Entrepreneurs are a brave bunch: Studies like those done by the University of Tennessee and The Bureau of Labor Statistics show that a quarter of all new businesses fail after the first year and nearly half don’t make it to the second.
What can you do to be one of the few that succeeds?
I have worked with hundreds of startups, entrepreneurs, innovators, and company founders around the world. One of the first things I suggest in starting a business or innovating within their organization, — whether it’s a hobby-scale craft shop or a corporation with a global focus — is that they create a worldview. Think about the ever-shrinking distance between people and things around the planet. An understanding and analysis of the macro situations that might be impactful to a business has been critical to many successful entrepreneurs.
Pinning down your worldview may sound intimidating, but you can start with just three steps.
Step 1: Start with Your View of the World.
Think about your focus on your world: Is it broad enough, objective, and inclusive to the point that it takes in the many factors and complexities of today’s changing world and customer demands? An understanding of the world marketplace has been key to the development and success of any idea or business that has been created.
Step 2: Take a Step Back and Take in the Broader View.
One of the phenomena of the entrepreneurial spirit is that the entrepreneur often becomes emotionally attached to their business ideas. Being close and attached to something that one creates can cause one’s reality and vision to be skewed by emotion and internalized thinking.
Have you ever been so close to something that you have not been able to see it objectively?
Developing a worldview is one way to force yourself to face reality and step away from your inner thinking. Your resulting objectivity better will allow you to:
- Complete and utilize the results of objective analysis tools such as SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) that can insure that you are as prepared as possible for all known (and unknown) risks and contingencies.
- Create an accurate assessment of your product and its value.
- Develop a complete understanding of the customer and target market.
- Create a view of the competition.
- Develop a realistic plan for growth.
Step 3: Forecast the View in the Future.
A successful business person needs to consider the life of the product or service being proposed and sold. Will a customer today still be a customer tomorrow? Factors that might result in the loss of a customer must be carefully considered, along with the planning needed to be done to retain customers and attract new ones. A successful entrepreneur also needs to consider how they will communicate their ideas. Additionally, they need to carefully weigh their risks and contingencies. These are examples of concerns of the new business owner that must be handled objectively. None of these things is possible with cloudy, provincial, incomplete, or biased information that result from a lack of a global perspective.
There are many ways to create a worldview. Anthony Bourdain (CNBC) has a TV show devoted to his worldview that is based on food that he cooks and eats. I follow the stock market. By following the markets, I get a sense of how different events are impacting the world. This is important because I tend to forget that there are things happening outside my day-to-day life that impact my decision-making process. The stock market is a constant reminder that I need to occasionally “look up” if I am going to make good business decisions for me and my clients.
No matter how you do it, the success or failure of your idea is dependent on how well you understand the world around you. This is essential for any entrepreneur, regardless of the type venture they are attempting to create.
Johnson & Wales University offers an online BSBA – Entrepreneurship degree. For more information, complete the “Request Info” form on this page or call 855-JWU-1881.