2 business Books +2: Entrepreneurship for dummies
Introduction E ntrepreneurship is a personal thing.
It isn’t really about money or starting businesses — sure, entrepreneurs like to make money and start businesses, but that’s not the reason they are entrepreneurs.
It’s much more than that.
For entrepreneurs, it’s about having a passion for doing something you love; that’s the entrepreneurial spirit.
Entrepreneurs like to do things that excite the world, bend the rules a bit, and make us look at something in an entirely new way. They are opportunistic, finding new possibilities at every turn.
So entrepreneurship is also about creativity, innovation, and change.
Although stereotyped as risk takers, the truth is that entrepreneurs take calculated risks — they are not the gamblers people make them out to be.
In their businesses, they assess their options and choose their course based
on their probability of success.
They’re not afraid to fail because they tend to measure their real success by how many times they learn from their mistakes and go on to try again.
Entrepreneurship involves challenge, persistence, and planning.
These days, finding any aspect of life that isn’t in a state of change is difficult.
In the world of business, you discover companies going in and out of business, customer loyalty as ephemeral as the wind, jobs disappearing overnight and replaced by jobs that never existed before, and technology changing the way
we do things in every aspect of our lives.
Times are exciting if you enjoy change and know how to deal with it.
Dealing with change is one of the important things entrepreneurs do best.
They thrive on it because they know that with change comes opportunity.
Those kinds of opportunities are among the many reasons to think about developing the entrepreneurial spirit and mindset.
How Entrepreneurship Has Changed
For the past two decades or longer, entrepreneurship has been viewed simply
as a process for starting new businesses.
Only recently have those of us who study this phenomenon concluded that entrepreneurship is more importantly about an opportunistic mindset and spirit.
That’s a significant distinction, because it means that everyone has the potential
to benefit from understanding the mind of the entrepreneur.
Whether you work in a large corporation, own a business, run a nonprofit organization, or are at home raising children, you can find opportunities to improve your situation by applying this way of thinking to your life and work.
So, my approach to entrepreneurship starts with a mindset and spirit.
Then it guides you in discovering the strategies, skills, and tools you must
find and use to turn ideas into opportunities and opportunities into successful business concepts.
You find out that being small and flexible has distinct advantages in the new digital economy, that you can have a global presence with the click of a mouse button, and that it’s customers who define what a business is, what products and services it produces, and how successful it becomes.
How Entrepreneurs Define Success
If I ask you to describe a successful entrepreneur, chances are you’ll point to the
size of his or her business, how much money it makes, how much its investors earn. Those certainly are ways to describe a successful business, but entrepreneurs typically take a much more personal view when defining success.
Ask Wally Amos of Uncle Noname
Cookies, and he tells you that success is
“ turning lemons into lemonade.” Others say that being happy with what you’re doing and feeling like you’re accomplishing something is a measure of success.
Every entrepreneur’s definition of success is different and personal, but in the
listing below I categorize the more common responses so you can see that success
is not always about money.
Purpose: Entrepreneurs must feel a sense of purpose or direction in what they’re doing. Success is a journey not a destination, but knowing the direction you’re heading and why seems to be a common component of success.
Failure — the other half of success:
No one denies that life is full of ups and downs.
Most entrepreneurs experience failure of one sort or another, but knowing
that failure is a possibility doesn’t frighten them.
If trying something doesn’t have the potential for failure, it isn’t worth doing because no risk is attached to it.
Anyone can try something that is guaranteed to be a success.
That’s why entrepreneurs find opportunity where no one else does; they’re not afraid to go where the risk is.
Sense of satisfaction: Most successful entrepreneurs are doing what they love,
so it doesn’t feel like work. No free lunch:
Success comes from hard work.
Even entrepreneurs you read about, you know, the ones who seem to have appeared out of nowhere to become hugely successful, have spent years you don’t hear about struggling to become that overnight success.
In Entrepreneurship For Dummies, you discover that entrepreneurship
is an exciting, sometimes scary, roller-coaster ride — a way of life that you may decide to enjoy.
About This Book Entrepreneurship For Dummies contains practical
information, tips, and checklists that can be used by anyone who aspires to start a business, work as an entrepreneur inside a large corporation, or just become more opportunistic by acquiring an entrepreneurial attitude.
It doesn’t matter whether you have ever owned a business or even have any
You can use this book to think about the world of the entrepreneur and decide
if it’s right for you.
This book is definitely grounded in the real world.
It is based on research I have conducted in the field of entrepreneurship, the work
I have done with hundreds of entrepreneurs starting new ventures, and my own experiences as an entrepreneur,
so there are no hypothetical situations here.
I have pulled together the best information, the best tips, and the best examples
of how to make entrepreneurship work for you.
Entrepreneurship For Dummies is a guide to everything you ever wanted to know about the entrepreneur and the entrepreneurial process.
Don’t know where to get started? I’ll help you.
Don’t know how to find an opportunity and test it ?
I’ll give you the information you need to put yourself in a position to find that great business idea and then
test it in the marketplace before you commit to starting a business to turn that idea into reality.
This book is organized so that whatever you’re looking for is easy to find.
Suppose you want to figure out how much money you need to start your business. Just go to that chapter and the specific section you need, and you’ll find exactly
what you’re looking for.
Or, if you really want to get serious about becoming an entrepreneur,
can start on page one and work your way to the end.
Whichever route you choose, I’m certain that this book and its real-world examples are going to inspire you to think about entrepreneurship as a way of life.
Foolish Assumptions Before I began this book, I made some assumptions about
you — the reader.
(I know that’s not always wise, but I’m an
entrepreneur — I’m not afraid to take a risk!)
I assumed that you want to understand what entrepreneurs do to create
those exciting e-businesses you read about and see on TV.
And I also assumed that you’re ready to make an investment in your future.
Finally, I assumed that you want to know how to use entrepreneurial skills and attitudes in whatever endeavor you decide to undertake.
Icons Used in This Book I use little pictures, called icons, next to blocks of text throughout the book.
They’re designed to draw your attention to things I want you to remember.
A good idea, trick, or shortcut that can save you time and money.
A piece of information you shouldn’t forget.
A tip that can help you avoid disasters.
An example from the real world to illustrate my point.
How This Book Is Organized Entrepreneurship For Dummies is organized into five parts, and each chapter within a part goes into detail on a specific topic.
This organization makes it easier for you to find what you’re looking for.
I think I’ve covered everything you need to know to put together a winning entrepreneurial strategy.
Part I: Getting Started in Entrepreneurship In this part,
you get an introduction to the world of the entrepreneur and the new environment in which businesses are being started.
You also consider how entrepreneurs discover those great opportunities and find out how to increase your creative abilities so you can become more opportunistic yourself. Finally, this part deals with how to turn an opportunity into a great business concept that you can test in the marketplace.
