Can Entrepreneurship Change the World?

There are plenty of opinions on where our economy is headed – not just in the US but globally. How do you save the world? Seth proposes being a linchpin (Linchpin: Are You Indispensable?). Umair Haque argues we don’t need to be great, but good. We should focus on socially responsible entrepreneurship.

I recently got an invitation to speak at the honorable St. Gellan Symposium in Switzerland. The topic? Entrepreneurs – Agents of Change.

Tomorrow, I leave for Indiana to go speak to the bright students at Culver. On what else? Entrepreneurship. What will I tell them? Yes, entrepreneurs have changed the world since the beginning of modern civilization. Perhaps even before that. (I sense a  “even a caveman can do it”  joke.) I will tell them my story about how I became one. And, I will share with them these five key points about Entrepreneurship –

1) Ideas aren’t worth much. EXECUTION IS! Ideas are a dime a dozen. Dreamers are a dime a dozen. The true power lies in execution. No matter how brilliant the idea,  if you cannot implement it – it doesn’t mean much.

2) Invest in Education. Education doesn’t have to be conventional. It does have to be constant. A solid entrepreneur never stops learning. You can bootstrap everything, but you can’t skimp on training.

3) Marketing. Marketing. Marketing. It’s not a dirty word. It isn’t ugly or scary. It is a necessity in today’s world. It can’t trump the product or the service – but it can take a good product or service to a whole new level.

4) Social Media has CHANGED the world -leverage it. You can be more, do more, say more -reach more than ever before. But, don’t mistake the medium for the message. Yes, you can broadcast your ideas to millions. But should you? And more importantly, which ones?

5) Learn to Listen and SPECIALIZE. You can’t solve every problem. Don’t even try. Just get VERY good at fixing one or a few. When I first started The Marketing Zen Group, it wasn’t called that. We didn’t specialize in online marketing. We definitely didn’t pride ourselves in being social media experts. We failed because I tried to build a general consultancy. When I started listening to my clients, that changed. I realized that they were already telling us what problem they needed help with. That’s when we decided to focus on online marketing. It was hard at first. Saying no to other things always is, but then so is becoming just another company.

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  • Shelby J

    This seems to be a big problem with the college students I am surrounded by. I hear a TON of ideas… and even recognize a great enthusiasm for them TO BE EXECUTED… but there is usually no one ready and willing to take on the challenge of execution.

    This is something I am working on overcoming myself; taking ideas and making things happen (like my work-in-progress senior project/website

  • Bruce Christensen

    I am currently bumping up against some of the execution issues that you speak of.

    As a first time internet entrepreneur, I find that my education is gained mostly by making mistakes, asking questions and then making course corrections.

    It is mostly an exciting ride!

  • Steve-Personal Success Factors

    Love your point about specializing. I’ve found that to be important in my own private practice as a therapist. By specializing, I can then take the 10,000 hours to study and become expert at that area. It’s hard to be an expert at everything!

  • Adrian Swinscoe

    I agree with your list. In my experience, I would suggest an additional point about Entrepreneurship:
    1. Entrepreneurs are always asking questions looking for a better way or answer. That’s why they are often great at starting new initiatives but not the best suited to running more established operations.