Entrepreneurialism And Mentorship

Today’s motivation for young entrepreneurs is being fueled through a variety of mentor-based programs that work to assist in the development of great ideas while pointing out potholes to avoid.

Organizations like Entrepreneurs Only (EO) are working to foster growth in young entrepreneurs with a sizeable dream. The organization further encourages philanthropy as part of the goodwill associated with establishing the vision.

Make no mistake, becoming an entrepreneur is as grueling as any class you’ve ever attended which is why it makes sense to link with an entrepreneurial group or message board that will allow you to ask questions and learn from the collective wisdom of those you are in contact with.

Mentor: Someone whose hindsight can become your foresight” Author Unknown

Experience can come in two flavors. The first is through personal failures and the wisdom gained from those very personal events. The second is by expressing a willingness to learn from the mistakes of others.

When developing a business it is in your best interest to seek out someone who’s been on the road your traveling and see what you can learn from him or her.

I considered Nat King Cole to be a friend and, in many ways, a mentor. He always had words of profound advice.” Diahann Carroll

Some may have had the rare privilege of having a mentor who helped shape them into the human being they are today, but many are still looking for someone to interact with that can assist them in both personal and professional growth.

Interestingly, many who could be mentors typically do not see themselves as such. These individuals can pinpoint mistakes they have made in their lives and come away with the decision that they are not qualified to be a mentor.

Whether in business or life one of the most valuable assets you will ever have is a friend who will stand with you in all circumstances.

To further refine the point, a Public/Private Ventures study shows that participants in the mentoring program known as Little Brothers and Little Sisters are:

46% less likely to begin using illegal drugs;
27% less likely to begin using alcohol;
52% less likely to skip school;
37% less likely to skip class;
More confident in their schoolwork performance;
Able to get along better with their families.

A mentor is in many ways an advocate as well as a voice of reason. They aren’t parents and they shouldn’t be drill sergeants. In business and in life, a mentor is a goldmine and should be sought enthusiastically and with great care.

Entrepreneurial Research And Testing

“Experience is that marvelous thing that enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again.” – Franklin P. Jones

Becoming an entrepreneur is about taking an idea and making a successful business from the sale of the idea. If the idea is a product, the sale of the product will require more than simple creativity and innovation.

An expert is a person who has made all the mistakes that can be made in a very narrow field.” Niels Bohr

In the 1980’s a father in Wyoming created a product for his daughter to play with. The invention consisted of a wheel that was roughly the size of a toy wagon wheel. A separate pole with a stabilizing device attached was used to keep the wheel upright and balanced. This invention provided hours of amusement for his daughter, but when he tried to develop a business selling the product he discovered there was absolutely no market for it. This same gentleman also attempted to prove the viability of the manufacture of cement brickettes as a cost effective substitute for lava rocks in gas grills. He rejected the idea when after a few grillings the cement literally exploded causing the destruction of his grill as well as a steak dinner.

The above is an example of a couple of failures in entrepreneurialism. Consider the above glimpse as an argument for marketing research and testing.

Strong people make as many mistakes as weak people. Difference is that strong people admit their mistakes, laugh at them, learn from them. That is how they become strong.” Richard Needham

The perfect entrepreneurial scenario would be to provide a solution to an underserved market where demand exceeds existing supply or to be the first to meet an emerging demand. In either case there needs to be a significant amount of market research to determine the longevity of anticipated demand along with the reliability of the solution you are offering.

Imagine if the cement brickettes were marketed and sold only to have the flaw discovered when someone was injured from cement shrapnel.

So much goes into the development of a business idea and you have to have a solid business plan in mind in order to get funding. It only makes sense to be sure you have completed all the needed research to assure both your banker as well as yourself that the product or service you are offering will provide benefits that will meet demands and provide success for all involved.

The Fear Factor In Russian Business Startups

Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life has not. In some schools they have abolished failing grades; they’ll give you as many times as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.” Bill Gates

In communist or even socialist governments there tends to be lackluster entrepreneurial efforts. The individual wishing to start the business often finds little in the way of ‘vested interest’ in committing their time and talent to something they will never really be able to benefit from.

After the collapse of Russia a new way of thinking was needed to move the country forward. The choice was capitalism and the flint of entrepreneurialism was struck often in an effort to jump-start the economy.

There is a push in Russia to advance the cause of the entrepreneur by providing classes that assist the population in learning how to develop their own business. Reports indicate that other European Universities will see as many as 70% of their higher education centers providing classes on business development.

The idea of being able to create opportunities is leading many Russian citizens to attempt to forge a better life through the mechanism of capitalism by tapping into consumer demand. The end goal is to develop a business that can provide a personal financial boon.

Ironically it is fear in some cases that has promoted the entrepreneurial spirit in Russia. More than simply an interest in fulfilling a dream, these entrepreneurs are fearful they may have very little opportunity unless they discover it on their own. It is the fear of failure that may be the driving force for some of these men and women.

Conversely, in many existing capitalistic cultures it is aspiration that provides the means of motivation. There may be less fear of failure while ambition provides the fuel to reach higher and further to maximize certain goals.

It is interesting that while the goals are separate and distinct, the end result can be similar; the development of a successful business that hinges on a dream.

As Russian Universities continue to offer and develop practical programs for their students, the world is likely to see success in Russian startups.

While some of the entrepreneurial programs have a western tie it is likely the end result will still be uniquely Russian in design and execution adding yet another colorful thread to the tapestry of a global economy.