10 Core Principles of Entrepreneurship



What skills do you need to be a successful entrepreneur? Here are 10 things you can start working on now!

Know Thyself

  1. Understand your strengths, weaknesses and your blind spots.
  2. Find your passion, search for ideas that set your imagination soaring.
  3. Continue learning new skills that will be relevant to your prospective venture.

Choose the Right Business

  1. Allocate your energy, time and resources to a business likely to generate good returns.
  2. Do a lot of research, gather facts and talk to experts.
  3. Have clarity with respect to the competition; understand the market size and the share you can acquire over time.

You Are Only As Good As the People Around You

  1. Assemble a team of complimentary individuals that collectively have all the key skills required to execute the idea.
  2. Provide high-frequency feedback to drive continuous performance improvements.
  3. Connect with external stakeholders that are vital to your success—customers, suppliers, investors, advisors, industry experts, etc.

Build a Winning Culture

  1. Define your organizational culture, make it explicit and constantly reinforce it.
  2. Culture is a living organism that requires constant monitoring and shaping.
  3. Culture is a tool that inspires and motivates your team to achieve goals that may have been perceived as impossible before.

Define the Key Metric That Matters Most

  1. Energy and resources need to be channeled in the right direction to maximize the odds of success.
  2. Define the metric and specify the right ways to measure performance.
  3. Choose one primary metric and update it as the organization evolves into different maturity stages.

Accurately Assess Capital Requirements

  1. Assess how much capital running multiple scenarios requires: best, bad and worse.
  2. Know what type of business you’re in. If you want to get investors, understand risks and effects on stakeholders.
  3. If you raise money from friends and family, be realistic in how you communicate risks and anticipate the consequences of not meeting your financial objectives.

Use the Right Incentives

  1. Aim for the right balance based on the behaviors you would like to encourage.
  2. Incentives can create or destroy value—use them wisely.
  3. Think of all the unforeseen downsides it can generate and make sure the positives are greater than the negatives.

Have Deep Empathy

  1. Empathize with the people you interact with to build a profitable and sustainable business.
  2. Understand the world, as it is—not according to how you would like it to be.
  3. Listen to people and understand your customers by putting yourself in their shoes.

Experiment in Stages

  1. Experiment: Try differentiating yourself from competitors and add value to your customers in a unique way.
  2. Learn: Understand the impact of your hypothesis and evaluate it objectively.
  3. Adjust: Refine your hypothesis based on the learning.
  4. Scale: Grow what works, and prune out what doesn’t.

What Next?

  1. Ensure that you make the right decisions along the way while keeping in mind your long-term vision.
  2. Write a journal to introspect and gain perspective on how you are progressing and dealing with the challenges you face.
  3. Regularly think of your exit strategy. Do you plan to sell the company, pass it on to the next generation, or go public?




Reprinted by permission.

Image credit: CC by Tim Lenz

About the author: Jason Feimster

Jason is an early-stage investor, entrepreneur, and Marine. He believes in entrepreneurship and its ability to improve the human condition. Jason is dedicated to serving entrepreneurs with angel investing and venture capital.

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