Don’t be self-defeating! Innovate.

Big companies need you, don’t let their presence prevent you from moving forward with your ideas, designs and inventions.

How many great ideas have been crushed by thoughts like, “What if I take my product public and a big competitor just replicates it, crushing me and my idea?

There was a good article in Entrepreneur magazine last month (Buy vs. build – Sam Hogg) that I want to summarize, in effort to promote progress rather than hesitation.

In short, big companies typically don’t build, they buy, they typically don’t innovate, rather they automate. Their shareholders demand guaranteed, successful growth, a requirement that start-up entrepreneurs can’t afford and also are not shackled by.

Innovation requires people (entrepreneurs) with wild ideas, solutions to problems and visions of a better future.

Large companies cannot afford the risk nor the time required to create something that may fail, it makes them look bad to their board and investors.

Entrepreneurs can make plans on a napkin and decisions over a couple of beers, large companies struggle to get a memo crafted in a day to call a meeting for next month.

Risk vs. reward…. it makes a lot more sense for a big business to buy a hot innovation than run the risk of trying to make it and failing, even if they have to pay a premium on the guarantee.

If you are thinking of innovation and afraid of getting stepped on, don’t be, just run faster and prove your success to a strategic partner or buyer (big business).

Free iPad for the best Entrepreneurial Idea/Plan

Win a Free iPad by using your brainYes, seriously, a free iPad for the best Entrepreneurial idea/plan! The 3G one too, not just WiFi.

There are conditions of course, it’s a contest and not a sweepstakes. The prize is a 3G iPad with 18 months of service and any business assistance I can give (within reason). If I get a good response I’ll make sure it shows up for the holidays! Who knows, if I get more than one awesome idea, there may well be more than one prize – it’s happened before.

In working with the kids and staff on starting, building and running a business, I was thinking that it would be really cool to see how many ideas we could all come up with. I spend a lot of time kicking ideas around and have found my iPad pretty useful for doing so with the various applications for project management, financial calculations, flow charting, drawings and collaboration. I have to imagine the same is true of similar minds. If you don’t participate then you lose and I’ll win my own iPad 🙂 or just save the money.

What I wanted to find out is, what are the best ideas for businesses that are conceptualized, planned, started, built and run with no other in-house technology besides iPads. This does NOT exclude cloud computing for various purposes, but the business and its offices have no other technology at the desktop besides the iPad. No desktops, no servers, no Ethernet, no fax machines or phones, copiers, printers or anything along the same lines.

Ideas are great but don’t go anywhere without a plan. The best idea wins yet must come with a plan to succeed and ideally the drive to carry forward with the idea. I’d love to help make it happen for someone who really gets it and may just need some encouragement and help.

Privacy notice: You have my word that your ideas are safe and won’t be shared nor would I run with them unless you were at the helm. I can offer a lot of assistance to the right person with the right idea. Since you probably don’t know me nor my word, feel free to ask around, I’m sure you’ll find it as you should.

If you know someone with the moxy and the need for a iPad, send them here for me please. Thanks.

You can post your response, send it through the contact page or email me directly (probably best). My email here is me@ my domain. Call me if you want, but you still have to submit it in writing.

Thanks for playing along!

Initial Entrepreneurship Questions (9945)

Some feedback after initial questions about being an entrepreneur and starting one’s own business…

I got started on this project with some discussions around entrepreneurship, some with my 11 year old and some with various people that I interacted with who have some of the spirit in them.

Starting with my oldest son, I’m discovering if he has what it takes, is it too early to explore for him individually, does he have some understanding of the task, ideas on where to do and any fundamentals that are brought out in the subtleties of the answers themselves. Without going into great detail, some of the questions are:

  1. Do you want to be an entrepreneur?
  2. Do you know what it means to be an entrepreneur?
  3. Do you want to run your own business?
  4. Do you have any ideas as to what you’d like to do with this business?
  5. Why do you want to run your own business?

He had some good answers, the best was the answer to #5. We talked about writing content to help others understand a particular product from the vantage of an 11 year old and how he could monetize that service, expand on that type of service and where it could go from there. His answer(s) were as you’d expect with the addition of the value side of it whereas the service (business) would be helping others and solving some of their problems with a greater understanding. Centering the mindset of running a business around helping others and solving problems is a huge step in the right direction. Making financial reward (non-value) the focal point of starting a business and/or running a business is a recipe for failure.

Then on to some general discussions with various others during the week.

I received this from a business student finishing up at university. I’ll leave out the specific answers, they are as you might expect.

  1. Do you have any specialty in study as a business student?
  2. What sort of business do you want to run?
  3. Why do you want to run your own business?

While it is completely hypocritical of me, please don’t start your business to revolt against years of others that “don’t get it” or can’t do it as well as you can (think you can). The business was a good one but the motivation was wrong in my opinion. The idea of starting the company because my boss sucked and because starting my own business will allow me to make my own schedule is a rational one, just not particularly realistic. Maybe my boss does suck or maybe he thought the same thing and is now overwhelmed with the realities of running a business. Making your own hours… I suppose this works it if is a lifestyle business, but as they say, if it’s not growing it’s dying. To build and grow a business allows you to set your own hours alright, you get to set them between 6 am and 2 am with a few hours to sleep or maybe eat. It is a lot harder than it looks, takes a lot more time than you think and can often pay a whole lot less than you’d hope. The rewards though far outweigh the negatives if you truly want to fulfill a need, solve a problem and provide value.

I’m looking forward to seeing where this goes.

Project-9945 – Introduction

What the heck is Project-9945?

Excellent question. Project-9945 is an experiment revolving around efforts to cultivate/grow the entrepreneurial spirit in others within close circles.

Detailing what is observed from those nearby with and without the spirit within.

Highlighting what can be transferred, taught, inspired and mobilized – by me anyway.

Can the path be carved out several steps ahead of yourself?

Will my children follow my path or can I slingshot them forward to ensure they outdo anything I’ll ever accomplish?

If encouraged one way will they walk the other way or are the already heading that way anyhow?

Those around me are well aware of the spirit and if it were embraced would have all of the support I can possibly give. Opinions on why  some do and some don’t.

Like so many things in life and experiments in general, the answers are not known and frankly, neither is the path to the answers.

I try some things and update accordingly, read and comment if you care to. I’ll put the posts in the category (Project-9945).