3 Keys to Entrepreneurial Success
May 18, 2011 2 Comments
I am now a small business owner. That is a weird, but exciting, sentence to type. If you would have asked me my freshman year what I would be doing when I graduated, “small business owner” is probably not something you would have heard me say. However, what began as a business plan project for Strategic Management (the senior capstone class for business students at JBU) has developed into a real-life company called Agricultural Food Systems (AFS).
At the end of the school year, another one of the other seniors who was on one of the very successful JBU teams that got 2nd place at the 2011 Donald W. Reynolds Arkansas Governor’s Cup and I were asked to share some advice with the JBU students who will be taking the Strategic Management class next year. As I was thinking about what to share, I came up with “Three P’s” that are essential to the success of any entrepreneur: Product, People, and Passion.
The place that many entrepreneurs start when forming a new company is with a product or service. For some companies this is a brand new product, but for most it is a modification on existing product/service or the creation of a business around an existing invention (as was the case for AFS). As a new entrepreneur, it is important to find a product that meets a need in the marketplace whether it is a new frozen yogurt bar like Goody’s in Fort Smith, AR or a company that seeks to transform the way food quality is measured like AFS. It is important to do some market research before launching the business to make sure that a market exists and that you aren’t trying to force the product/service on potential customers. The initial product/service should be chosen carefully, since it will be the foundation of the company and what all future lines will stem from.
In addition to having a good product, an entrepreneur needs to surround himself with great people. People are essential to the success of any business no matter what its size. Up to this point with AFS, I have been blessed to not only have three amazing co-workers, but also a strong and experienced supporting cast of professors, family, and business advisory board members. The people that you choose to include in the process of starting your company and then running it are critical to its success. For many entrepreneurs, assembling a Business Advisory Board with individuals that have experience in banking, entrepreneurship, management, and the industry being entered can provide insight and advice that can save a lot of time and money.
The final, and most important, key to entrepreneurial success is passion. An entrepreneur has to have more than a desire to just make money; he or she must also be passionate about the new venture. Passion is the driving force behind entrepreneurship. It keeps the person going during long nights, hard times, and low revenue periods. In addition, entrepreneurial passion inspires the individual to keep thinking of new products, services, and ideas that can be incorporated into a current business venture or saved for another day.
Each of these three elements is an important part of any entrepreneurial adventure. For a new company to be successful, whether it is a business plan team for the Strategic Management class at JBU or a seasoned entrepreneur beginning another venture, the “Three P’s” (Product, People, Passion) must all be present.
Learn It. Love It. Live It.
[image credit: Simply CVR on Flickr]