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The pathway to successful entrepreneurship

8 June 2016

Thanks to the rise, fall and rebirth of high-profile entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs, Elon Musk or our own Steve Baxter, the journey of the start-up success story is highly inspirational and aspirational.

Yet taking the leap into the risky world of entrepreneurship is one that requires a special breed of individual, someone who understands the path to success is a marathon, not a sprint. The DNA of the entrepreneur is part warrior, part prophet with the heart of a disrupter. They are change agents, in addition to being bold enough to initiate the change and stand by their products.

Backing up the personal traits of the entrepreneur is a solid business knowledge, one that an online MBA degree will help accelerate. We look at the key factors that set these trailblazers apart:

Power of the pivot

Many of the world’s biggest technology success stories started out as something slightly different. Microsoft began as programming tools, but evolved into an operating system and empire, while Facebook was a dating ranking site for college undergraduates. Agility in entrepreneurship is vital; given that the future is a constant variable, those who can pivot their product or move into other markets when an opportunity or challenge presents itself will see the most success. As Seth Godin says, “structure your projects so failure is not fatal”.

Stories count

There are few people in the Western world who don’t think of Steve Jobs when the word Apple is uttered.  Jobs created not only a world-dominating company, but a philosophy on thinking differently and challenging the status quo. The Apple product line was exceptional, but his story tied it together.  The link between ideas and marketing is key for an entrepreneur.

Surround yourself with greatness

A wise entrepreneur will know that he/she has blind spots and that we don’t know the things we don’t know. When building a business, it is key to bring in advisors, mentors or colleagues who can see through the blind spots.

Be fearless and fail in a new way

When Elon Musk launched SpaceX, he knew little about space exploration but knew the risk was worth the potential reward. He also learnt, very quickly, that failing fast and learning from it was the only way forward – and upwards. Musk spends 70 per cent of his time on constant R&D and rigorous testing. “I have tried to learn as much as possible from prior attempts. If nothing else, we are committed to failing in a new way,” Musk says of his marathon.

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