Entrepreneurship: How-To-Do Lists and How To Do It

Flower buds

There is a seemingly endless list of must-know-tips for how "to make it", in this case when it comes to entrepreneurship. Here is a further article that shares the secrets behind entrepreneurial success (The Next Web 2016). For me personally the tip about partnering is essential. But this is not what I am after here. Read on for some of the realities behind the hype.

Reading these recurring must-know lists of tips for success, I am wondering to what extent they actually are a priori insights that were followed from the beginning or, alternatively, whether they were the result of a retrospective analysis. I gather the latter. This may, however, be a moot point. Perhaps it is combination of plans for how to proceed followed by evaluation of the experiences gathered. Whatever the case may be, what is imporant is that such advice, should not be accepted at face value. Such advise may be useful for others, but only up to a point. It is essential that budding entrepreneurs not read and understand these lists literally, as a manual for how to proceed, or worse, as a check-list or a self-help book. 

It makes sense that budding entrepreneurs should study recipes of success and learn from them. However, these recipes should not be understood literally. There is a fine balance between learning from others and learning from own experience. Every situation is unique. There is as deep truth in the slogan that each generation must make the same mistakes as their parents, elders or peers. There is accordingly a sense in which entrepreneurship is a solitary thing in which individual entrepreneur to a large extent have to rely on her/himself and her/his intuition, and to a few around us (hence the emphasis on establishing partnerships mentioned initially). Successful entrepreneurship is about being the correct person at the correct place at the correct time. There is chance involved, there is coincidence involved, and there is what we might call luck involved, together with an unknown number of variables many of which we know little or nothing  about over which we have little or no control. And then there are the variables we do not even know about until they suddenly out of the blue hit us in the face. These are the facts that we as entrepreneurs have to be prepared to address and deal with.

It seems to me that the must-know lists do not even begin to scratch the surface of the unknown, of preparing us in general terms for what might and will come our way. What is sorely needed is general advice that will guide us, prepare us, for the unknown.

Lars T Soeftestad

(1) Image credit: The Next Web (2016). (The connection between the image and the story is likely related to the different meanings of the word "budding".)
(2) Permalink. URL: https://devblog.no/en/article/entrepreneurship-how-do-lists-and-how-do-it
(3) This article was published 4 June 2016. It was revised 25 February 2019.

The Next Web. 2016. "5 must-know tips for budding entrepreneurs" at: http://thenextweb.com/digital-life/2016/06/02/5-must-know-tips-budding-entrepreneurs/

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