Practical Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a great way to make the world a better place. Entrepreneurship creates jobs, which lessens financial stress, creates better lifestyles, and quite literally puts food and goods on family tables.  Oh yah—it is a lot of fun too!

I love the subject of entrepreneurship! So after reading a lot on the subject, and being part of several ventures, I thought I would start a blog that shares some things. Hopefully, they are helpful to a budding entrepreneur.

The intention of this blog, and the information provided, is to exchange extremely practical and/or useful information. I don’t know about you, but I get tired of reading entrepreneurial books that are all about the psychological factors of whether you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur.  You know what I mean e.g. take this mini test, score the test, and if you don’t score XYZ then you’re probably not cut out to be an entrepreneur; or you have to be willing to sacrifice life and limb to be an entrepreneur; or my personal favorite — only one in a thousand are meant to be an entrepreneur.

I like to give budding entrepreneurs a little more credit.  They know that it isn’t easy to start a successful business. They don’t need motivation or discouragement.  They need practical “hands on” advice.

Focus on what is certain

If this book teaches you anything it should be to focus on what can be controlled in entrepreneurship rather than what cannot.

A methodical approach starts with a Top-Down approach to entrepreneurship rather than a bottom-up approach. That is to stay, instead of starting with an idea, an entrepreneur should start with a need. Analyze that need, then develop a technology or method that improves or solves that need.

Here is an example: When Jeff Bezos started Amazon he took a Top-Down methodical approach: knowing that the world wide web would transform the way people do business, something most people by 1994 started to understand, he looked at the top 20 mail order businesses, and asked himself which could be conducted more efficiently over the Internet than by traditional means. Books were the commodity for which no comprehensive mail order catalogue existed, because any such catalogue would be too big to mail — perfect for the Internet, which could share a vast database with a virtually limitless number of people.

He flew to Los Angeles the very next day to attend the American Booksellers’ Convention and learned everything he could about the book business. He found that the major book wholesalers had already compiled electronic lists of their inventory. All that was needed was a single location on the Internet, where the book-buying public could search the available stock and place orders directly. Bezos’s employers weren’t prepared to proceed with such a venture, and Bezos knew the only way to seize the opportunity was to go into business for himself. It would mean sacrificing a secure position in New York, but he and his wife, Mackenzie, decided to make the leap.

Jeff and Mackenize flew to Texas on Independence Day weekend and picked up a 1988 Chevy Blazer (a gift from Mike Bezos) to make the drive to Seattle, where they would have ready access to the book wholesaler Ingram, and to the pool of computer talent Jeff would need for his enterprise. Mackenzie drove while Jeff typed a business plan. The company was called Amazon, for the seemingly endless South American river with its numberless branches.

They set up shop in a two-bedroom house, with extension cords running to the garage. Jeff set up three Sun micro-stations on tables he’d made out of doors from Home Depot for less than $60 each. When the test site was up and running, Jeff asked 300 friends and acquaintances to test it. The code worked seamlessly across different computer platforms. On July 16, 1995, Bezos opened his site to the world, and told his 300 beta testers to spread the word. In 30 days, with no press, Amazon had sold books in all 50 states and 45 foreign countries. By September, it had sales of $20,000 a week. Bezos and his team continued improving the site, introducing such unheard-of features as one-click shopping, customer reviews, and e-mail order verification.

Jeff had told his original investors there was a 70 percent chance they would lose their entire investment, but his parents signed on for $300,000, a substantial portion of their life savings. “We weren’t betting on the Internet,” his mother has said. “We were betting on Jeff.”

1 http://www.achievement.org/autodoc/page/bez0bio-1

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