Tools that will help you identify your entrepreneurial vision Author: Leon Presser Every successful entrepreneur has a â€œvisionâ€?. This vision represents the guiding framework of the entrepreneurâ€™s new enterprise. For example, will you manufacture shoes, build contemporary furniture, develop software products, design medical instruments, and start a commercial airline? Associated with your vision must be your strong conviction that it represents an opportunity you can fulfill. Equally important, it must be an opportunity that you will enjoy fulfilling. The question is: how do you find this vision? It is fascinating that some entrepreneurs have a vision, albeit fuzzy, from a very early age. Others have an intense desire to identify the business opportunity that will become their vision. One way or another, an entrepreneur must pinpoint his/her vision. Then, an entrepreneur will prepare for the time when all the components pieces are in place to make a move and to commence the business journey. Identifying your vision is somewhat analogous to identifying your spouse or partner. It could be love at first sight or love after an incremental process of getting to know one another better. As you grow older and your life experiences accumulate, you develop an implicit set of criteria that outline the person you will choose as a spouse or the opportunity that will be your vision. So, back to the fundamental question: How do I identify my vision (i.e., my business opportunity)? I do not know of any formula that will identify an opportunity for you. I do not believe that any such formula will ever exist; however, there is no question that multiple opportunities are passing you by all the time. Your challenge is to recognize them, evaluate them, and iterate until you find YOUR opportunity, the core around which you build your vision. Interestingly enough there are some powerful problem-solving techniques that are generally found in mathematical and philosophical contexts that can be used to help you identify you vision. One of the challenges I faced in writing this book was to map these methodologies into a simple set of techniques that would be easy to master. I want to emphasize that none of these techniques represents a formula to create your vision. However, they can be of much assistance in focusing your vision if you have an initial general idea under consideration. Let me illustrate with a simple real-life example. The inventor of pens
Years ago I was fortunate to meet a gentleman named Nathan Zepell. He was a successful inventor who held a number of patents on different pen designs he had created. He once described to me a simple process he used to conceive new pens, or writing instruments, as he used to call them. He told me he would place a standard pen in front of him and start listing characteristics that defined the pen. For example, he would list the size, the shape, the position of the clip, the color of the ink, the cost to manufacture, and so on. He would then evaluate the possibility of changing each of these characteristics and imagine what the resulting pen would look like. Through this process he came up with a number of successful pen designs. As a present he gave me one that was marketed under the name Pentastic®. The standard ball point pen has a tubular shape. The Pentastic is a flat pen. It has the same length as a conventional pen, but it is in the shape of a long triangle with a small base and two long sides. The writing tip is at the opposite end of the base. It is very comfortable to hold. Standard pens typically contain a single ink color since pens with more than one ink color tend to be more expensive to produce. The Pentastic, because of its flat design, easily accommodates two different colors of ink. But most important of all, it is inexpensive to manufacture and has space for quite a bit of easy-to-read writing (i.e., advertising) to be placed on the flat surfaces. This pen design appealed to companies that wanted an inexpensive, attractive pen to give to clients. What I illustrate with this narrative of Zepell’s approach is that he knew that his expertise and opportunities were in the area of writing instruments. He used the technique I described to pinpoint a specific business opportunity. If you have expertise in a particular area you can employ this technique to discover an opportunity that will give birth to your vision and a new business. Of course I must tell you that in the book I have extensive coverage of how different entrepreneurs obtained their vision as well as a collection of simple techniques to help you pinpoint your vision. I do want you to read the book. I also encourage you to go to the book’s website (www.whatittakestobeanentrepreneur.com) and subscribe so that you will be notified each time a new post occurs. Leon Presser is a veteran Entrepreneur and author of “What it Takes to be an Entrepreneur”. Read more of his entrepreneurial advice at www.WhatitTakestobeanEntrepreneur.com
Published on Feb 4, 2010
Every successful entrepreneur has a “vision”. This vision represents the guiding framework of the entrepreneur’s new enterprise. For example...