Entrepreneurs Don’t Need All the Answers


LinkedIn, November 25, 2013, Michael J. Skok
As I come to the end of this semester’s Startup Secrets, a series of workshops I am lucky enough to teach in conjunction with the Harvard innovation lab and a great set of experienced entrepreneurs who bring it to life, I continue to notice a common theme: many entrepreneurs think they need to have all the answers, even in the very early stages of their enterprise, when in fact they don’t. Oftentimes, I find myself drawn to entrepreneurs who ask the right questions around a central problem or idea. I cannot over emphasize this. No one has all the answers and the fact is market dynamics change, often rapidly. The average startup, in fact, has about four strategic pivots — which can be a soul-searching adventure — before they finally build the business to scale. Understanding how to ask the right questions during these inflection points can often help you through them more easily. The nature of starting your own company is high risk. Part of that risk is not knowing the answers before you start, and VCs are actually fine with that so long as the founders and early employees have the conviction to plough through the challenges and ask the right questions when problems come up.

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