Entrepreneurs are not born, they are made. At least that’s what one of the world’s leading entrepreneurship experts thinks, Bill Aulet, serial startup founder and director of the entrepreneurship department at MIT in Boston.
“There is still this somewhat eccentric conception that creating a successful business is a matter of natural talent, fueled by the myth of entrepreneurs seen as charismatic and lonely heroes,” says Aulet, in Italy to present his book The discipline of entrepreneur (Franco Angeli Editions).
“Studies prove the opposite: anyone can become an entrepreneur but it is the teams that found successful companies. The more founders, the greater the chances of success. Of course, there are specific skills that increase the chances of succeeding, such as selling products or managing people, but they can be taught ”.
And fortunately, it comes to say. The need for entrepreneurs, in fact, is growing rapidly, especially in a mature economy like ours. If natural talents were the only ones to make it, it would be a problem for everyone. The average lifespan of large companies is declining compared to the past and there will be an increasing need for people capable of generating innovative business models that can replace lost jobs, creating new economic life.
“In the United States, more than 90% of new employment is generated by companies with less than 5 years of life,” Aulet points out. “In 1920, the average life span of a successful company was 67, today it is 15. When I started working for IBM in the late 1970s, the company’s biggest concern was American antitrust. Today there is always a competitor lurking ready to take over “.
With his teachings, Aulet aims to provide a method to train “anti-fragile entrepreneurs”, spreading a systematic culture more suited to the current conditions that, from climate change to Brexit, are fraught with risks and uncertainties.
“We need people capable of growing in conditions of volatility. The book is a toolbox for building successful businesses based on innovative products, able to survive in a rapidly changing scenario ”.
The volume is full of practical cases that exemplify the most common mistakes made by those who build a new business, such as focusing too much on the product and too little on the end customer. But it does not guarantee to turn an idea into a success. On the contrary, it can simply serve to make it fail faster, helping the entrepreneur to abandon it for a better one.
“The stereotype of the business captain who never gives up is wrong. Sometimes it is right to unplug a company even before it goes bankrupt. Pure survival risks being of little use, while you learn more when you are forced to get back into the game ”.
A condition, however, which in Italy can be complex, given the regulatory and financial difficulties that new entrepreneurs often face when launching a startup. Despite having registered a moderate increase in incubators and venture capital funds, from this point of view the country lags behind other advanced economies such as the United States, the United Kingdom or Germany.
“Italy has a great entrepreneurial heritage, but it is often still measured on a local scale, while today the challenge has become global. But I don’t think the problem can be reduced solely to the difficulty of finding funding. Any business faces 4 fundamental risks:
the technological product work;
the market be ready;
the working group capable of executing the development plan;
and lenders capable of raising funds.
Of all, the last risk is the least worrying: if the proposal is well studied, you will always find a lender willing to invest “.