The Business Observer24 – where entrepreneurs actively learn from their results

The Business Observer24 (BO24) news and business development portal promotes business acumen and optimizes human potential. Innovative companies and entrepreneurs self-publish interactive articles to proactively learn from the market and connect directly with interested partners and investors.

On the one hand, Business Observer24 provides competitive, investor-ready content that offers high growth opportunities for businesses and markets. An entrepreneur, on the other hand, has an advanced tool for publishing content and actively learning from the market after a product launch.

By posting company presentations, investment opportunities, product reviews, and sales opportunities, companies proactively find out if their solution fits the market.

At the same time, BO24 helps them increase their online presence and SEO, facilitates their global interactions and access to a global business network.

The special features in the interactive articles create an experience for the entrepreneur – an opportunity to collect data and learn from it. An entrepreneur’s goal, especially in the early stages, should be to create as many experiences – as many learning opportunities – as possible.

Research has shown that identifying good opportunities to start a business may not be a sufficient incentive to actually do so if individuals do not believe they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience, or if they fear that the businesses they start will fail.

Remember, those who are best at learning are those who have the most experience and the most data. If you are actively learning, you are much more likely to get better results next time.

Startups are changing the world

You read a lot about startups in the press these days. In the past, there have been examples of entrepreneurs changing the world with companies like Apple, Google, Microsoft, and more recently Facebook and Tesla. These are just some of the well-known startups, while there are tens of thousands others smaller startups focusing on innovation and making our lives happier, healthier and more convenient. These are surfacing daily and are looking for the resources that would help them in their quest. A very important source are ecosystems supporting aspiring entrepreneurs.

There is a thriving ecosystem with good universities (Bocconi Milano, College of Chicago, The College of Auckland, Tel-Aviv,…) and business schools (ESADE, HEC Paris, The Graduate School of Business at Stanford,… ), organizations like Techstars, SeedRocket, Antler and a host of other accelerators/incubators offering cheap and often free services to startups, and active investors like Angels.

However, when students were asked in entrepreneurship courses if they wanted to be entrepreneurs, very few hands came out. And, when they were asked who is interested in becoming an entrepreneur, not tomorrow but one day, more hands has risen. So why is there such a big difference between the two answers?

The reality is that most young people aren’t ready to start a business by the time they’re in their twenties. They may have technical or academic skills, but perhaps they have never worked full-time.

And even if they have, it’s unlikely that they are experts in a particular sector, know exactly the behaviors and needs of their customers, are adept at managing teams, know how to raise capital, etc.

Perhaps they are ready to launch a startup and at least give it a try once they graduate. If so, great! We are here to help them get started. Maybe they are ready, but it’s more likely they are not. What makes them so immature, even though they have the *intention to be entrepreneurial?

*Entrepreneurial intention (EI) is defined as “the conscious state of mind that precedes action and directs attention to entrepreneurial behaviors such as starting a new business and becoming an entrepreneur” (Moriano, Gorgievski, Laguna, Stephan, & Zarafshani, 2012, p. 165).

Young would-be entrepreneurs can be sometimes fearful

All young entrepreneurs have a deep fear of failure in at least one stage of their entrepreneurial journey. This fear paralyzes them, and we can understand that. We were all there. And in retrospect, we probably all wish we could capture our old entrepreneurial nature, shake it off, and give it some meaning.

Let’s take a look at some common behavior patterns, and ask ourselves:

– Do you delay launching a product because you are afraid it will not sell?

– Do you spend more time mulling over results than implementing them?

– Are you risk-averse and worry about making your products perfect?

– Do you blame failures on things you believe are out of your control?

All of these things are common among entrepreneurs. They are normal, but they keep you from experimenting, learning, and ultimately succeeding.

Fear of failure as an indicator

GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) research shows that fear of failure is an interesting indicator. It is defined as the “percentage of the 18-to 64-year-old population with positively perceived opportunities who report that fear of failure would prevent them from starting a business.”