Part II: Developing Your Business Concept This part gets you started in the nuts and bolts of feasibility analysis, which is a way to test your business opportunity in the real world before you spend time and money starting a business to make it happen.
In this part are lots of strategies and tactics for researching your industry and target market, and for testing your customer, product or service, and distribution channel. You also find out how to put together an effective start-up team and figure out how much money it will take to start your venture.
Part III: Creating a Company Once you’ve determined that you have a business concept that is feasible, you need to create a company to execute the plan for your business. In this part, you find out everything you want to know about business plans and how to develop them.
You also discover the best legal form for your business
and the best business model to make money.
And speaking of money, you also find out a variety of different ways to tap into financial resources, so that you can start and grow your business.
Part IV: Growing a Company One of the byproducts of a successful start-up is growth. This part focuses on how to take your business beyond start-up to successfully grow it to a new level.
You discover how to plan for growth, organize your business so that it can handle growth, develop a marketing plan that gets your message to customers, create a financial plan that tracks your business’s health, and plan for those
Part V: The Part of Tens In this part, I give you some of my best tips for reasoning
why you maybe shouldn’t start a business, motivating yourself to get started with
a business idea if you should start a business, and using technology to grow your business.
I finish this part with the best industry resources on the Web to help you gather competitive intelligence.
How to Use This Book If you want the most from this book, I suggest you start at the beginning and work your way to the end.
This book contains a wealth of information for you to explore, and I don’t want you to miss any of it.
But, if you already have some business experience and not much time (like so many of us), you can skip from topic to topic depending on what interests you.
The Table of Contents is organized to help you find what you need easily and quickly. No matter how you approach this book, I’m sure you’ll enjoy it. If you have any questions or comments, I’d like to hear from you.
Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
What’s an Entrepreneur, Anyway ?
In This Chapter Understanding what entrepreneurship really means
Discovering the many types of entrepreneurs Deciding to become an entrepreneur
The term entrepreneur has been overused, misused, abused, and tacked onto practically anything and everything from owning a business to holding a particular view of the world.
Everyone from the corner shoe repair guy to the hotshot software designer claims to be an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs grace the covers of popular magazines and are guests on TV shows beamed to thousands of other entrepreneur hopefuls.
As a matter of fact, entrepreneurs come in an amazing variety of types and styles. And they are a unique breed.
The ventures they create disrupt the economy.
That’s because an entrepreneur changes the way you and
I do things — usually for the better.
Entrepreneurs create value in the marketplace in a wonderful variety of interesting new ways.
This book shows you how they do it, so that you can, too.
Understanding Entrepreneurship Who exactly are these people at the center of entrepreneurship ?
In simple terms, an entrepreneur is someone who creates a new opportunity in the world of business and assembles the resources necessary to successfully exploit that opportunity — money, people, and organization.
This broad definition is essential to include all the different kinds of entrepreneurial ventures and different ways for you to approach entrepreneurship.
If you want to become an entrepreneur, the odds are pretty good that you can.
Check this statistic: One out of three U.S. households is home to at least one
adult with some level of experience as a founder or owner in an entrepreneurial or small business venture. It’s true.
What’s more, in nearly 7 million U.S. households, one or more persons is involved
in a new start-up business venture.
That’s a lot of new entrepreneurs every year!
But even those figures pale in comparison to what happened during the past five years.
The world of entrepreneurship was given a new shot of energy by the amazing expansion of the World Wide Web. In 1993, no Web sites existed on the Internet.
By June 1996, 200,000 sites had been launched, but by September 1997, only 15 months later, the Internet was home to 1,400,000 Web sites and more than 25,000,000 users.
In early 2000, 15.7 million domain names were registered on the Internet.
As you can see, the Internet and e-commerce have turned the world of business upside down in only a few short years.
Entrepreneurs on the Web have changed the way people spend their time,
find information, meet other people, take care of personal matters,
and even start a business.
Recognizing an entrepreneurial venture You can spot an entrepreneurial business
by the way it shakes up the market and changes the way things are done.
Look at what Starbuck’s did to coffee.
The Seattle coffee company transformed the everyday routine of having a cup of coffee into a totally new experience, attracting millions of people to the social
pleasure of enjoying coffee. Starbuck’s value proposition — that customers would enjoy an experience with their top grade coffee — permitted the company to charge more than consumers had ever paid for coffee before.
The result was a rapidly growing company with an international scope.
That’s what I mean by entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurial ventures are usually improvements on things we’re familiar with. Entrepreneurs usually carve out little market niches at first with a relatively small number of customers.
They start with limited resources and differentiate their businesses through their personal efforts. If they move fast and run the business right, they can gain a foothold in the market before they have to go head-to-head with much bigger competitors.
Entrepreneurs are ordinary people who do extraordinary things.
They take everyday ideas and give them some magic.
You don’t need a lot of experience or resources to be an entrepreneur.
You need passion and persistence.
Putting together the pieces of an entrepreneurial venture
Entrepreneurial ventures are complex animals.
They have numerous parts, and the parts interact in a variety of ways.
Look at Figure 1-1 to see all the major components of the entrepreneurial environment. Take a closer look at each of the parts:
Though just one component, the entrepreneur is the driving force and coordinator
of all the activities, resources, and people that need to be brought together to start
a new venture.
The entrepreneur’s passion and vision give life to the business.
The entrepreneur brings to the business experience, education, skills, a value system, and a network of people to rely on for help in getting the business started. Legal, Government:
Every aspect of an entrepreneurial venture is affected by the law to some degree, from the legal form of the venture (see Chapter 14), to the intellectual property it develops (see Chapter 8), to the contracts it writes, and to the employees it hires
(see Chapter 17).
Government — federal, state, and local — adds regulations to the mix in the form of taxes, fees, tariffs, and penalties for non-compliance. Suppliers:
Suppliers provide, among many other things, inventory, raw materials, parts, and even labor. Suppliers also help finance the new business by providing lines of credit and extending payment periods. Competitors:
Competitors help determine if the market is hostile or friendly to the new venture. They have a huge impact on pricing, marketing strategy, and distribution-channel strategy (see Chapter 9).
Customers: Customers are the lifeblood of the business — without them, no business exists. Customers influence everything the business does, from the development of new products and services, to designing market strategies, to support services,
and to the nature and quality of customer service.
Technology: Only a few years ago, no one described technology as a facilitator and driving force of an entrepreneurial venture. But now, technology is a prime facilitator of business processes, creating efficiencies and capabilities that businesses never experienced before.
Think about it: How many businesses five years ago expected to be conducting some or all of their business on the Internet today ?
Money: For most entrepreneurial ventures, money is the enabler.
