After working in software development with a major food company for 12 years, you are becoming impatient with corporate “red tape” (regulations and routines). You have an idea for a new snack product for nutrition-conscious consumers and are thinking of starting your own company. What entrepreneurial characteristics do you need to succeed? What other factors should you consider before quitting your job? Working with a partner, choose one to be the entrepreneurial employee and one to play the role of his current boss. Develop notes for a script. The employee will focus on why this is a good idea—reasons he will succeed—and the employer will play devil’s advocate to convince him that staying on at the large company is a better idea. Then switch roles and repeat the discussion.
What does it really take to become an entrepreneur? Find out by interviewing a local entrepreneur or researching an entrepreneur you’ve read about in this chapter or in the business press. Get answers to the following questions, as well as any others you’d like to ask:
- How did you research the feasibility of your idea?
- How did you develop your vision for the company?
- How long did it take you to prepare your business plan?
- Where did you obtain financing for the company?
- Where did you learn the business skills you needed to run and grow the company?
- What are the most important entrepreneurial characteristics that helped you succeed?
- What were the biggest challenges you had to overcome?
- What are the most important lessons you learned by starting this company?
- What advice do you have for would-be entrepreneurs?
Your class decides to participate in a local business plan competition. Divide the class into small groups, and choose one of the following ideas:
- A new computer game based on the stock market
- A company with an innovative design for a skateboard
- Travel services for college and high school students
Prepare a detailed outline for the business plan, including the objectives for the business and the types of information you would need to develop product, marketing, and financing strategies. Each group will then present its outline for the class to critique.