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Chapter_1_EPE_Jan_16_2009

Chapter_1_EPE_Jan_16_2009 - CHAPTER 1 ENTREPRENEURS PRIMER...

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C HAPTER 1 E NTREPRENEUR S P RIMER Entrepreneurship is the recognition and pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources you currently control, with confidence that you can succeed, with the flexibility to change course as necessary, and the will to rebound from setbacks (Bob Reiss, Low Risk High Reward, The Free Press, 2000). 1.0 E NTREPRENEUR ' S D IARY I remain grateful for some good early advice. I had several inventions that had been taken to financial success by others. The benefactors sometimes said thank you. This made me all the more eager to take one of my own ideas to the real world. I had convinced myself that financial success and glory eagerly awaited me. About 15 years ago, I launched my first major entrepreneurial effort that revolved around proprietary technology used to produce seafood indoors in an environmentally responsible manner at a competitive price. The market for such a technology had to be huge I kept reminding myself, since seafood was (and still is) a significant contributor to the US trade deficit. Fortunately for me, before I committed my home equity into this venture, I got some good early advice from Walter Haeussler, President of the Cornell Research Foundation. He told me that before I started my fish company, I needed to convince at least one other person to invest in the opportunity. Walter assured me that I made a very persuasive case and that he was so convinced by the oral presentation of my startup business “idea”—that he was almost ready to be an investor himself! But almost doesn’t provide any startup capital! So, I took Walter's advice and convinced one other person (actually two): my two brothers. A loving brother will tell you NO if you don't have a viable business opportunity. This forced 1
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me to develop a solid business plan, to analyze the market, and to develop a cash flow statement, etc.—before investing our precious cash. But before you run out and try to start a business, try assessing your personal suitability for entrepreneurship as you read this chapter. What does it take? What common personal characteristics do many successful entrepreneurs share? This chapter is designed to help you answer some of these relevant questions before you take the plunge into entrepreneurship by asking the right questions and letting you reflect on your answers. We’ll also present some of the fundamental rules for starting a successful venture and some other early advice for you if you are just starting out in one of these adventures and provide some background on raising capital, your need to stay focused, and some discussion on when you might quit your “day job”. 2
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1.1 S O Y OU W ANT TO BE AN E NTREPRENEUR ? Some people seem to be made for entrepreneurial adventures while others prefer the security of a paycheck from somebody else. One thing is certain, if it weren't for entrepreneurs, then most of us would still be working on a farm without the many simple things that enhance our quality of life, such as light bulbs,
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