Young: Finding entrepreneurial inventors in our midst

Opportunities abound—you just have to look for them.

Joel YoungI know what you are thinking—you still relate the word and the meaning of “entrepreneur” to be pure business venturing.

But, this week, I want to recognize and embrace the reality that entrepreneurial creation, in its purest form, relates in large measure to the elements of innovation and creativity via inventive development.

Yes, inventors continue to be very relevant in our global world and definitely within the entrepreneurial world.

So, I want to focus on an important aspect of “entrepreneurial invention”, that being the entrepreneurial opportunity.

An all too common question I get from would-be inventors, creators and entrepreneurs is “how do I find real problems to solve?”

There are, I’ve discovered in my six years of living in this region, an incredible number of exceptionally-talented individuals who are on track to seek their entrepreneurial opportunity niche.

By the same token, books have been written, scholars lecture and much discussion and debate conjures up the issue how to find the opportunities that can be converted into genuine realistic and realizable ventures for you.

OK, so let’s begin with another reality check—there is no easy journey to entrepreneurial success . Any potential successful venture for any of us requires hard work, commitment, dedication and, yes, patience.

You should read Peter Drucker’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship.

Drucker is the so-called “father of management” and to some degree, entrepreneurship theory.

His book, around since the 1980s, is a classic exploration presenting the how-to approach for finding opportunities.

It even includes strategies for guiding your path of discovery.

Another critically important milestone on your opportunity discovery journey is to recognize that all ventures begin with the customer.

True entrepreneurship is the ability to find and solve a problem or void in the marketplace that will solve a want or a need.

If you can’t find someone to pay you to do what you want to do for them don’t give up until you’ve researched and analyzed your idea thoroughly and exhausted all possibilities.

Then, perhaps, your next best approach might be find that certain someone with the need—or a very strong interest in— something you develop on your own to address that want or need, and sell it to them.

The key to this approach is qualifying the need to the market.

The better you can qualify the need, the more likely you won’t be wasting your time.

Go talk to potential customers.

Ask them, if I had something that would satisfy your want and need, would you be interested? How interested? At what price?

What you’re looking for is interest. If you get it, then give the solution you have found, some serious attention.

So, let’s tackle some objectives that would-be entrepreneurs cite when pursuing this methodology.

“If I give them my idea, they’ll just go and develop it themselves” Why would they spend their time and resources when they have a motivated and dedicated person champing at the bit to make it happen?

“I don’t have the time to get out and talk to prospects.” If you convince yourself you don’t, then give it up now because you are swimming upstream against the current.

“I don’t feel ethical trying to market something before I’ve got it aced. What if I can’t deliver? “ There is nothing unethical about going out in the world to find a potentially needed and profitable venture to present. It’s not uncommon for entrepreneurial dreamers to take some cash upfront before they actually solve the market problem.  Don’t feel guilty about it.

“I like spending time in the lab. I don’t like making cold calls.” Either learn to like it,or find a partner who does because that is the essence of entrepreneurial venturing. Commercially speaking, nothing counts until it sells. And, ignoring that fact is a road to failure. Don’t underestimate the value and need for partnering in your venture. Also, surprisingly effective preparation sometimes turns up other unanticipated genuine opportunities.

The other part of preparing for achieving your entrepreneurial opportunity is adequately preparing yourself.

Force open your eyes, set some goals and importantly, build a productive mindset. You’ll need it.

Erase “should” and “could” from your vocabulary and your thinking. And, don’t get trapped in your own notions.

A good deal of your knowledge may constitute solutions to yesterday’s problems.

It may or may not apply to today.

Some of the best opportunities lie among “truths” that no longer apply.

The final part of preparing for opportunities is to quit preparing and act.

Find out what works and doesn’t work for you.

The more time you spend in entrepreneurial activities and exploration, the better you’ll get at it which will increase the odds of success in your favour.

Don’t be afraid to take risks. And, don’t be afraid to fail.

You will learn more from your mistakes and failures, no matter how big or small.

Go with what works and discard what doesn’t.

The old Gestalt saying, “don’t push the river, it flows by itself” applies well to entrepreneurial invention.

There are no lack of ideas and opportunities today. Arguably, there are more genuine opportunities in our world today than ever in our history.

Entrepreneurial invention and opportunities arise from both social and technological change.

If you’re running around frustrated by what you feel is a lack of ideas and potential opportunities, maybe you’re doing it to yourself.

It’s definitely not being done to you.

The opportunities are there whatever level you’re aiming for.

So, prepare, look, act and prosper.

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