Finding out what really motivates the founder

My methodology is different. I start with the initial idea and ask the would-be founder probing questions: ”Why do you want to run a restaurant? Because you like to be with people? Because you like to cook? Because you want to run your own business? Because you have pleasant associations with Egypt? Because you are fascinated by Upper Egypt?” His answers give me an initial sense of why the founder came up with this idea at all. Depending on his answers, I follow up with more relevant questions.



If, for example, his answer was, “I like to be with people,” my next questions would be “What do you find attractive about that? What role would you like to play? In what situations do you feel most comfortable with people? What kind of people would you like to surround yourself with? Are you single? Married? What are your hobbies?” If the founder replies, “I am very interested in Egypt,” I would continue with my questions, “What was it that attracted you? Was it the people, the culture, the history, the food, the climate, the exotic history surrounding the pyramids and the pharaohs?”

What’s important to me is to find out what motivates the potential founder and what was behind her original idea. Certainly you can imagine that it’s possible to follow up on each line of questioning with many more questions. Ultimately you’ll have an initial framework that will be on a solid footing because it’s based on the inclinations, talents, desires and passions of the person in question, an approach that can tap the hidden energies of that individual.

Nonetheless it is a relatively open framework, and it still needs many pieces of the puzzle in the form of information, contacts and assessments of the potentialities before we will have built a durable edifice that can stand up to the storms of changing fashion, imitators, established competitors and bureaucratic hurdles, as well as the many other obstacles, both expected and unexpected, that inevitably arise when you start a new venture.

Thus it is not an inspiration or a sudden epiphany that makes for a good entrepreneurial design. It is based on systematic work — the more, the better. Only when the entrepreneurial design addresses as many aspects as possible would I recommend a start-up. In my experience it is often the case that introspection or a closer examination into one’s own as well as the customers’ desires are more promising than chasing trends or opportunities.

If you want to do something really interesting and revolutionary,

learn to ignore your customers.

Most customers function like rear view mirrors.
They are extremely conservative and boring,
lack imagination
and don’t know their own minds.

in: Funky Business: Talent makes capital dance


The verdict is that it’s much too fast to go from initial idea directly into business administration implementation. The potential created by working through the initial idea into a well-thought-out and mature entrepreneurial design should not be neglected.

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Timeline 2019

March 18, 2019
Competition launch.
Entries are welcomed
May 15, 2019
Voting & commenting begins for all
July 31, 2019
Deadlines for entries
August 31, 2019
Deadlines for votes & comments
September 12, 2019
10 finalists announced in both categories
September 12, 2019
People’s Choice Prize winners announced
September 22, 2019
Deadline for receipt of videos from finalists in both
October 12, 2019
Deadline for Panel of Judges’ selection of the winners
October 19, 2019
Winners announced at Entrepreneurship Summit in Berlin

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