When all the other components of a successful business concept are in
place — customer, value proposition, product/service, and distribution
(you find out about these in Chapter 4) — then money comes into play as a resource that makes everything happen.
I say “for most entrepreneurial ventures” for a reason.
Some entrepreneurial ventures, like those in biotechnology where product development times are long and costly, are naturally driven by money.
Without sufficient capital, you can’t survive the research and development phase long enough to actually put together a venture to commercialize the technology.
Distinguishing entrepreneurial ventures from small businesses
As this chapter begins, I suggest that many small, start-up ventures are likely to be called entrepreneurial even if they aren’t.
Let’s face it, nearly every new business starts small, so physical size alone doesn’t separate entrepreneurs from businesspeople who simply want to support a lifestyle.
The differences lie much deeper. In general, people who start entrepreneurial ventures are Driven by opportunity.
Entrepreneurs see opportunities where others don’t.
They strive to satisfy a need that is not being served, or create a new product or technology that changes the way things are done.
Focused on innovation.
Entrepreneurs are creative and find ways to innovate in every aspect of their business, from the product or service, to marketing and distribution, to the business model
(see Chapter 17).
Determined to create new value by shaking up the marketplace.
Entrepreneurs change the economic environment of the marketplace they enter.
One example: Instead of pulling trained workers from other businesses, entrepreneurs are inclined to create entirely new jobs and new opportunities.
Thus they add new value.
Determined to grow.
Entrepreneurs seek to grow their businesses and exploit opportunity to the fullest.
By comparison, people who start small, what I call lifestyle businesses, generally do so to provide a job for themselves and an income for their families.
These businesses tend to remain small and geographically bound — they serve a local community.
Most small businesses have the potential to grow and innovate and become entrepreneurial ventures, but their founders typically don’t want to do that.
The corner shoe repair shop, the pizza parlor, the consultant in business
for herself, and the local manufacturer of rebuilt engines are examples of small, lifestyle businesses.
And although such businesses represent the vast majority of all businesses in the U.S.they are not the prime source of new jobs in the economy.
Entrepreneurs generate the jobs.
So, decide what kind of business you want to start, because that decision will affect all the others.
If you plan to build an enterprise with a global presence, you’ll set different goals and make different decisions than if you want to confine your activity to the community.
Tasting the Many Flavors of:
Entrepreneurship If anyone tells you that all entrepreneurs take risks, that all entrepreneurs are optimists, that all entrepreneurs are anything,
ignore this wisdom. No traits define all entrepreneurs.
You can find a variety of entrepreneurial types in the marketplace — they are as diverse a group of people as you’ll ever see. But they have some things in common. For example, surveys find that virtually all entrepreneurs have cofounders, so starting the venture as a team is important.
Inc. magazine, in a recent study of the fastest growing private companies, found these facts about entrepreneurs and their ventures:
Median age of entrepreneur at time of company founding,
33 Average time the entrepreneur spends on the computer per week,
20 hours Average number of vacation days the entrepreneur takes per year,
13 Average percentage of revenues from international sales,
6 percent What these few facts tell you is that the average entrepreneur is young, technically savvy, works hard, and builds a global business.
In the following sections of this chapter, you find out about the many ways to
become an entrepreneur.
The home-based entrepreneur
More than 14 million people are involved in home-based businesses.
Why is starting a business from home so popular ?
I find several reasons:
Because of technology, in particular the Internet, people can run their business
from anywhere just by going on-line.
Because more resources are available to entrepreneurial businesses
Web sites like Microsoft’s bCentral (www.bcentral.com) and All Business
(www.allbusiness.com) provide much of the information and resources a growing entrepreneurial business needs to operate successfully.
Because tax laws have grown friendlier to home-based businesses.
On your personal tax return, you can deduct the portion of your home devoted to business along with all your business expenses.
Sometimes entrepreneurs start from home for an obvious reason:
The rent is cheap.
Jack Panzarella moved back home at age 21 so he could realize his dream of commercializing an invention. Panzarella is a rare blend of inventor and
entrepreneur — the two don’t often go together in the same person.
Usually, inventors team with entrepreneurs to get their inventions to market. Panzarella’s parents, both entrepreneurs, welcomed their inventor son
back into the fold.
The young man was working as a repossessor of cars when he came
up with the invention.
One of the cars he reclaimed had a neon tube attached to its undercarriage.
The glow looked terrific at auto shows when the car was parked and the wiring was plugged into an electrical outlet.
Panzarella wondered if there wasn’t a way to run the neon off the car battery.
After much trial and error, he found a way to do it.
Promoting customer awareness, he drove his car with the
Undercar Neon around town.
Onlookers swarmed around asking where they could buy the light set.
Slowly, Panzarella put together a network of dealers to carry his product
and landed two big mail order catalog accounts.
With his business launched, Panzarella didn’t waste any time.
He created more products with the neon theme.
In 1998, he introduced neon lights for in-line skates. His company has three divisions, Undercar Neon, Sport-Neon, and Home-Neon, carrying a line of 200 products and employing 200 people.
Sales are in excess of $16 million a year.
Panzarella obviously doesn’t work from home any more — his company is one of New Jersey’s fastest growing companies.
You can learn more about this business by visiting its
Web site at www.streetglow.com/site/company.
The virtual entrepreneur
The Internet has given rise to a new kind of entrepreneur,
the virtual entrepreneur — businesses that have no traditional, bricks-and-mortar location for customers to visit.
Like Amazon.com, some may have employees, offices, and warehouse space,
but their only contact with customers occurs in cyberspace.
Some virtual entrepreneurs do everything in cyberspace — work with strategic partners, employ experts, develop products, and deliver the goods to customers,
all via the Internet.
Carley Roney wouldn’t go through her 1993 wedding again for
anything — that is, unless she had the benefit of her own company,
The Knot Inc.
Planning her own nuptials,
Roney quickly realized that the fairy-tale wedding preparations portrayed in bridal magazines don’t paint an accurate picture of what most brides-to-be experience.
Roney wanted to solve that problem.
She came up with an Internet-based solution to the real problems people face
when planning weddings.
She calls her Web site TheKnot.com, and it has become the source of information and ideas for anything related to tying the knot. In 1996, Roney and spouse presented their concept to America Online (AOL).
The first round of seed money arrived shortly thereafter, and the business has provided an exciting ride ever since.
TheKnot.com receives more than a million first-time visitors every month.
They can search for everything from wedding gowns to cakes.
The site also has its own gift registry.
While the company is a virtual one, Roney & Partners are doing a few things to dip their toes into the real world.
They introduced a magazine, negotiated a three-book deal with a publisher,
and are at work on a series for PBS.
You can learn more about this company by visiting its
Web site at www.theknot.com.
