Paul B. Brown lays out a blueprint for entrepreneurial success that everyone can follow. His mantra for the aspiring entrepreneur is “Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.” He extrapolates on this simple motto to cover topics such as how to market successfully, how to discover what people really need, how to manage a growing company, and how to deal with fear. Brown provides a simple yet effective framework for approaching entrepreneurial efforts.
HOW THIS BOOK CAN HELP Brown offers a blueprint for entrepreneurial magic drawn from decades of analysis. In an attempt to distill the essence of entrepreneurship, he tackles the subject in a variety of ways. He focuses on entrepreneurial thinking rather than behavior, emphasizes the need to design for market desires, looks at how to “compete differently” in order to establish a business, explains how to make use of limited resources, proffers advice on how to build a team, extols the art of turning setbacks into benefits, and showcases how entrepreneurs stay motivated for the long haul. Brown analyzes the perceived risks of an entrepreneurial career and explains how focusing on acceptable losses rather than expected returns allows the best entrepreneurs to keep a handle on themselves, their visions, and their companies.A person who wishes to be an entrepreneur should follow three simple but important steps:
Determine where his or her passions lie.
Find an equally passionate partner.
Go out and change the world.
HOW THE BEST ENTREPRENEURS THINK American culture views entrepreneurs as semi-mythic figures, heroic savants who toil for years and sacrifice everything for a chance at achieving astonishing success. However, this is just a myth. Instead of chasing one perfect idea, successful entrepreneurs generate and evaluate thousands of ideas on their way to a final product. They seek out input, work in tandem with others, balance their passions with their commitments, and follow many different routes to success.Since entrepreneurs spring from a plethora of backgrounds and do not follow one path to their goals, what do they have in common? According to Brown, “Entrepreneurs have a passion for discovering opportunities. Once they do, they act.” A willingness to act on a passion is the sole litmus test for the entrepreneur.Once they have chosen to act, successful entrepreneurs follow a pattern. When building ventures, they assess the feasibility for themselves and the marketplace. They attempt to discern whether an idea is worth chasing. Finally, they ask themselves, “Do I want to do it?” The best entrepreneurs, when they decide to create their companies, act in similar ways. They:*Determine what they want to do or create.*Take a small step toward that goal.*Evaluate their progress and the lessons learned.*Build that learning into the next step they take.These entrepreneurs refuse to reinvent the wheel, instead distilling the lessons learned by others and incorporating those experiences into their own choices. This mantra of the successful entrepreneur can be summarized as “Act. Learn. Build. Repeat.”
ALWAYS START WITH A MARKET NEED (AND NOT THE GREAT IDEA) Successful entrepreneurs rarely start with the right idea at the right time. Instead, they tailor their efforts toward solving an existing market need. This allows entrepreneurs to avoid consumer confusion, take advantage of an existing market, move rapidly on their inspirations–and avoid creating something that does not result in a viable product.The best entrepreneurs develop and capitalize on insights, defined as a “penetrating customer truths rich enough to generate significant ideas” that can help a business. There are two ways to capitalize on business insights:
Solving for an unexpressed need, which tries to address the tension in unsolved problems.
Improving an existing product, which simply tries to create a meaningfully better version of something. Entrepreneurs looking to improve existing products could achieve success by becoming the low-price provider, making a name as a high-quality specialist, having the best solution to the problem, having the fastest solution to the problem, offering greater convenience or a better experience, and transporting the idea to a different industry.Many entrepreneurs spend too much time in the planning stage. Planning for new business development rarely goes off without a hitch, and the important part of meeting a market need revolves around a rapid response. If a person is truly meeting a market need, he or she will find that most of the research is already done. The best course of action is to find a need, test it to make sure it is big enough, and get underway quickly.