How being in the right place at the right time translates to entrepreneurship ~ Sounds + Food 'n' Retail

How being in the right place at….jpgIf there's one I thing I learned from my thesis it's that everything is part of a system. Most often, this system's purpose is to shift resources from and to various interconnected, yet diverse and complementary parties.

In regards to entrepreneurship, and pretty much everything else, I have a philosophy: everything happens for a reason, usually related to how you respond to opportunities. And to bring it back to that interconnected system, being in the right spot, where you can intercept flows of ideas, people, and resources, tremendously increases the chances of you finding the right business to be in.

Two examples
Two people that are fairly close to me are perfect examples of that phenomenon. They shall remain nameless, for obvious reasons. They are both pretty bright, but what contributed to their lives most, is being where it mattered.

One of my friends did a very smart thing. We studied together and when he moved back to his Eastern-European country, he noticed that a lot of traffic was coming in from the European Union, in terms of regional funds aimed at bringing the country up to par for future integration.

So he started a consultancy with some friends, to advise companies on how to apply for those funds. Initially, he thought it might just be a hobby. But what actually happened was that a lot of traffic was coming in terms of companies—start-ups, looking for funding. And it allowed him to find a business to buy into, which was well-postioned to fill a current need, and had the capabilities, but not the business expertise to succeed.

A second friend of mine was also someone who I knew would always start his own business. But he did the smart thing when he graduated (actually he did several smart things before too). He got a job at a corporation counselling start-ups on how to deploy that corporation's technology. So, just like my other friend, he got a lot of traffic in terms of ideas and people, and all he had to wait for is the right idea that would fulfil a niche in the market. And bingo. I'm not sure if he planned it that way, but he's now the founder of a start-up, filling up a need.

Underlying principles
Right places matter, but so does mentality and a number of other factors. It's not enough to just be there. The reason you are there is because you are of value to whatever network you are part of. Following are I think some factors to consider:

  • Be open to opportunities

  • Make strategic choices about your initial placement

  • Be of value to the network you are a part of - that means being an authority, which means you have to have some schooling

  • Make strategic choices about the start-ups that you encounter - are they filling a gap in the market, can you fill a gap in their organisation?

  • Go back to your initial network - analyse whether all the elements necessary for success are there—smart people, funding, exit-options, technology—and can be carried over.

  • If yes: launch and succeed.
Why this topic?
I always knew I wanted to start a business. Plenty of people at plenty of times, have counselled me to just jump in and do it. I didn't, because I felt the alignment wasn't there—between me, a business, and a need.

The way I'm visualising my path into this industry is among similar lines. Become a valuable resource myself. Find & build a network, where I can contribute value too. And then decide, based on timing, technology/idea, people, market-niche, and other elements needed for it to be a success.

Note to the reader: I'm still processing a lot of material I want to write about. Most of it is food and/or retail related, I promise. Expect at least two posts related to IKEA this week, on economics, design, branding, and customer-retention schemes.


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