The serial entrepreneur
Many entrepreneurs enjoy recognizing an opportunity and turning it into a business, but they don’t enjoy running a business day-to-day.
They prefer, instead, to leave that job to others who are more capable.
Once the business is up and running, these entrepreneurs move on to the next opportunity. Wayne Huizenga is the classical serial entrepreneur.
Starting with a single garbage truck (which he drove himself), he grew his company truck by truck to become Waste Management, the largest garbage hauler and waste management service in the world.
But on the way to reaching that entrepreneurial success, Huizenga had another
idea, prompted by a conversation with a friend about the video rental business.
That conversation led to Blockbuster Entertainment, Huizenga’s second billion-dollar business.
Upon selling Blockbuster to Time-Warner, this serial entrepreneur decided
to professionalize the used car industry by founding Auto Nation, his third billion-dollar venture.
The traditional entrepreneur
Traditional entrepreneurs start bricks-and-mortar businesses and build them to point where they can harvest the value they
Before the Internet and e-commerce changed the face of things, that’s how entrepreneurship usually worked.
Actually, the traditional model is still the most common, but an increasing
number of these mainstream business owners reinvent their enterprise
by adding a Web component.
Jack Shin started a little lifestyle business in 1977 called Camera World,
in downtown Portland, Oregon.
As Bronwyn Fryer reports in Inc.
Technology, Shin worked painstakingly to build his little business.
He targeted the serious photographer and built strong relationships with his suppliers. In addition to the retail outlet, Shin developed a mail order catalog, which became so popular that it accounted for 70 percent of the business’s revenues.
In 1992, Shin computerized the fulfillment and shipping function of his company, and this gave him better information about his customers.
Camera World was wisely built on customer relationships and repeat sales.
At some point in every business, it’s time to infuse the business with new life.
That happened for Camera World around 1995, when sales flattened and
digital cameras were on the horizon.
Shin, who had never taken a vacation, decided to sell the company.
Alessandro Mina, owned an investment fund whose goal was to take
old-fashioned companies and turn them into high-flying Internet companies.
Camera World was perfect for him because it had an established and happy customer base that was accustomed to purchasing products via mail order, it had back-end systems that worked, and it was a profitable company.
Mina and his partners bought Camera World Co.
and named the Internet arm cameraworld.com.
Camera World’s annual revenues grew from $80 million in 1998 to more than $115 million in 1999.
You can check them out at www.cameraworld.com.
Deciding to Become an Entrepreneur
This chapter gives you a taste of what entrepreneurship is all about.
Are you still interested ?
Good! It’s time to introduce you to the skills you need to succeed.
The one thing that I can’t give you is the passion, that fire in the belly, that certain something that keeps you going when all the odds appear to be against you. Entrepreneurs have it; so do great people in every profession.
If you feel the passion, it’s time for you to get started.
Consider your personal goals If the business you launch doesn’t complement
your personal values and goals, it won’t be a source of satisfaction to you,
and chances are, you won’t be as successful as you may be in an area that
you care deeply about.
Before starting a new business, ask yourself the questions that follow.
They can help you know yourself better and point you toward the right match.
Why do you want to start a business ?
I know this is a deep question, but it’s important and fundamental to your
success as an entrepreneur.
If, for example, you’re thinking that starting a business provides financial security,
you need to remember that most entrepreneurs take no money out of the
business for the first year or so, not until they can draw a salary
and still leave the company with a positive cash flow
(see Chapter 19 for more on cash flow).
Likewise, remember that entrepreneurial wealth typically comes from
appreciation in the value of the business, which takes time.
Sure, some dot-com entrepreneurs strike it rich from the proceeds of initial
But for the vast majority of businesses, building value and wealth for the
founders takes time.
I never recommend starting a business just to make money.
Start a business that you love
(you’ll have to spend a lot of time at the business, so you’d better at least like it),
give it your best, and you’ll increase your chances of creating wealth through your entrepreneurial venture.
How is starting a business going to affect your personal life ?
If you’re young and have no special responsibilities other than to
yourself, you can afford to take chances that an older person
may not be able to take.
You can afford to fail and lose money because you have more
time to start again.
By contrast, if you’re starting a business at an older age, you may want to
look for an opportunity that pays off faster or that’s especially attractive
to growth capital from outside sources.
You also want to consider the needs of your family and the responsibilities you have that won’t go away when you start a business.
You need the support of your family, and they need to understand what starting a business is going to mean to your family life.
Are you in physical shape to start a business ?
A new venture demands long hours and focused effort.
Are you up to it ?
Are you taking care of your health and getting the exercise you need to give
you the stamina required to successfully launch this venture ?
I know too many entrepreneurs who work 14-hour days, 7 days a week to get
their new ventures to the survival stage.
That kind of work requires that you take care of your health — eat properly and exercise — or you may not be able to enjoy the fruits of your labor.
What aspects of business make you really uncomfortable ?
We all have things that bother us or working situations that we don’t particularly
enjoy. It’s important to recognize what your issues are so that you don’t have to confront the same matters on a daily basis.
If you don’t like to carry any debt, for example, you probably don’t want to start a business that requires debt, like the clothing business.
How do you feel about being a boss ?
If you don’t like to deal with the issues related to employees, you probably want
to consider starting a virtual company that outsources its personnel needs to
If you don’t work well under stress, you may want to stay away from advertising
or a pure dot-com company.
Look carefully at your attitudes about the way you like to work before you start a business.
How will your feelings about business affect the potential growth of your business ?
As an entrepreneur, you have the biggest impact on whether your business grows.
You need to examine your attitudes about growth in general and all the
ramifications of growing.
For example, how do you feel about ownership issues like how much
of the company you want to retain as your own ?
What about your ability to delegate control to other people ?
Do you plan to build a company that will endure over a long period or do you
want to get in and out quickly ?
Recognizing your attitudes about business helps you steer around the hazards.
Look ahead Entrepreneurial opportunities rarely drop out of the blue.
You need to cultivate them.
I talk about that in Chapter 3 (among other places) — things you can do to enhance your creative powers and coax opportunity out of hiding.
I also talk about how to create a business concept and test it in the marketplace, and how to build a business that lets you execute the concept.
This book is organized so that you can take a random walk through all the topics, dipping into chapters on a need-to-know basis, whether that means creating
a concept, conducting a feasibility study, or plunging into the business planning process.
So, welcome aboard !
Feel free to go wherever you want — that’s the entrepreneurial way.
Moving at the Speed of E-Business
In This Chapter Satisfying customers in the Internet environment
Gaining competitive advantage Leveraging the power of information
Deconstructing and streamlining your entrepreneurial venture
You’ve heard it a thousand times:
The Internet has forever changed the way we do business.
But what does that really mean to an entrepreneur ?