Recognizing that there are good opportunities to start a business may not be a sufficient incentive to do so if individuals feel they lack the necessary skills, knowledge and experience, or if they are concerned that the business they start will fail.

Therefore, one’s perception and attitude towards risk can be important factors influencing the decision to establish a new business.

APS results for the proportion of adults who consider themselves to personally have the knowledge, skills and experience to start a business are set out in Figure 2.4. (Source: https://www.gemconsortium.org/file/open?fileId=50900)

Even if one has identified good opportunities and believes oneself capable of starting a business, these factors may not be enough to actually do it if the fear of failure is high.

Figure 2.5 (below) shows the percentage of adults who have already indicated that they see good opportunities. The survey shows that perceptions of opportunity vary widely across regions and income groups. In nine economies across all income groups, more than half of people who see a good opportunity will not start a business because they fear it will fail. In contrast, in Kazakhstan, South Korea and Iran,  only one in five people or less see a good opportunity.

Figure 2.5 shows the proportion of adults who see good opportunities, but would not start a business because of the fear of failure. (Source: https://www.gemconsortium.org/file/open?fileId=50900)

Fear of failure stops entrepreneurs from taking action

There is wide variety in the proportion of adults who expect to start a business in the next three years, as shown in Figure 2.6. (Source: https://www.gemconsortium.org/file/open?fileId=50900)

But clearly, the story is much more than these attitudes and perceptions. For example,  India and Saudi Arabia have a high percentage of adults who see a good opportunity, think starting a business is easy, and believe they can do it. However, in both countries, less than a fifth of adults expect to start a business within the next three years. India has the lowest starting rate of all  Tier C participants, while Saudi Arabia’s rate is half that of neighboring Qatar.

One explanation for this could be that fear of failure ultimately discourages budding entrepreneurs from taking action. This factor affects more than half of those who see good opportunities in both India and Saudi Arabia. At the same time, Japan and Iran rank among the lowest in terms of knowing an entrepreneur, seeing good opportunities, and believing it is easy to start a business. These factors also have a significant potential impact. In addition, Japan – a highly developed economy – has the lowest intention rate of all 47 economies, while Iran has only half the value of its Level C counterpart, Egypt.

“Being an entrepreneur means you are willing to take risks when others are not.” These are the words of entrepreneur Diego Sardi, who founded Ventolini, a Cali, Colombia-based company that produces ice cream, baked goods and other food products sold as private labels or directly through Ventolini-owned stores

Research has shown that identifying good opportunities to start a business is not necessarily a sufficient incentive to actually do so if individuals do not believe they have the necessary skills, knowledge, and experience, or if they fear that the businesses they start will fail.

Many experienced entrepreneurs might argue that the ultimate failure is not failing at trying, but not trying at all.

There is no such thing as “failure.”

Do you know what failure is? It is a failure to try. It is a failure to experiment. It’s a failure to learn from the results – both the positive and the negative.

But that’s not what we usually define as a failure. We define failure as bad results. And that’s a terrible approach.

Not everything will work out the way you planned. Nothing is automatic. People are not robots. Crazy things happen. Bad results are not “failure,” but something you can learn from.

Would you like to hear a sports analogy? Not a problem…

Athletes can not be afraid of bad results. They must not be afraid of scoring a hit, losing a ball, or missing a goal.

When the desired result does not happen, we must ask ourselves, “Why?” Should we have done something differently? Was our approach the right one? Did we do everything right, but it just did not work out in our favor?

Whether you are an entrepreneur or a young basketball player, how do you react to things not going your way? Do you blame the results? Do you ruminate over them? Do you focus more on the outcome than the process that leads to it? Did you learn from what happened?  Successful entrepreneurs and athletes are clearly not afraid of failure.

