This is the first post in a series on launching a successful startup.
One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everyone in the hopes of increasing their market share. In the beginning, many new entrepreneurs can be overwhelmed by their own brainstorming taking an “act now, plan later” approach to get a jump on the competition. But the foundation stage of a new venture is critical because it’s the stage when entrepreneurs must define the specific ingredients that make their product or service competitive—the stage where they determine a target market that will use that product or service. Failure to do either could result in a business that never finds its niche, and therefore, never sells.
Thankfully, budding entrepreneurs now have a road map. In Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup, Bill Aulet, Managing Director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship, goes beyond theory to outline several concrete steps anyone can take to be a successful entrepreneur. In his book, Aulet stresses the importance of segmenting your market to find the sweet spot that will guarantee a successful business. He defines a sweet spot as that place where a product or service connects with a target audience that will buy, use, and wholeheartedly adopt that product or service, eventually spreading the word to other potential customers.
MIT alumni launch over 900 companies each year worldwide. That is in part because MIT has created an ecosystem of innovation—an environment that provides entrepreneurs-in-training with a community of innovators who push each other to take the risks necessary to learn and grow.
Bill Aulet, MIT Sloan Senior Lecturer, says that while entrepreneurship can be taught, what is more important is the “innovation hotbed” where entrepreneurs (and intrapreneurs: those who are entrepreneurs within established, often large corporations) develop their skills. In his MIT Sloan webinar, “Understanding and Unlocking the Potential of Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Intrapreneurship,” Aulet claims that in addition to the required skill set entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs require a holistic approach to long-term success in an environment that supports innovation. He believes that MIT alumni are successful because they have learned to recreate and sustain the conditions for innovation in their ventures.
MIT Sloan Professor Arnoldo Hax was recently awarded the Medal of Comendador de la Orden al Mérito de Chile (Commander of the Order of Merit of Chile) in recognition of a lifetime of distinguished service to Chile. Hax is the Alfred P. Sloan Professor of Management, Emeritus and a Professor of Technological Innovation, Entrepreneurship, and Strategic Management at MIT Sloan.
The highest honor given to foreign nationals by the Government of Chile, this award was presented to Hax by Chilean President Sebastián Piñera, in a ceremony held in June in Washington, D.C.