If you operate a cute little boutique in Kennebunkport, Maine, how has the Internet changed what you do ?
If you provide machined parts to a major manufacturer in Oakland, California,
why do you have to change the way you operate ?
Business has been fine so far.
Business also has been fine until recently for a number of bricks-and-mortar enterprises that seemed unlikely to be affected by Internet companies.
But that was yesterday.
Check this sampling of traditional business types that are being chased by
I don’t say that the Internet affects every business equally, but certainly every business is affected by the perception that all things now happen in Internet
time — almost instantaneously.
In this chapter you find new fundamental truths about being in business today.
These truths result from the impact of the Internet on businesses
and on people’s lives.
Everyone Runs an E-Business
An e-business is one that uses electronic commerce, the Internet, and technology
in general to create competitive advantages for itself.
When I use the term e-business,
I’m speaking of the new entrepreneurship and the new business models that have resulted from the technology revolution and the Internet.
E-businesses are not necessarily pure Internet businesses.
They may, in fact, be fairly traditional businesses that have used technology and the Internet to reinvent themselves and to provide their customers with more value.
So, the Internet may be just one component of the overall e-business, or it may be the entire business.
Now back to the two questions posed at the beginning of this chapter.
If you own that boutique in Kennebunkport, how has the Internet changed what
you do ?
It has made you more accessible to your customers and given you a broader reach.
You don’t have to wait until customers visit Maine to show them your wares;
you can do that from your Web site, giving prospects the flavor of Kennebunkport wherever they are.
In addition, the Web site will let you create long-term relationships with your customers so they will return often and recommend your company to their friends.
If you supply machined parts to a major manufacturer, on the other hand, going online may not be your decision alone.
Your buyers may require that you go online to receive purchase orders, invoices,
Huge companies like
Wal-Mart require their suppliers — no matter what their size — to link to the
Wal-Mart inventory system electronically so that the supplier knows immediately
when Wal-Mart is running low on a particular item.
The supplier can then restock the big retailer in plenty of time.
The Internet can be an extension of your business or it can be the entire basis
of your business.
Either way, you need it today to be successful tomorrow.
Gives You an Edge How does the Internet, as a critical component of your technology strategy, give your entrepreneurial venture a competitive advantage ? In four big ways:
A Calling for You In This Chapter Discovering what social entrepreneurship is all about Seeing where you fit in and how to get started Being inspired by examples of social entrepreneurs Preparing to move forward with your passion and ideas
At the most basic level, social entrepreneurs want to fix problems.
What kinds of problems ?
Well, what kinds of problems might you be concerned with ?
Some problems are nuisances or pet peeves, like overcrowded roads, outrageous dress, rude drivers, barking dogs, and telephone solicitors.
Other problems threaten or degrade our way of life: environmental pollution, crime, corruption in business and government, economic crises, and so on.
And then there are the problems that threaten life itself:
climate change, war, famine, genocide, disease, and natural disasters — a grisly list for sure.
It's probably true that the world today is plagued with more problems
of all three types than at any other time in history.
We face challenges like never before.
The world's "to do" list is enormous and growing.
For social entrepreneurs, that means take your pick — please !
You can start small, focusing on a narrow, local issue, and work your way
up to bigger and broader goals, building on your successes.
The good news — and the bad news, of course — is that there is no shortage
of problems around, waiting to be tackled.
What Is Social Entrepreneurship ?
Social entrepreneurship and its methods, borrowed from the world of business, are becoming more and more popular among morally conscious people itching to solve a particular social problem and possibly make money in the process.
Social entrepreneurs execute innovative solutions to what they define as social problems — be they local, regional, national, or international.
In social entrepreneurship, people use the principles of enterprise — business principles and even capitalism itself — to create social change by establishing and managing a venture. Some are altruists.
They set up small, medium, or large nonprofit groups designed to ameliorate a difficult situation threatening certain people, flora, fauna, or the environment — or sometimes a combination of these.
Others are profit seekers with a heart, who manage to establish a money-making enterprise that improves a situation in one of these four areas.
Whether starting and running a nonprofit or for-profit social enterprise, these entrepreneurs are usually practical.
Each entrepreneur has a mission, typically one that is powerfully felt with urgency
and compassion, and each takes concrete action leading to solution of the
problem targeted in that mission.
We've just described the scope of social entrepreneurship, or what social entrepreneurs do.
But what is the nature, or essence, of social entrepreneurship ?
One way to answer that question is to look at its three essential elements :
motivation, organization, and society.
Social entrepreneurship is motivation
Any discussion of social entrepreneurship and its entrepreneurs must include why people get involved in it in the first place.
Sure, they're trying to solve a pressing problem, one that bothers them and probably other people.
But look at the desire to be a social entrepreneur in still broader terms. Some entrepreneurs hope to develop a for-profit
social enterprise — they're seeking a livelihood of some sort. It may not be much at first, but they hope it brings reasonable success in the long run.
For other entrepreneurs, eventually becoming a for-profit social enterprise
may be a side effect, even an unexpected one, of their first efforts.
And some are only interested in working toward building a successful
These possibilities of for-profit and nonprofit organizations raise the
question of what the entrepreneur gets out of all this, besides solving
a problem and changing the world as a result of the solution.
What is that person's motivation ?
Motivation has long-term effects.
Why you do something often determines how and how well you end up doing it.
We discuss this matter of motivation in several ways throughout this book.
It comes up when we consider the feelings or urgency and compassion that inspire social entrepreneurs.
It comes up when we explain social entrepreneurship as either a special form of leisure (the nonprofit form) or a special form of work (the for-profit form).
And it comes up when we look at commitment and obligation.
Social entrepreneurship is organization
A social enterprise is an organization, often one that is legally incorporated
(see Chapter 14 for more on that).
As in all successful organizations, leaders of social enterprises must engage in careful planning, organizing, and building their group's identity.
They have to decide on the structure of the enterprise, the nature of its constitution, and the elements of its bureaucracy.
Sooner or later, they have to decide whether to be a for-profit or nonprofit
entity — a decision that has implications for the organization's status as a tax-deductible charity.
The organization needs a mission statement, which sets out its vision,
and a clear set of goals toward which to work.
Those are the minimal things that must be done in order to have much
of a chance at success.
The nature of organizations requires that there be leaders and followers.
The principles of good leadership apply as much to social enterprises as to
any other kind of organization.
The same may be said for managing the people who participate in them.
In for-profits, these people, or staff, are paid; whereas in nonprofits,
they're either paid or serve as volunteers.
Some nonprofits rely on both paid staff and volunteers.
Social entrepreneurship is society.
Social entrepreneurship doesn't take place in a vacuum — far from it.
Working with others is the whole idea, and not just internally within the
As with other organizations, social-enterprise leaders must adapt to and take advantage of the organization's external environment.
