Posts Tagged ‘JOHN’

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If You Want Security, Choose Entrepreneurship

Prosperity and happiness would be easy to achieve if we could make correct decisions all day long. Imagine how efficient we would become if we never succumbed to seductive lies. How far could we go if we never got distracted by irrelevancies? How much would we profit if we never wasted time chasing what cannot be accomplished?

An exalted view of permanence and safety can be a constant source of erroneous choices. Human beings seem to suffer from a persistent cognitive distortion that makes them favour all things that are tall, wide, and long. If you think about it, you will find few exceptions to this misconception.

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Overcoming the Fundamental Obstacle to Entrepreneurship

Starting anything new entails risks and demands dedication. Whether you decide to take up playing piano, learning French, or building model aeroplanes, it is going to cost you money, time, and a fair amount of frustration due to inevitable beginner's mistakes.

Irrespective of the technical difficulties of your chosen endeavour, nothing can be compared to the level of commitment required to get a new business off the ground. The sheer number of different tasks that entrepreneurs must perform, from product development to marketing, is overwhelming.

On the other hand, entrepreneurship possesses three characteristics that render it uniquely inviting and reassuring. No other human activity offers these advantages to its practitioners. It is regrettable that many men and women graduate from their studies without knowledge of these facts:

1.- UNLIMITED POSSIBILITIES: If you spend some time doing research, you will find areas of enterprise that require little or no formal education and negligible start-up investment. By combining elements of your background, knowledge, and personal circumstances, you can come up with innovative business models. In today's global market, you can subcontract most routine tasks and concentrate on what you do best.

2.- UNLIMITED SCOPE: While many areas of human action impose strict rules to be followed, entrepreneurs remain free to choose their path. North or south, right or left, the business owner can follow his intuition without need to ask for permission. His only arbiters are his cash flow and his customers' satisfaction. Each entrepreneur determines his own speed and how he will break the barriers to his growth.

3.- UNLIMITED LEARNING: Business is the ideal field for the active mind. No discipline is foreign to the committed entrepreneur. The man who manages his own enterprise is a practical philosopher and a street intellectual. Entrepreneurs' tolerance of mistakes comes from their experience of dealing with all kinds of people. Creativity and resiliency are skills that entrepreneurs develop by facing daily challenges.

If the great potential of entrepreneurship is so well established, what explains that it is only able to attract a small part of the population? There is one reason, one major obstacle that prevents many from crossing the line. You can name it marketing, distribution, income generation, or simply sales.

The fear of being unable to achieve enough sales is what blocks 99% of those who entertain the idea of becoming entrepreneurs. Other obstacles pale in comparison to this one. If you succeed in getting over this initial hurdle, chances are that your business will be able to face whatever problems might come your way.

Compared with previous centuries, our digital era has not essentially changed the answer to the sales problem. In the field of commerce, like in any other area of life, action is the best antidote against paralysing fear.

Start small, try different things, see what works and what doesn't. Learn from mistakes, don't be discouraged, and ignore malevolent criticism. Take limited risks, follow market signals, be persistent, and you will eventually get it right.

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian's blog about rational living.

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Entrepreneurship: the Truth is in the Methodology

"To persevere in obstinate condolence is a course of impious stubbornness," wrote Shakespeare in his play Hamlet in the year 1601.

Persistence is often presented as the key element of entrepreneurial success, but this approach misses 99% of what makes a business viable and prosperous.

A man can waste his life digging holes on the ground without achieving any positive results.

No matter what goal we choose to pursue, our energies and resources will be always limited. Overemphasising persistence can lead to commercial arrogance and blindness.

Success is one, but errors can be infinite:

* Repeatedly asking people who are obviously not interested.
* Continue to use distribution channels that have proven inappropriate for certain products.
* Sticking to formats or contents that customers don't like.
* Adopting a communication strategy that alienates the best prospects for your business.

The key element of successful entrepreneurship has nothing to do with persistence. Starting and growing a business has little to do with stubbornness and everything with flexibility. It is a psychological trait that is stifled by rigidity and enhanced by change.

Entrepreneurship is a skill that has everything to do with perception and vision.

It is an ability that goes far beyond the sphere of commerce and that can be applied to all areas of human life, from cooking at home, to repairing old clothes.

If I had to give the shortest definition of entrepreneurship, I would propose the words "realistic double vision."

What sets entrepreneurs apart from the rest of the population is their capacity to link current problems to potential solutions that can be implemented realistically.

While many devote countless hours to complain about problems, the entrepreneurial mind is steadily focused on figuring out solutions and assessing their feasibility.

Such double vision, when exercised systematically, conveys powers resembling a higher level of awareness.

This skill, which is half-psychological and half-material, is the only characteristic present in all entrepreneurs. Double vision is a talent that dwarfs the role played by persistence.

The bridge between perceived problems and realistic solutions can be built in ten different ways:

1. ASSEMBLY: Changes in design that make products easier and cheaper to manufacture.
2. SPACE: Moving products from low-demand to high-demand territories.
3. PACKAGING: Repackaging old content into highly attractive new products.
4. HUMAN: Organizing or motivating people in ways that dramatically increase the value of their output.
5. TIME: Figuring out how to increase dramatically the speed of delivering a service.
6. MATERIALS: Replacing old materials by new ones that increase the perceived value of products.
7. STORY: Associating a story to products that renders them popular.
8. DISTRIBUTION: Finding more efficient ways to use existing distribution channels.
9. FINANCE: Identifying ways to fund a venture that previously seemed unfeasible.
10. MERGE OR SPLIT: Splitting, disaggregating, or uniting elements in ways that make them more valuable to consumers.

Entrepreneurs dig holes on the ground only if they have good reasons to believe that this is a feasible solution to a burning problem.

Their psychological energies and material resources are focused on identifying viable responses to perceived opportunities.

I propose "realistic double vision" as optimal methodology to define, teach, and develop entrepreneurship, or as Shakespeare put it in Hamlet, "making more matter with less art."

JOHN VESPASIAN writes about rational living. He has resided in New York, Madrid, Paris, and Munich. His stories reflect the values of entrepreneurship, tolerance, and self-reliance. See John Vespasian's blog about rational living.

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The Universal Ethics Of Entrepreneurship

There is a Portuguese riddle that asks you to guess which being grows rapidly during its youth, takes 18 years to reach adulthood, usually lives to celebrate its 70th birthday, is able to survive adverse conditions, and produces sufficient wealth to feed a family.

In Portugal, a school kid who already knows the answer will smile at you and point his finger at a poster of an oak tree on the wall of his classroom. On the other hand, if you ask the same question during an evening course at a business school in Lisbon, students are likely to give you a different response. "What you mean is an entrepreneur," they will tell you.

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