From Idea to Success: The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network Guide for Start-Ups / Edition 1

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Overview

Founding a company on a promising idea is serious business. It’s risky, it takes hard work, and it can be a long time before you turn a profit. Entrepreneurship is also extraordinarily exciting, and the rewards—when they come—are many. But only if you do it right.

In From Idea to Success, Gregg Fairbrothers, Tuck School of Business professor and founder of the DEN, Dartmouth College’s Entrepreneurial Network, guides you through the process, so you can avoid common mistakes and seize opportunities many entrepreneurs miss. Learn how to:

  • Focus your idea for a product or service
  • Protect your idea
  • Know your market
  • Develop a business plan
  • Identify your competition
  • Avoid legal problems
  • Sell your product
  • Manager your finances

Make your vision a reality. Whatever your idea is—from major technology innovations to consumer products or services to social enterprises—learn here how to make the most of it.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780071760799
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Professional Publishing
  • Publication date: 7/19/2011
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Sales rank: 495,466
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 1.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Gregg Fairbrothers is an adjunct business professor at Dartmouth's Tuck School of Business, founding director of Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network (DEN), and founding chair of the Dartmouth Regional Technology Center. He has managed and founded oil exploration and production companies on three continents.

Tessa Winter is a 2009 graduate of Dartmouth College and experienced nonprofit entrepreneur. She is currently studying medicine at Dartmouth Medical School.

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Read an Excerpt

FROM IDEA TO SUCCESS

The Dartmouth Entrepreneurial Network's GUIDE FOR START-UPS


By GREGG E. FAIRBROTHERS, TESSA M. WINTER

The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.

Copyright © 2011Gregg E. Fairbrothers and Tessa M. Winter
All rights reserved.
ISBN: 978-0-07-176079-9


Excerpt

CHAPTER 1

Who Is the Entrepreneur?


Our so-called limitations, I believe,

Apply to faculties we don't apply.

We don't discover what we can't achieve

Until we make an effort not to try.

—Piet Hein


In 2005 an AC Nielson survey found that 58 percent of Americans self-report they dream of starting a business and being their own boss. Other writers report that the proportion is as high as two-thirds to three-quarters. The number of Americans who are operating what might be called entrepreneurial businesses is estimated at 10 to 15 percent, and the number who actually start new businesses in a specific year is well under half a percent. If so many people want to start and run their own businesses, why do so few actually do it? Is it because they think they know what it takes to be entrepreneurial and don't think they have it? In a 2009 survey, 82 percent of randomly selected respondents said they had at least once considered starting their own businesses but didn't do it; more said they believed there were critical things they didn't know than said they were worried about taking the risk. Why this gap? What do they think they are missing? What do they think entrepreneurial means? What assumptions are they making?

Before people can decide anything, they must at least believe that they understand what they are deciding; they have to start with definitions of the words they are using to describe what they are considering. Even if they don't deliberately set out to define their terms carefully, they are working with implicit definitions. In fact, that is normally the case: People base decisions on words and concepts they have not taken the time to examine and understand. No wonder so much sloppy thinking and deciding (or not deciding) goes on.

If we want to know why people think they can't be entrepreneurial, let's start by defining some terms. To start, what is entrepreneurial? The confusion starts right away. Most people don't talk about entrepreneurial; they talk about entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship. Indeed, on the first day of class, when we ask our MBA students to define entrepreneurial, many respond that it is "starting a new company." That might be part of it, but no. Feeling clever, some will say entrepreneurial is a person who starts a new company. But if it is just someone who starts a new company, what about the repeatedly successful inventors who license innovations to others and never start their own companies? They are not entrepreneurial? How about someone like Thomas Watson of IBM or Ray Kroc of McDonald's who builds a great success on the smaller foundation of an existing company? How about a person who starts a nonprofit or something big and new from inside an existing company?

Some students catch on to the idea and broaden the definition to describe entrepreneurial as a person driven to achieve, someone with a high tolerance for risk. Yes, this covers the objections, but it turns out that most studies of entrepreneurs don't support the notion that they are unusually driven to achieve. Many years of research have turned up few substantial personality characteristics that predict who will be a successful entrepreneur. As to being overly tolerant of risk, most entrepreneurs have a finely developed sense of risk and, when studied, don't turn out to have more tolerance for risk than managers in large organizations. They don't embrace risk; they focus on quantifying and systematically eliminating risks. Good entrepreneurs—the successful ones—identify what could go wrong and then take whatever steps they can to reduce the odds that this will happen, or they find another idea. Regardless, this is defining entrepreneurial as a person—a noun—or as an action—a verb. Look again at the part of speech: Entrepreneurial is an adjective.

