved to get the idea off the ground, before you even think about product- or founder/market fit (which you should, by the way, so I’ll write a post about that later on). It will determine whether you’ll have success in moving to the next stage of building a product and growing your startup. Knowing this right from the get-go is key to surviving in the future, or shifting your focus.

Passion is what makes you believe, try, fail, persist, conquer. It’s the best driver of success, it’s the strongest motivation an entrepreneur and his team can have, it’s a dream worth chasing. Passion is a lifetime hobby, an endless energy source and a personal religion.

What dream are you chasing?

CVdoo: From Paper To Pitch

Today’s the perfect day to talk about CVdoo. It seems like only yesterday all I had was an idea and some notes jotted down, but today, no more than three months later, I’m set to pitch CVdoo at the Innovation Masterclass organized by the European Young Innovators Forum. It should be a great opportunity to showcase the project and get feedback from experienced people like Xavier Damman (xdamman), co-founder of Storify, Fabien Petitcolas, Director of Innovation at Microsoft Europe, and Bruno Wattenbergh, founder and CEO of ImpulseBrussels, and it’s a major step for my startup.

CVdoo aims to create a better connection between jobseekers and recruiters through video. The idea came from my desire to make my own video CV and my inability to produce one. This fascination inspired a curiosity for how successful video CV’s are made and led to the realization that the majority of video CV’s online – as well as tools available to build your own – are, simply put, bad. This brought about the question as to why and so I set out to analyze the problem and find a solution.

Once I had an idea, I started talking to recruiters to hear their opinions and reactions, which was easy because I knew people in the recruitment industry, and I had an overall great response. I knew I was onto something so I started looking for a partner; I found my co-founder on Westartup, a community for entrepreneurs. Then it was time to get to work: we set up a landing page and ran an online survey. Unfortunately, the survey didn’t go far; it proved much more difficult than expected to get answers so I scrapped it to start again from scratch. However, I managed to conduct a couple of very insightful, formal interviews with recruiters to get their thoughts on paper and my co-founder is now hard at work on a prototype.

Regardless of our startup’s status, I thought we had a pretty innovative idea and it couldn’t hurt to get some visibility at a conference so I applied. A week later I received confirmation we’d been selected and I couldn’t have been happier; on the other hand, I was also nervous. Of course, we’d have to push ourselves. We still had no logo, let alone a pitch deck. I took some time to draw a logo by hand and eventually got something that looked nice but that was also simple enough for me to make on the computer. I worked on the pitch deck for a few days until I found a compelling way to present CVdoo and, finally, I rehearsed and practiced at home.

There isn’t a perfect way to go from paper to life and there isn’t a shortcut either, but you stack up together enough little things and you start getting somewhere. Today’s pitch is no more than the result of the work put in during the last couple of months and tomorrow’s success won’t simply come knocking on our door unless we keep it up.

Push yourself to get results.

_

by Diego Palmeiro
http://diegopalmeiro.wordpress.com

Everything Entrepreneurship

We’re all entrepreneurs in one way or another. We constantly fix things, change things, take risks and reap rewards. Whether it’s in life, family, career or sports. It’s just the human way. Successful entrepreneurs generally take a hands-on approach towards life. Problems can be solved and the rest can be improved. It’s this mindset that sets them apart.

Entrepreneurship can be applied to anything and everything in life. Freelancers and independent workers act like one-man businesses; politicians also act like entrepreneurs – they campaign for their ideals and causes; in the corporate world, it’s called intrapreneurship when an employee undertakes a venture within the company – this is common when people feel the risk is too great to set off and start a business on their own. Generally, entrepreneurs tackle big challenges so we associate entrepreneurship with big things.

But it’s the little challenges, the everyday things, that make us better, that make us grow. Some of those might turn into businesses and eventually into success; some won’t. What’s important is what you put into it and what you get from it. Doing even the smallest daily tasks with a can-do attitude turns you into a dedicated and passionate leader, solving the tiniest problems with an out-of-the-box perspective helps you become a creative and innovative problem-solver, and making the slightest improvements in your life makes you an analytical thinker. It starts there but is so much more too, and it all adds up to entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurship is in everything so embrace the challenges you face. Entrepreneurship is everywhere so open yourself up to the opportunities around you. When you start doing that, you’ll see how simple and easy being an entrepreneur can be.

What do you think about everything entrepreneurship?