Breakthrough Entrepreneurs Aim Higher, Solve Big-Sky Problems

| Entrepreneurship

Shoot for the stars. They’re closer than you think. Trajectory-setting advice:

Seize today. “This is the most exciting time that I’ve been in business,” said “Moonshot!” author John Sculley.

The former PepsiCo (PEP) and Apple (AAPL) CEO sees possibilities — not just for developing innovative products or services, but also for launching billion-dollar businesses.

It starts with a moonshot. The term refers to advances that reset the status quo, such as how the personal computer and smartphone changed the way we work and live.

Grab advances. The sophisticated tools available to today’s entrepreneurs make big leaps possible.

“We live in an era of exponential growth of not just one technology but several technologies,” Sculley told IBD.

Advances in cloud computing, mobile devices and wireless sensors make breakthrough solutions possible.

“At the same time, these technologies are rapidly being commoditized,” Sculley said.

The price to store a terabyte of data used to be in the thousands.

“Now it costs $4,” he said. “The cost of these technologies is just plummeting.”

Dream big. Savvy entrepreneurs can tap these tools to create transformational — not traditional — businesses.

“You start with a noble cause — something that excites you,” Sculley said.

That cause becomes a transformational business when leaders attack a big problem and “solve it in a much better way than anyone has ever done before,” he said.

Take a lead. Artemis Networks founder Steve Perlman’s noble cause: taking on the wireless communication industry with technology that eliminates cell towers.

Biotechnology billionaire Patrick Soon-Shiong is leading a Cancer MoonShot 2020 coalition that aims to treat childhood cancer.

Both are sector geniuses taking on giant problems.

“But for the rest of us, there is the possibility of becoming adaptive innovators who want to make a difference in our own smaller universes, embracing a noble cause as a powerful driving force,” Sculley said.

Reach carefully. Missteps can occur out on that limb. Take care, but keep inching forward.

“What happens when failure isn’t accepted? Many highly talented people refuse to take further risks,” Sculley said.

Experimenters make sure someone’s watching their back.

“As a risk taker, if you want to limit risk, one of the best ways is to have another set of trusted eyes,” he said. “The mentor’s biggest role is to be just that.”

Use your individuality. “Entrepreneurs are not interchangeable, like batteries or light bulbs; the best opportunity for you is unique to you.”

So says “Unleash Your Inner Company” author John Chisholm. The 30-year Silicon Valley serial entrepreneur is CEO of John Chisholm Ventures, a consulting, angel investing and mentoring firm.

Over the years, he’s advised hundreds of bootstrappers. The successful ones start by matching what they love doing with a willingness to work tirelessly.

“Passion without perseverance is a fleeting fancy; perseverance without passion is drudgery,” Chisholm wrote.

Pinpoint it. “Start with your strength” is common business advice. Chisholm suggests focusing on a consumer need — the gap between a preferred state and the current state — then using your skill set to solve that problem.

Dig deeper. Scratch beyond the surface of what consumers say they want. Someone who asks for a better mousetrap might really need a barrier that keeps rodents out.

“Think further out of the box — that is, more broadly and creatively — than your prospective customers do,” Chisholm wrote.

by Sonja Carberry via Investor’s Business Daily

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