Entrepreneurial anecdotes from the Get Inspired Event
The Global Entrepreneurship Week Tilburg was an event organized by the Global Entrepreneurship Network (GEN). The Global Entrepreneurship Network is a worldwide platform that operates projects and programs in 170 countries with the primary goal to help people starting and scaling their businesses, for everyone and everywhere.
The ‘Get Inspired event’ was one of the two occasions during that week, where several entrepreneurs shared their story. Their presentations were followed by a Q&A session where the public got the opportunity to ask the entrepreneurs some questions. This article summarizes the key lessons of their entrepreneurial anecdotes.
Entrepreneurs; born or made?
A recurring subject was the nature of an entrepreneur. All the entrepreneurs were asked if entrepreneurs are born or made, in other words; they were talking about the classical nature versus nurture debate. All the entrepreneurs had the same answers; it is a combination. You can learn a lot of entrepreneurial skills, but the main entrepreneurial drivers like discipline and motivation must come from your inner self. The entrepreneurs noted that discipline must be accompanied by the right work/life balance; otherwise, you will encounter some difficulties in the long run. They add to this that a ‘just-do-it’ mentality is fundamental. Do not wait for the ‘great’ idea; just start right now.
When to start?
According to one entrepreneur; it is a myth that you need to find a ‘gap in the market’. This is because finding a gap in the market means that you are a ‘first mover’. Being a first-mover has several up-and downsides. A downside, for example, is that people will try to copy you. It is undoubtedly possible to step-in later in the cycle. There are still plenty of growth opportunities. Furthermore, it is vital to do most of the work yourself at the start, because you learn the entrepreneurial skills the best by practising, and hiring people is expensive.
The story of the company
One of the building blocks of the entrepreneur and his or her firm is the ‘why’, the reason why the company and the entrepreneur do what they are doing. The why is a vital aspect of the story of the company, a story that has to be attractive for (potential) clients. The ‘why’ will function as a sort of compass for the company; it will guide the company in what to do and what not.
Dealing with criticism
Another insight was that you, as an entrepreneur, need to be able to deal with criticism. You do not need to take things personally; instead; you need to learn from it. This is especially important in a family business (you do not want to ruin family relationships). Besides, it will help if you, as an entrepreneur, are accompanied by positive people; instead of ‘toxic’ one. Negative people will drag you down, and as an entrepreneur, you absolutely do not want that to happen.
One fundamental aspect of entrepreneuring is building excellent relationships with everybody. One key element in the relationship between the firm and the client is that the company practises what it preaches; otherwise, the firm will lose credibility and be perceived as hypocritical. This is especially important for socially and sustainably responsible companies.
The economics of the business model
For the viability of your business model, it is essential to take the customer acquisition cost, CAC, (the cost to acquire one client) and the customer lifetime value, LTV, (the gross amount of money one client will bring in in his or her lifetime) into consideration. The customer lifetime value needs to be substantially higher than the customer acquisition cost; otherwise, your company will have problems with the cash flow and, above all, profitability later.
The LTV/CAC ratio is a matric that compares the customer lifetime value to the amount of money you spent on acquiring them. A standard benchmark is the ratio of 3: 1. In this scenario, high customer acquisition costs will not put down your business while you are spending enough money on marketing at the same time. A ratio of 1: 1 is not sustainable, while a ratio of >3: 1 will probably lead to the loss of business opportunities (you probably do not spend enough on marketing in this case).
Does certainty exist in the world of an entrepreneur?
People were wondering if certainty is an ‘achievable’ phenomenon in entrepreneurship. The answer was straightforward; certainty does not exist in the world of the entrepreneur. An entrepreneur will go from crisis to crisis, something you just ‘need to deal with’.
Some little side notes: In the formal literature, people often refer to Knightian uncertainty when they are talking about uncertainty in entrepreneurship. Knightian uncertainty describes the limit of knowledge and the essential unpredictability of future events. Knightian uncertainty is named after the American economist Frank Knight.
Inspiration and passion
Near the end of the event, the host of the program, an entrepreneur too, encouraged people to read biographies of entrepreneurs and innovators, because their stories are invaluable in terms of both inspiration and knowledge. The event ended with this message; ‘find your passion and do what you like; otherwise, you cannot persist’.
Photo from: https://www.iedunote.com/entrepreneurship-definition