The best athletes and most successful entrepreneurs don’t seem to be afraid of failure. They shot for the three-pointer and threw cautiously into the wind. As a result, you may not even notice failures when they happen, but you will notice successes. Get ready to go out and embarrass yourself

We mean that we as entrepreneurs, young athletes, people in general, don’t necessarily fear “failing” or “making mistakes”. But we are afraid to embarrass ourselves in public. And that’s why you’re more willing to take risks when no one is watching.  If we launch a product and no one buys it,  our biggest concern is that it won’t sell or someone might see our business, product or entrepreneur as a failure.

Be prepared to be embarrassed. Get to the point where trying, doing, and sometimes poor results are part of the process – not a source of embarrassment.

Don’t watch the opportunity pass you by. Don’t sit back and wish something would happen. Do something about it. Take risks.

Experimenting makes the best learners

The best learners are the ones with the most experience and the most data.  Every time you try something, it’s an experiment, an opportunity to gather data and learn from it. Your goal, especially in the early stages, should be to create as many experiences and learning opportunities as possible.  Of course, you shouldn’t just experiment without learning from it. Otherwise, it’s a wasted effort. It was an experiment with no purpose.

Collect data and actively learn with Business Observer24 – BO24!

When you do an evaluation, you should ask yourself the following questions:

– What worked?

– Why did it work?

– What did not work?

– Why did it not work?

– What would you do differently next time?

– What would you do the same way next time?

By asking yourself these questions, you actively learn from what happened. When you actively learn, you are more likely to get better results next time.

The Value of Knowing Yourself Through Experience

While you should always rely on the knowledge and experiences of those who have come before you, do not underestimate the value of discovering yourself through experience.

But do not exaggerate one person’s experience, this may or may not apply to your situation. Maybe Jeff Bezos would never be able to achieve what you could, and vice versa.

It’s a phrase we often hear in the context of Facebook advertising. Should we target similar audiences or interests? Should we optimize for website conversions or clicks? Should we create multiple messages for split testing?

The answer is always a variation of the same: I do not know. Should you? Try it out. Experiment. There are no universal rules. Find out what works for you best.

Be the person that isn’t afraid to attempt things. You are your very own boss now.

Do not be a perfectionist for to long – Keep it simple

Start early and become an active learner – Do not be dependant on Facebook alone.

Start when you are not ready. Do not be a perfectionist. Perfection is an impossible goal that will only lead to a constant feeling of dissatisfaction. And you will not achieve anything.

Why is that, actually? It’s a combination of fear of failure (what if no one buys it?!) and feeling like it was not ready.

We are spoiled with an targeted market of Facebook advertisers who provide us the self assurance to release merchandise associated with Facebook ads. But that does not work that well with innovations and more sophisticated and niche solutions.

But with a brand new theme, we do now no longer have that equal self assurance.

So it`s truly like we’re beginning a brand new enterprise from scratch. We do now no longer have the luxury of pre-defined market that we recognise might purchase an entrepreneurial product.

We have the unknown, and that unknown creates uncertainty.

Success is getting the data and learning from it

But looking back over the past decade-plus of mentoring startups and coordinating and supporting promotion, every product launch has been a success. Note that “success” does not mean that it resulted in a high number of sales.

“Success” means that start-ups received immediate data that they learned from and that allowed them to improve and adapt.

Usually, a successful launch is a spontaneous action. Imperfect. Not ready. And it was the best thing you can do. You will immediately learn from the results. And all those months of worry will immediately seem ridiculous to you.

Getting started is exciting. It’s exhilarating. And, yes, it’s a little scary. But embrace it! Each new launch brings you one step closer to your goals, even if the product is not “perfect” or “ready” yet.

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The Business Observer24 (BO24) news and business development portal promotes business acumen and optimizes human potential. Innovative companies and entrepreneurs self-publish interactive articles to proactively learn from the market and connect directly with interested partners and investors.

We support startups, SMEs and aspiring entrepreneurs with self-expression and business development tools to grow their business faster and have a positive impact on the community they serve.

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