Finding out what really motivates the founder
Published on: 04.04.2013
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,
and don’t know their own minds.
RIDDERSTRÅLE & NORDSTRÖM
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.