There is a famous proverb, ‘necessity is the mother of invention’. Most of the entrepreneurs are not able to find the best fit for themselves and that quest of the right fit pushes them towards their entrepreneurial journey.
Most of us believe that entrepreneurs are born out of the innovative zeal and the creative acumen they possess. This may not always be true.
Let’s begin with a few examples to assess whether entrepreneurs are created due to the creativity acumen they possess or do they acquire creativity and innovative streak while they are on course of their entrepreneurial journey.
That leads to the real question as to whether the natural abilities make someone a better entrepreneur or is it a pinch of extra creativity that leads to a perfect entrepreneurial recipe. What exactly makes a startup or an entrepreneur a real successful one?
Natural Instincts or Extra Creativity For Entrepreneurial ventures?
Most of us might have heard that ‘Red Bull’ gives you wings, but for Dietrich Mateschitz, the billionaire CEO and marketing-guru, the energy drink has given far more than that. While Dietrich has been extremely creative in marketing plans and advertising, he has been extremely orthodox in investments and diversification by investing in sports (soccer and Formula 1) and real estate.
Another example is of Evan Williams of the Twitter handle fame who has weaved magic due to his creative propensity and taking cue from his excellence one might argue that technology based companies are riding high on creativity and innovation.
Most of the IT firms believe that creativity is a virtue but is that the complete truth? Evan William said during one of the interviews. ‘With Twitter, it wasn’t clear what it was. They called it a social network, they called it microblogging, but it was hard to define, because it didn’t replace anything.
So, was it creativity or an instinct that this something that can’t be explained will become one of the most talked about entrepreneurial venture of the future.
Twitter actually changed from what we thought it was in the beginning, which we described as status updates and a social utility. While Twitter prevailed and became successful, hundreds of other almost identical innovative ventures originating from the Silicon Valley and elsewhere have failed.
It was instincts and perseverance more than creativity that made top entrepreneurs. Would you agree?
Does Continuous dose of creativity make Successful Startups?
It was adherence to business plan together with orthodox financial decisions that made a difference for Twitter.
But does that undermine the subtle innovation that is imbibed by this 140 character world compelling the Library of Congress to announce that they would digitally archive every tweet ever made, even with more than 50 million tweets shot off a day?
Creativity looks to be a key driving factor and creative entrepreneurs create value through the intangibles and intellectual properties but the above two examples portray that even more important virtues for businesses are Perseverance and Collaboration.
We all get confused in defining entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship is all about identifying opportunities and spinning them off to meaningful businesses. Not many entrepreneurs are made with ideas coming out of the blues. Most of the times the tag of an entrepreneur is hard earned and involves orthodox and quick witted decisions.
Is Intrapreneurship the key to success for startups?
Another dimension added to Entrepreneurial venture is Intrapreneurship.
An Intrapreneur is one who also has an innovative streak in his/her DNA but uses it for large organisation instead of having his/her own startup.
This is to enjoy the advantage of resources and capabilities and the term has gained in popularity in recent years since the organisations are acknowledging innovation more than ever. One Related article from Entrepreneur explains the benefits quite well.
Intrapreneurs or entrepreneurs within organisation foster collaboration. Connecting with like minded people and seeking similar opportunities lead to more incremental innovation.
Monetising collaborations is even more important and has to be achieved in subtle manners. This explains why social networking platforms are getting more popular day by day and that even the fortune 500 companies are striving to get a bigger pie of this network to achieve sustainability and competitive advantage.
Continuous Innovation can be both Virtue and Vice
A business will not prosper without continuous innovation and thus is perceived a virtue but a lot of entrepreneurs have lost their way en-route success due to over experimentation and incorporation of excessive innovation.
Myspace is one such example out of many others which failed.
A lot of inventions fail miserably but are they less creative than others which survived and those that are still basking in glory?
Another example of a failed amazing innovation is of ‘Concorde’ airplanes which hogged the limelight of the world but was a disaster for shareholders and arguably to almost all stakeholders.
Innovation is thus not the only success factor. There are various other success factors for entrepreneurial success.
In the late 1990s Hollywood decided to bring digital cinema to America’s movie theatres and rolled it out in 1999 with the blockbuster release of Star Wars Episode I. Seven years later, a mere 5% of the nation’s screens were using digital projection. Why? The studios hadn’t confronted the conversion costs for theatres. Finally Hollywood recognised its failing and found a way to subsidise the theatres.
History is filled with numerous other examples where creativity and innovations were of very high quality but the enterprise witnessed sad demise due to the failure of the entrepreneurial venture in managerial areas like, inadequate appreciation of the ecosystem and inability to properly exploit the opportunities created by these innovations.
Laser disc, DivX, Pager (partially successful) etc. are few of the countless inventions and adaptations that can be discussed in this context.
Thus innovative streak doesn’t seem to be enough for entrepreneurial success.
Nothing beats Perseverance as the secret sauce to success
This is by far the key differentiator between success and failure and at times entrepreneurs need to have business models with perseverance factor enshrined in it.
Contingency funds and a great network help in the process of persevering through the cumbersome entrepreneurial journey.
It would be safe to say that we need to strike a balance, and we need to utilise to perfection the creative juices flowing from within in order to become a successful entrepreneur.
It gets tricky with the beginning of the process of monetisation of innovation and that is exactly when entrepreneurs need to understand and appreciate the ecosystem. And then they need to persevere.
However, there is a very thin red line dividing potent creativity and destructive creativity. Also, the wait must be for a valid reason and perseverance can’t be just based on optimism.
Always keep taking second opinion and then revise. Then keep listening to your heart and keep innovating and persevering.