Entrepreneurship & Innovation

What's it about?

See also Starting a Business and Business & Marketing Strategies Retreat.

Most people who start a business - or are contemplating doing so - have a patchy idea of what is required to make the business a success. Half of all startups fail within the first two years.

The reason is not because the idea is bad, but because the owner(s) and manager(s) haven't implemented a proper business structure.

It's a great learning experience. I too have learnt a lot about business by all the mistakes I made. This course is designed to help you prevent the most common mistakes so as to give you a fighting chance to succeed in your business.

This course is part of an ongoing series of practical workshops and mentoring designed to support startup businesses.

What is an Entrepreneur? Compared with... a Businessman/woman? a Self-Employed Business Owner/Manager? a Franchisee? a Freelancer? a Consultant? an Inventor? an Investor? (Exercise & Discussion: What kind of business do you want to develop: lifestyle, freelance/consultant/broker, owner/manager, entrepreneur, intrapreneur, investor/angel?)

The basic principles covered in the rest of the course are similar, regardless of the business or work you want to do. The difference in approach will be discussed as appropriate.

Passion and Commitment. Doing what you love to do. Enjoying the Journey. Although the end-goal is usually to make money, entrepreneurs enjoy their work first and foremost. Business is a game. Playing the game is more important than the money - but the money is a useful way of 'keeping score'. (Exercises: What are you really passionate about? What would you do every day for the rest of your life if you already had all the money you needed? Life Map.)

Embracing Failure. This is an acute problem especially in Asia where 'failure' is equated with 'loss of face'. Entrepreneurs are not afraid to fail. Entrepreneurs experiment, test ideas, test the market and are prepared to build up their ideas using trial and error, using failure as a learning experience. (Anecdote: Thomas Edison.)

Gap Analysis and Creative Thinking. Entrepreneurs are always looking for a desire/need that is not currently being met. Entrepreneurs never accept the status quo - always looking to improve, or finding a better way. Entrepreneurs think of creative ways around problems or bottlenecks. Entrepreneurs always strive to make a process cheaper or faster or easier. (Exercise: what do you find frustrating in life? How can you overcome these problems?)

Networking. Entrepreneurs never work alone (an Entrepreneur is not necessarily an Inventor, but an Inventor can be an Entrepreneur). They will form alliances, partnerships, have a network of suppliers and people they can outsource to, and can create a team/workforce. (Exercise: List all the people you know and what they can do for you.)

The Exit. What distinguishes the Entrepreneur from the Businessman is that an Entrepreneur plans his business with the exit in mind. A business must run itself, without the Entrepreneur as Manager. The business must eventually be saleable. The Entrepreneur is always looking to solve a problem and then move on to the next idea. A businessman also considers the exit, but from a different perspective, i.e. how to automate the business (and possibly expand it) and make himself dispensable.


Download Starting a Business [right-click and Save As...].

Who benefits the most?

Business Owners either starting up a business or already operating a fledgling SME. Also anyone considering leaving full-time employment to become a freelancer, consultant or entrepreneur.

What are the outcomes?

A clear idea of the focus and goals of the business.

A working business plan, and a marketing plan with clearly defined marketing strategies.

An understanding of the criteria for developing functional business systems and recruiting (and keeping) the right people for your business.

Course Duration

4-6 days initially (spread over 3-6 months) in preparation and helping to establish the start up business, followed up by 1-2 days consultancy per month on a retainer basis.

This program is unfortunately not cheap. However, the cost of entering into a business venture without adequate preparation and understanding can be many times more expensive. In Thailand, a small business typically takes 2-3 years to become successful (established) at an overall cost of around 10-20 million baht. Spending an extra 5% on getting it right is a wise investment.

Sadly, I have numerous anecdotes of having warned startups on their misreading of the Thai market. They declined my offer to assist in developing their business and marketing strategies as "being unnecessarily expensive". They all failed after about a year, each having squandered around $1m (40 million baht) on start up and marketing expenses.