An entrepreneur is someone who sees a need and finds a solution for it. In doing so, the person in question creates a product that they are proud of, and which they know that other people will love as well. However, even if you love your product, you still need to consider growth and profits!
If you want to be a successful entrepreneur, you need to love your business.
When I started my first business, it was nothing more than drawing screenshots at a nursing station in Duke Hospital. After I got done with my scrawls, I knew that I wanted to be a businessperson.
This passion of course asked a lot of me. I had to figure out, for example, that it took more than a good attitude and a vision to be in business. Customers wanted different things and getting a contract didn’t end the work but just began it. I also needed to learn to coordinate plenty of different employees and to think about how much customer satisfaction I could leverage for the amount of work I wanted to put in.
However, one of the most important things I ever learned was that while loving the product was important, it was not enough. I could infect my employees and my customers with my enthusiasm, but they still needed things like follow-through and great service. I also needed to be constantly thinking up something new for the table.
It was the follow-through that took some time to learn. That meant thinking about irritating things like release schedules, quality control, good human resources, repair tickets, revenue balancing, sales, strategy and lots more. This was hard, and in some ways, I just wasn’t prepared.
None of this looked anything like the plans I had when I was scribbling away when I was younger, but the truth is that the core was still there. This was just the grown-up version of the dream, and just like love needs to mature if it is going to last, my plans for a business has to grow up in order to become a reality.
I’m a venture capitalist, and I love great entrepreneur success stories. Entrepreneurs are some of the most enthusiastic people out there when it comes to their product, but the truth of the matter is that plenty of them need to work on their business issues.
Remember to think about scale. If you’re working out of the garage, it’s probably a little too early to be thinking globally. On the other hand, if your pitch contains too many pictures of the product and not enough outlines of your business plan, no one is going to listen to you.
To avoid getting yourself in a mess, I can tell you now that your business is a lot more than your product and what it can do.
As a venture capitalist, I take a good long look at whether the entrepreneur can make the tough choices about their business.
Being a businessperson is not impossible; it’s just hard. You need to be in love with your product, but don’t forget to consider the business end of it as well.