In practice, this means publicizing the enterprise and establishing
networks of communication and influence with like-minded groups and with
private and governmental sources of power, all of which can help or hinder
the enterprise's goals.
A multitude of large-scale trends currently bear on social entrepreneurship.
They include the international movement of national populations, decline in amount and sources of money, and patterns of communicable disease, among others.
Trends can subtly or not so subtly influence how your own enterprise evolves, and even whether it eventually fails or succeeds.
Note that for-profit social enterprises are, at bottom, capitalistic entities.
Their leaders must necessarily be familiar with the fundamentals of capitalism,
the need for innovation, and the need to remain abreast of relevant information
about and knowledge of the world of business.
The biggest difference is that whereas normal businesses exist to serve one bottom line — profit — social businesses add two more: social and environmental impact. (We discuss the three bottom lines at length in Chapter 8.)
How Do You Get Started ?
Don't get us wrong. We're not asking you to do the Clark Kent thing and transform yourself into a superhero — or become a saint.
Not at all. We are asking you to free yourself enough, to be deviant enough, to find the suffering of others, and the state of our world, objectionable.
After you do that, what you plan to do about it is up to you.
People all over the world are claiming this responsibility and inalienable
right to address social and other problems — a right that comes simply
from being a person on this precious planet.
If you feel like it's time for you to step up to the plate, then you've come to the right place. Stepping up starts here.
Object to the crummy, miserable things going on.
You have that right and responsibility.
No one else is going to do it for you — or at least, not the way
you'd do it.
Refusing to rely on governments and other organizations to take care of your objection is a big part of the decision to become a social entrepreneur.
As a social entrepreneur, you'll challenge the status quo, to be sure.
Some people may even object to you, and that's probably a good sign.
The important thing is that your journey as a social entrepreneur will have begun. You're not simply bothered about something and leaving it at that. You object.
That objection is a precondition for your commitment to positive change.
But how do you change things ?
Wow. That's where the rubber hits the road.
That's where, for you, the plot thickens.
If your "deviance" takes you to the threshold of a strange land, you'll cross over into that land when you try to change things for the better.
You won't be alone, though.
We'll be here with you, in this book, at your shoulder.
You may already have an idea of which problem you want to address, change,
or fix. Coming to grips with how to tackle that problem is basically a three-phase process: recognizing and stating your objections to the problem, taking action
to try to solve the problem, and starting a social enterprise.
Recognizing and stating objections First, you have to see the problem clearly
enough to determine what action to try to take.
That means finding out everything you can about it.
In complex problems, such as those motivating the International Red Cross or Ryan's Well Foundation (both profiled later in this chapter), getting a clear view of the problem may take considerable research.
You aren't going to be able to effectively fight against something until you have
a decent idea of what you're fighting against.
Doing your homework also focuses your sense of urgency and compassion.
And it helps you define what you object to about the problem.
Write down as clearly and completely as possible what the problem is and why
you feel so passionately about it.
Here's an example of what we're talking about.
Project Laundry List (www.laundrylist.org) is a nonprofit social enterprise incorporated in the United States, with official charitable status.
Its mission is to make hanging out laundry to dry in the open air a respectable and environmentally friendly practice in America.
Project Laundry List further recommends using cold water to wash clothes, which it sees as an easy but effective way to save energy.
One of the conditions inciting the founders of Project Laundry List was the enactment of local rules that prohibited drying laundry in the open air.
The arguments for such regulations included the belief that laundry openly exposed results in a decline in property values, is unsightly, and is unnecessary given the widespread availability of mechanical, indoor clothes dryers.
The local rules opposed by Project Laundry List are mainly community covenants, landlord prohibitions, and zoning laws.
Though it operates only in the United States, the leaders of this social enterprise also point to the existence of similar restrictions in Canada and elsewhere in the world.
It's time, they say, to enact "right to dry" legislation. Project Laundry List also operates as an advocacy group for this cause.
The best dryer of clothes, claims the organization, is the solar dryer — hanging out clothing in the sun. By the end of 2009, clothesline legislation had been debated in at least nine states.
Project Laundry has also established a National Hanging Out Day in both the
United States and Canada.
How did such an unusual and interesting venture get started ?
Project Laundry List was born when students at Middlebury
College in New Hampshire reacted to plans by Hydro-Quebec to build some major dams in Canada and U.S. plans for expanding use of nuclear power.
The students protested by hanging political messages on clotheslines.
The following is another fairly typical, hypothetical example of how a social enterprise might get its start.
Say you've noticed that homeless people tend to congregate around the entrance
to your local library.
For everyone, trips to the library involve negotiating some
half-dozen panhandling requests and perhaps some closer-than-comfortable, close-range scrutiny from strangers.
You find that you object to the fact that these folks have nowhere else to go and nothing else to do.
And maybe you object to having to interact with strangers who place continual demands on passersby, or even see the situation as a safety hazard.
Maybe you start limiting your trips to the library, and maybe other people do too.
What can you do about this? Read on for one potential way to address it.
Taking action Once your objection is clarified and galvanized by urgency and compassion, you then enter phase 2 — making some initial attempts to solve the problem. You ask yourself, and probably other people, two questions:
What should be done, and what can be done? In practice, answering these questions means first trying to solve the problem through existing arrangements.
It may mean that you, as an objector, learn that appropriate governmental, private-sector, or nonprofit organizations for solving the problem either don't exist or are inadequate for the job.
In our hypothetical example, maybe the library says its property is open to the
public, and perhaps you find that there's no effective law against panhandling
in your town.
Moreover, the only home
homeless shelter nearby has closed, and no community center is currently open. Maybe you even ask the homeless people why they gather there, and they tell you that they were kicked out of the park a few blocks away, and there's nowhere else for them to go.
Trying to solve the problem by taking action through ordinary, existing channels is an important step.
But it's because of this step that most people bothered by a particular problem fail to get beyond objecting to it.
One reason for doing little other than objecting to the problem is that, often, the objector is unable to answer the questions about what should and can be done
Put another way, objectors may see no action in which they're both willing
and able to engage.
In our homeless-at-the-library example, if the library is no help, and neither is city
hall or the police, and nothing else exists that could easily replace the activity,
what should be done ?
Maybe you think there should be a safe place for homeless people to get together,
but maybe you go further and think there should be a way to prevent your fellow community members from being homeless in the first place.
What can be done about that? If there's no shelter, community center, or job-training program, as a social entrepreneur that should set some bells ringing.
Why aren't there those resources?
And you finally realize: You can be the one to get them started. At that point, it occurs to you that if you really want to fix the problem, you'll have to organize a more coherent and effective approach to solving it.
You will, in fact, need to establish a social enterprise.
