The advent of the Internet combined with advances in technology have been transformative and disruptive, changing how we live and work. It’s all combined to open the floodgates to tech-driven innovation.
But what makes the difference between game-changing developments and also-rans? Perhaps better than most, those who’ve been there know what it will take for the next generation of entrepreneurs to succeed in today’s fast-changing and highly competitive technology environment.
Take Patrick Mackaronis, who started his entrepreneurial career as a teenager before beginning to explore the possibilities of entertainment and technology during his college years.
Today, he runs Brabble, the technology platform that he founded that mines the sweet spot where social media and eCommerce intersect. What he’s discovered and is happy to share with tech entrepreneurs who are getting started is this: Having a good idea for a business isn’t enough.
It starts with taking initiative — doing what it takes to turn the idea into a reality. “You can’t wait for someone to offer you a seat at the table,” Patrick Mackaronis says. “You can’t wait for an opportunity to fall in your lap. You need to have the drive it takes to move forward, and that means the right attitude combined with the skills and knowledge for putting all the pieces in place.”
It also means being comfortable taking risks.
The most successful entrepreneurs know that taking risks can pay off in the end. And even if they end in failure, it’s the learning that comes from it that also has tremendous long term value.
Another item with importance that may be underestimated is a well thought-out business plan. The plan is the entrepreneur’s roadmap for the future. It lays out where he or she is going, how the traveling will be done, the short- and long-term goals and how accomplishment will be gauged. The basis of the plan is the entrepreneur’s intimate knowledge of the tech product or service being launched and, importantly, how it meets the needs of the ultimate buyers.
Further, the better the team that an entrepreneur assembles in support of the business — people who share the same vision for the future — the better the chances for success. Mackaronis also points out that few people can be good at everything. The financial side of running a business, for example, can be complex. He highly recommends securing the services of a top-notch CFO.
Many successful entrepreneurs believe that it might not be the best idea to go in the new venture thinking that being an entrepreneur (preferably a successful one) is the end goal.
As Michael Wolfe, the co-founder of Gladly, put it in one interview: “The best companies are usually not started by people who want to ‘be an entrepreneur.’ They are started by people who are knowledgeable and passionate about a specific problem, are driven to solve it, and then get busy building a company to bring to life.”
And ultimately, it’s that passion for that project, product, service, idea or business is what will
tip the scales toward success — or failure. Not every entrepreneurial endeavor will get off the ground. But with your passion as the mortar for the other building blocks for your venture, your leap of faith in moving forward will be justified.