Why is this important? Why does it matter if we are talking about a certain part of speech? The way we use words affects not only how others understand us but, perhaps more important, how we understand ourselves. Words frame our thinking, shape how we see opportunities, and expand or limit the way we see possibilities in the environment and in ourselves. Verbs and nouns, along with phrases such as "starting a new company" and "risk-tolerant person" are all or nothing. They reinforce the idea that you are or you aren't, you do or you don't. You're a have or a have-not. But working with the concept as an adjective frees you from binary either-or thinking because adjectives can work in degrees.

When you think about entrepreneurial as an adjective, you can come up with a list of synonyms. Here are some adjectives our classes often list when we ask them to describe a person who is entrepreneurial:

• Innovative and creative

• Self-motivated; takes initiative

• Flexible and adaptable

• Assertive

• Growth-oriented

• Opportunity-driven

• Active and dynamic

• Implementation- and efficiency-focused

• Productive in an unstructured environment

• Driven to create value

• People- and team-focused

• Decisive


Like any collection of adjectives, this set of characteristics can manifest in all kinds of combinations and degrees. Everyone has at least some of these characteristics. Instead of all or nothing, you can start to think about which entrepreneurial traits you possess and to what degree.

You see here a mindset, a way of thinking and acting, an orientation rather than a person or a specific action. Howard Stevenson of Harvard Business School characterizes this mindset as a "relentless pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources controlled." The entrepreneurial focus is on opportunity and results. It asks:

• Where is the opportunity?

• How do I capitalize on it?

• How quickly can I act?

• What resources do I need?

• How do I access those resources?

• How can I do more with less?

• Where do I want to be at the end?


An entrepreneurial person wants to pursue opportunities and results without worrying too much about process. Whatever process will turn the opportunity into reality is the right process. Adjectives make it possible to execute, but they don't make it inevitable. When studied against measures of successful outcomes, only three characteristics seem to correlate much with success: proactivity, achievement orientation, and commitment to others. Of course, studies that regress success measures have all kinds of methodological limitations, so don't take this to mean that all those characteristics aren't valuable in the entrepreneurial world. The studies are looking at entrepreneurial. You want to look along it.

In the end, ideas and innovation are nice, but it is execution that creates value. Stevenson declares, "There are innovative thinkers who never get anything done; it is necessary to move beyond the identification of opportunity to its pursuit." In the entrepreneurial world, only results can create value and generate rewards.

It can seem daunting to go in one leap from a nearly clueless state of having an idea and not knowing where to start to running a successful business with all the skills and experience that entails. But remember what we said about all or nothing and adjectives. You don't need to go from one to the other overnight. It's a process. Imagine you are at the base of a tall cliff and all the mindset and know-how of the successful entreprene
(Continues...)


Excerpted from FROM IDEA TO SUCCESS by GREGG E. FAIRBROTHERS. Copyright © 2011 by Gregg E. Fairbrothers and Tessa M. Winter. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Introduction; SECTION 1- The Framework; Chapter 1: Who is the Entrepreneur?; Chapter 2: The Right Words to Say; Chapter 3: What's the Idea?; Chapter 4: Thinking About the Market; Chapter 5: Intellectual Property and Licensing; Chapter 6: Execution and Risk; SECTION 2- Building Your Idea; Chapter 7: Building a Business Plan; Chapter 8: The Founding Team/ Chapter 9: Building Boards; Chapter 10: Hiring People; Chapter 11: Your Competition; Chapter 12: On Money; SECTION 3- Managing the Company; Chapter 13: Keeping it Legal; Chapter 14: Non-profits and Social Entrepreneurship; Chapter 15: Everything's Negotiable; Chapter 16: On Sales and Selling; Chapter 17: Communication; Chapter 18: Making a Decision; Chapter 19: Accounting and Finance; Chapter 20: Correcting Your Course; Chapter 21: Growth, Incentives, and Change; Chapter 22: Liquidity; Conclusion

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