The time has come to engage in some social entrepreneurship and move on to phase 3. If you succeed, you will have helped the homeless people and achieved your goal of taking action to address a perceived problem in your community.
Starting a social enterprise
Social entrepreneurship is, says Muhammad Yunus, winner of the Nobel
Peace Prize and pioneer of the idea of microcredit, "any innovative initiative
to help people." Let's look at another very simple example to see this definition in action.
As you'll see, what qualifies as a "social enterprise" can be quite informal.
A neighbor's dog spends most days outside, often with no apparent food or water.
The poor creature barks out of sheer despair and boredom.
It's driving you nuts — both the animal's sad, pleading noise and its lonesome lot in life. With your objection clarified, you enter the second phase: action.
First, you speak about the problem with the dog's owner, but he tells you to get lost, that he works all day, that the dog would chew his furniture if he left him inside, and that he can't afford to hire someone to watch the dog.
You call animal control, but they say they can't do anything.
You even consider moving away from the neighborhood,
but that's not a realistic option.
Kidnapping the dog and letting him loose in the country flicks briefly through your mind, and now you're horrified at yourself.
Perhaps there is a municipal bylaw about cruelty to animals in your town ?
But your search reveals that there is nothing that applies to this situation.
You're at the end of your rope, right ?
You aren't a hapless, wilting objector — you refuse to let the dog's problem go unsolved. What you need is help.
Problems often begin to be solved when you reach out to others.
You talk to other neighbors and learn that they're as irritated with the neighbor
as you are.
You get organized and hold a meeting to map out some strategies.
It turns out that several of you have some free time at least one day a week.
What if you got together and provided some free doggie day care
for your community ?
You have a garage you could convert into a place where dogs could congregate.
And one of the concerned neighbors knows someone on the city council who
may be able to provide some funding.
She'll talk to this person to see what can be done.
Another woman is a lawyer who suggests a bylaw on dog neglect be written and submitted to the city council in order to add some leverage to the idea that's forming.
You volunteer to write a letter to the editor of the local newspaper, explaining the need for this municipal bylaw pertaining to neglected animals — and announcing your plan for you and other neighbors to help take care of animals during the day.
Someone else says he's starting a local blog on the matter, as a way of swaying public opinion toward enacting the suggested bylaw.
Let's give this a happy ending:
These measures are sufficient to pressure the city council member for your district to propose an amendment to the municipal noise bylaw pertaining to dogs left alone outside during the day.
This measure passes.
The city council agrees to help offset your costs in converting your garage,
and you and the other neighbors work out a schedule whereby one of you is there every weekday to take care of animals whose owners work and
would otherwise leave their dogs alone.
You may not realize it, but what you've done is use social entrepreneurship
to solve a problem.
You didn't make any money doing it, but maybe that's the next step.
Maybe you could begin charging a small fee after you run through the city's stipend.
(We talk about earning money from social entrepreneurship throughout this book.)
The Beginnings of Social Enterprises
Why do some people devote huge amounts of time and sometimes personal funds
to solving a social problem ?
You could argue that, in the case of for-profit entrepreneurs, the answer is obvious: They want to make money.
But, if profit is the motive, keep in mind that nearly all social enterprises are substantially risky ventures.
If you want to be sure to make even a modest amount of money, there are far
more secure businesses than ones that try to solve social problems, too.
Social entrepreneurship becomes necessary when objectors find that appropriate governmental, private-sector, or nonprofit organizations for solving the problem don't exist or are inadequate for the job.
Objectors discover these weaknesses during phase 2, the action phase.
In the illustration about the neglected dog, government help was inadequate.
The objectors, forced by these circumstances, decided to try the entrepreneurial
route, or phase 3. It's this basic impulse that spurs social entrepreneurial action.
Making money may be a nice bonus, but it's not what motivates social entrepreneurs in the first place.
The homeless and animal-neglect examples were local issues used to illustrate typical small-time social entrepreneurial action.
Of course, many of the opportunities for social entrepreneurship are broader
than that and of much greater import for humanity.
The founding of the Light Up the World Foundation (www.lutw.org) is an example.
It's a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing lighting to poor people in remote areas who currently rely on kerosene lamps or even wood en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire.
In addition to improved nighttime lighting, this utility brings physical, educational,
and financial benefits. As you're probably beginning to see, social entrepreneurship
is, in some ways,
The founding of the Light Up the
World Foundation (www.lutw.org) is an example. It's a nonprofit humanitarian organization dedicated to providing lighting to poor people in remote areas who currently rely on kerosene lamps or even wood en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fire.
In addition to improved nighttime lighting, this utility brings physical, educational, and financial benefits.
As you're probably beginning to see, social entrepreneurship is, in some ways, limited only by your imagination and determination.
We round out this chapter with four more examples of how some of today's social enterprises first sprang into being.
These examples show how broad
and consequential — and inspiring — social entrepreneurship can be.
The International Red Cross
It wasn't until the mid-19th century that an attempt was made to develop
a system for nursing casualties among combatants in war.
What existed prior to this time were sporadic nursing stations, which were unprotected from enemy action.
Jean-Henri Dunant set out to ameliorate this situation
for men wounded on the battlefield.
He was inspired, or more accurately, horrified, by the carnage he observed in June 1859 during the Battle of Solferino, a particularly ugly part of the Austro-Sardinian War.
Dunant had been on his way to Algeria to tend to his business interests.
But now he saw that approximately 40,000 soldiers on both sides died in this engagement or were left wounded on the field.
Yet there was next to no medical service or even basic care for these men.
Dunant abandoned his plans to go to Algeria.
Instead, he spent several days helping to treat and care for the wounded. Subsequently,
Dunant managed to organize a massive system of relief assistance.
This he accomplished by persuading local people to aid the wounded and to do this for soldiers on both sides. Upon returning to his home in Geneva,
he wrote A Memory of Solferino, a book he published in 1862
with his own money.
He sent copies of it to main political and military figures everywhere in Europe.
In his book, he argued for the establishment of national voluntary relief organizations whose mission would be to help nurse wounded soldiers.
He also pointed to the need for international treaties that would protect neutral medics and establish field hospitals for soldiers wounded in battle.
Then, in 1863 in Geneva,
Dunant set up the Committee of the Five, which also consisted of him and four other leading members of well-known Genovese families.
The committee's goal was to study the feasibility of Dunant's ideas and then
to hold an international conference to consider the possibility of implementing them.
To better communicate its mission, the committee renamed itself the International Committee for Relief to the Wounded.
The committee submitted resolutions to a diplomatic conference sponsored by the Swiss government, to which national governments throughout Europe and those of the United States, Mexico, and Brazil were invited.
The conference resulted in the signing of the first Geneva Convention
by 12 governments and kingdoms.
