What entrepreneurs can learn from Shark Tank’s Kevin O’Leary aka “Mr. Wonderful”
Recently while speaking with a couple of fledgling entrepreneurs I was reminded why so many fail to properly execute their business plans; the inability to focus.
During a conversation with an entrepreneur he shared how his core business while still struggling to turn a profit, would contribute to a foundation yet to be formed, and how his desire to take on a political position was brewing. I didn’t want to dash his dreams, but having spent time consulting with this entrepreneur, I knew that his biggest challenge was not coming up with ideas, but rather being able to focus on a project long enough to properly execute the business plans.
This conversation was triggered again while watching an episode of Shark Tank, where Mr. Wonderful (Kevin O’Leary) stated to another entrepreneur seeking funding, “I am a very disciplined investor”. The thought of being disciplined resonated with me and caused me to correlate that statement with the importance of entrepreneurs developing the ability to focus.
Another would-be entrepreneur approached me for advice on her concept, she assured me that although she has zero coding experience, she could create a new venture, learn to code, get the venture to market and begin to cash-flow in 12-months, so that she would have revenues in the next 24-months and cold sell the venture. Amazing! Again, building a business is not like turning on the microwave and having instant results. I informed this want-to-be entrepreneur that she is working from several flawed premises and that not only will market fit need to be determined, but learning to code might not be the best use of her time if she actually has a potential product for development. First, she would have to find a focus based upon her skills and then build a team to execute the business plan if it proves feasible.
So why is focus so critical you ask? Too often when creating a new venture entrepreneurs vet many ideas before settling on a business model. However, before properly executing those business plans, some entrepreneurs jump from project to project or business vertical to vertical and consequently demonstrate a lack of clear focus. This is problematic for investors, partners and key executives. Further, this contributes to marketing challenges as well.
In order gain focus, consider the following 10 questions. Although not all inclusive, these questions will help you begin to focus on a specific problem, solution and market:
- What is the problem?
- What is our solution?
- What is the value proposition?
- Who are the primary customers?
- What do our customers value?
- How are the core competencies aligned with our value proposition?
- Have we established a solid niche or strategic position reflecting our core competencies?
- Who cares and who pays for our solution?
- How will we go to market?
- How will we fund the operations?
As you are completing these questions, think of Mr. Wonderful, and be a “disciplined focused entrepreneur”; you will increase the odds of a successful launch!
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