Principled Entrepreneur’s Way, Part 2


In the last newsletter I sent, I spoke about the principled entrepreneur’s way; about being a creator and engaging in the act of creating. If you’ve been around here long enough, you know that a strong mentor of mine is Art Ciocca. He generally distinguished between “creators” and “harvesters” among the attitudes of people in a company. 

Principled entrepreneurs are creators. For us to develop - and retain a creator mindset, we have to practice it every day. We have to come up with new ways of doing things, new products, services, and ideas. 

It's easy to come up with a new way of doing what someone else is doing. It's much harder to do this for ourselves. We have to learn to prove or disprove our own good ideas, brainstorm alternatives and become comfortable being creative when our options or powers are limited. That's why, when I got the opportunity to teach business students, I made sure I developed a way to practice this "creator" behavior. 

Every freshman I teach at the Busch Business School at the Catholic University of America starts a business. That’s about 300 students per year! I’ve never come across one who couldn’t come up with an idea, yet 99% of the ideas fail. The key of this course is not in the success of the idea itself. It’s in the habit-forming behavior. 

Here’s what I ask them to do: brainstorm 99 ideas for an online "affiliate marketing" business and identify which ones generate buying interest and allow flourishing. They start working on the top three ideas. I ask the students to start implementing the first idea - create a blog, a YouTube channel or another affiliate marketing effort, with the goal to quickly prove or disprove its value proposition. 

If it is disproven, they quickly move on to the next one and so on... for the whole semester. This is a bit like baseball - with the ideas being balls pitched - and the batting being the execution of the business. The student is the batter. What they need to focus on is building muscle memory by practicing to hit well with as many balls as they can in the shortest time period possible. 

This can be practiced with you as well. Start with a problem, get an idea and keep going. Commit to it and carry it to the end. Seek closure. If it works, great - if it doesn’t, you’ve honed your muscle memory. We usually stay with a bad idea too long, especially if it's our own!

I was inspired by and recommend the following to help you continue in the way of Principled Entrepreneurship: 
Value Proposition Article
Entrepreneurial Makeup Quiz 
Building Good Habits

Thanks for reading. If you attempt to build your principled entrepreneurial muscle memory this week, let me know how it went. I look forward to your feedback!