Now, for the first time, legally binding rules would be enforced during armed conflict involving neutrality and protection of wounded soldiers, field medical personnel,
and certain humanitarian institutions.
Soon, the signing countries established their own national societies devoted to implementing the Geneva Convention and to using what had become their common symbol — a red cross.
In 1876, the international body became the International Committee of the
Red Cross (ICRC), which is the name still used to this day.
Today the ICRC (www.icrc.org) also provides relief assistance in response to emergency situations not caused by war, including disasters caused by human and natural forces.
Ryan's Well Foundation
Ryan Hreljac claims he's just a "regular, average kid." And he is. And he isn't.
When Ryan was a mere 6 years old, he learned from his elementary school teacher that people were dying because they didn't have clean water to drink.
All it would cost, Ryan figured, was $70 to drill one well that could make a huge difference.
So Ryan did tons of chores, and soon enough he had his money. Unfortunately,
he learned that $70 wasn't nearly enough.
He actually needed about $2,500 to make his dream come true. No problem,
Ryan declared. He'd just do more chores.
Well, it wasn't quite that easy, but where there's an indomitable child's will to do
good, it seems people are quick to follow.
Soon, with the steadfast support of his family, friends, neighbors, and folks from afar, Ryan's Well began.
Ryan garnered attention for his cause early on, beginning with a friend of the family who starting emailing her friends about it.
The rest, as they say, is history.
Today, at age 18, Ryan is recognized by UNICEF as a Global Youth Leader.
He has twice been a guest on Oprah and has appeared frequently
in many other forms of media.
More important, of course, is the good that Ryan's vision continues to do.
Believing that every person on this planet deserves clean water,
Ryan's Well Foundation (www.ryanswell.ca), founded in 2001, has now contributed
to building 461 wells in 16 countries, bringing clean water and sanitation services to more than 600,000 people so far.
My Life My Soul Ivette Attaud-Jones, a former Army wife, is a survivor of 20 years of domestic violence.
Sadly, Ivette lost a daughter during this unpleasant period of her life.
Now Ivette speaks out against this social epidemic to raise awareness.
She is also the founder of and program director for My Life My Soul,
The Unspoken Journey of Life after Domestic Abuse, an empowering nonprofit support group for women, established as a program of the Church of the Resurrection and incorporated in 1970.
After abused women leave their abusers, what happens ?
Attaud-Jones believes that before turning to the police, they look to faith-based communities.
So she established a training program to help those communities address domestic violence in their services.
She also wrote a book about this situation entitled Silent No More. Ivette is, not surprisingly, deeply committed to women's justice issues,
involving herself in many ways.
My Life My Soul (www.mylifemysoul.com), whose headquarters are in New York,
is also committed to raising sensitivity to domestic violence through public education and community awareness projects.
The Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan
The previous examples — and many more that you'll encounter
in this book — document the cases of individual social entrepreneurs.
However, one of the most fascinating and historically important examples of social entrepreneurship involves a large and impressive cohort of young men and women, some 15,000 strong.
These are the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan.
They're refugees and, too often, orphans of the Second Sudanese
Civil War — in many ways, the precursor to the current round of mass killings in Darfur — which claimed more than 2 million lives and displaced an estimated
4 to 5 million civilians.
As victims of this civil war, almost 26,000 little boys and girls between the ages of 4 and 12 years of age fled for their lives, heading east toward a hoped-for safe haven. But along the way, almost 10,000 of these children died.
Only little friends were there to bury those lost. Few Westerners growing up today can imagine the atrocious — let's say hellish — conditions faced by these children.
And yet virtually all the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan share one mission, one purpose, one dream: to keep the promise they made as children to the refugee-camp elders and return home to take part in the redevelopment of their beloved homeland.
That, in itself, is a magnificent phase 1 rebuttal of the powers that would eradicate them and their people.
From there, the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan moved into phase 2:
collaborating with each other and Westerners and mobilizing their resources in an effort to prosper in their new homes, primarily the United States, Australia, and Canada.
The Chicago Association for the Lost Boys of Sudan (www.lostboyschicago.com)
is a striking case in point. With a firmer foundation in place, these heroes are now entering phase 3: the social entrepreneurial phase.
From fundraising to building schools, churches, roads, wells, and much more, the Lost Boys and Girls of Sudan are taking every opportunity to rebuild Southern Sudan under the tenuously protective umbrella of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement signed in 2005.
The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation (www.valentinoachakdeng.org)
is today one of the better-known examples of these efforts.
Moving Forward with Your Ideas and Passion If you already have one or more social problems in mind to solve through social entrepreneurship, the process of expanding and moving forward is simple:
Read those parts of this book that best fit your needs.
But, assuming that you've read this chapter because you were curious about
social entrepreneurship without having a particular social problem in mind,
what's your next step ?
Well, you should read the rest of this book, or as much as interests you.
But overall, here's what you're going to be doing, in five broad steps, all of which are covered in detail in this book:
1. Identify a social problem for which you have substantial passion and a sense
The chapters in Part I address this issue.
If you need to further stimulate your imagination, turn to Chapter 19 for a list of ten great areas for social entrepreneurial action.
2. Develop a plan for solving the problem you've identified.
Your plan will be rough and preliminary, sure, but you have to start somewhere.
You may want to consult with someone else as you prepare this plan.
The idea in general is to put something on paper sufficient to show
others in an initial meeting.
Chapters 7 through 9 in this book are designed
to help you plan.
Additionally, Chapters 1 through 6 give you different kinds of useful background information that can help you sell your ideas to others whose assistance you may need, to family and friends whose opinion of your project you value, and last, but not least, to yourself.
3. Decide whether to try to solve this problem alone or with the help of
some other people.
If you're going to need help, then who might want to help ?
Whom do you know who shares your passion and sense of urgency
about the problem ?
about the problem ?
Do they have some time to commit to helping you solve it ?
Will they bring some critical expertise to the table ?
Will they be team players ?
Are they able to work well with others? Several chapters in this book can help you reach out and lead others,
including Chapters 4 and 11 and the chapters in Part IV.
4. Call a meeting to discuss your preliminary plan.
The idea here is to find sufficient agreement on a more final plan among those
who want be involved in your evolving social enterprise.
In other words, your draft plan, initially conceived alone or mostly alone,
is your starting point in this step.
Bear in mind that it may change.
It's possible that not everyone will like it.
Some may drop out right there because the project isn't what they thought it was going to be.
But others will stay on longer.
It's among this latter group that you must find agreement on a draft of the plan.
All this may take a series of meetings.
5. Execute your plan.
With your plan and team in hand, you've developed a significant consensus among
a group of people ready to work with you on setting up a social enterprise.
Now it's time take action.
At this point, it would be good to reread Chapters 7 through 9 in light of the new plan.
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