Entrepreneurial efforts are like biological experiments in nature: Many variations are tried, but only a small percentage of those go on to thrive. You, however, have an advantage over nature. As an entrepreneur, you can set up your experiment with forethought. Entrepreneurs work under the constraints of their environment — the political economy. Five factors will be key to entrepreneurial success: creativity, tolerance for risk, responsiveness to opportunities, leadership and the ability to take advantage of the rights afforded to you.
Do not be dissuaded by the challenge to be creative. You need not be the original wheel creator to improve upon a stone cylinder. By standing on the shoulders of giants, you can take existing ideas and make small improvements upon them. Your best ideas may come to you as you are falling asleep or while you are taking a shower. Recognize when you have a fresh idea and do not let them get away from you. Write them down! Not every idea has to be a home run. By accumulating your ideas, you will be able to distill the great ones from the rest and be ready to run with the best.
Rewards rarely come without risk. Your ability to take advantage of an opportunity will depend, in part, on your tolerance for risk. As the founder of a start-up, investors will expect you to have a vested interest in your business. If you will not bet on your idea, why should anybody else? If you cannot afford the risk, financially or emotionally, then you might make decisions that are too tepid to be successful. To do well, an entrepreneur needs the strong sense of self-efficacy to believe the risk will be surmountable.
Opportunity can leave quickly. With the Internet, the spread of information and ideas has led to deeper, faster competition to be the first mover. The ability to respond to the market and new business opportunities can be the difference between a successful entrepreneur and a failed business model. To be responsive, an entrepreneur must have the flexibility of mind and resources necessary to see and take advantage of new and upcoming possibilities. Learning from your mistakes and those of others to implement change can keep businesses afloat. Calcifying rigidity, on the other hand, can turn a start-up into dust.
It is up to the entrepreneur to marshal assets. Leaders are challenged with taking possibilities and turning them into inspiring visions for others. You will inevitably have to sell either your idea or your product to begin your entrepreneurship. It will be up to the entrepreneur to take the idea and turn it into actions and products to capitalize on the opportunity. Leadership can come in many forms, but it is nevertheless essential to entrepreneurship. You must take the lead for your ideas to come to fruition.
Intellectual property laws can provide you with exclusive business rights to your ideas. If you do not protect your ideas, they may be copied — cheaply. Once an idea is in the public domain, it may no longer be possible to use that idea as a competitive advantage. Society values ideas being shared. In exchange for sharing ideas, governments provide limited monopolies that will allow you to capitalize on them for a period, making up in part for the costs you have incurred in research and development. Intellectual property professionals can aid you in seeking such rights.