Entrepreneurs, innovation, and the global market

The new year of 2011 is barely a week old, and I have already been asked by 2 seed stage companies to help them. Bottom line: do I believe that they can convert their fledgling ideas onto a product suitable for the global market?

Well maybe not by next week, but certainly they have a chance. And why?

The Financial Times has led a discussion on why multinationals are increasingly sourcing innovative new products and technologies from emerging economies. A classic example is how Coca Cola’s new fruit juice started its life in China.

I have read elsewhere that General Motors is investing US$5 million in a mobile phone charger. The product was developed in Israel and produced in China. The list goes on.

So what is going to allow my entrepreneurs to make a difference and succeed? How are they going to develop in order to catch the eyes of the big players?

Luck and ready access always help. More specifically, a recent survey from American universities highlights the importance of old-fashioned common sense:

Entrepreneurs, especially during the early stages of their start-ups, have to think on their feet…..They have to make the best decisions possible in the least amount of time. They need to act. Practical intelligence empowers them to act quickly and confidently.

How to do that? First and foremost, emerging CEOs should not think that they have to do everything by themselves. We are so trained to believe that the only success that counts is one of perfection and which is obtained on our own.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Here’s what I mean. I was meeting my 2 seed stage companies in good surroundings. I encouraged them to look around themselves. They realises that what they were observing was achievement and success, but not perfection. And these “impurities” had not stopped the owners from setting out and moving ahead.

The follow on from this is to find a mentor. All business people need somebody that they can trust in order to bounce ideas off them. Even if the two people disagree, the final concept is often crystallised in to a more sustainable form.

Paying a few cents for a few words of support can even lead to the yellow brick road and commercial joy.

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