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Decision to CHAPTER
Decision to

Decision to Become an Entrepreneur

introduction introduction to to

entrepreneurship entrepreneurship

introduction to to entrepreneurship entrepreneurship Currently in my iPod Best advice I’ve received
Currently in my iPod Best advice I’ve received Norah Jones Be persistent SARAH SCHUPP
Currently in my iPod Best advice I’ve received Norah Jones Be persistent SARAH SCHUPP
Currently in my iPod Best advice I’ve received Norah Jones Be persistent SARAH SCHUPP

Currently in my iPod

Best advice I’ve received

Norah Jones

Be persistent



My biggest worry as an entrepreneur

Losing a customer

niversity Parent: The Classic Entrepreneurial Story As a college student at the University of Colorado

niversity Parent:

The Classic Entrepreneurial Story

As a college student at the University of Colorado (CU), in Boulder, Colorado, Sarah Schupp invited her parents to visit her a couple times a year to see where she was living and see the campus and its various attractions. Although she enjoyed her parent’s visits, one challenge she always encountered was helping them plan their stay and make it enjoyable. “My parents would visit me from Dallas and they wanted to know where to shop, eat, and stay in Boulder,” Schupp remembers. 1 She always felt hesitant to give her parents too much advice. After all, as a college student she wasn’t familiar with the hotels and motels in Boulder, for example, and, as a dormitory resident, didn’t know a lot about the restaurants in different parts of town. After muddling through helping her parents plan several visits, it occurred to Schupp that what CU needed was a magazine that would provide parents a directory of hotels, motels, restaurants, and shops to help them plan their trips to Boulder. At the same time that Schupp started thinking about this idea, she was enrolled in the entrepreneurship program at the Leeds School of Business at CU. Fortunately for her, as she was thinking about her idea, she was scheduled to take a business plan course taught by Frank Moyes. Reflecting back on her business idea, Schupp recalls, “I knew what I wanted to do, but I didn’t know how to do it.” 2 Schupp entered the class, which required the students to break up into teams, think of a business idea, and prepare a business plan to describe how the idea would be turned into a commercial reality. Schupp became part of a five-person team and persuaded her teammates to help her flesh out her parent mag- azine business idea. Schupp remembers that the class taught her to look at each step in the business plan carefully. The class culminated with a business plan competition—which Schupp and her teammates won. Reflecting back on the

class, Schupp remarked, “His class (Frank Moyes) is a lot of work. We won the competition and we didn’t even get an ‘A’. But he really knows what he’s doing.” 3 After the class concluded, Schupp became increasingly convinced that her idea for a parent-focused university mag-

azine was viable. In talking with the staff of the Office of Parent Relations at CU, she learned that because it is a public entity, the university can’t put out a guide that endorses specific businesses. However, university personnel told

specific businesses. However, university personnel told SARAH SCHUPP Founder, University Parent University of


Founder, University Parent University of Colorado BS, Leeds School of Business, 2004


Best part of being a student

First entrepreneurial experience

What I do when I’m not working

Support from faculty

Published coupon book for college students

Play tennis

What I do when I’m not working Support from faculty Published coupon book for college students
What I do when I’m not working Support from faculty Published coupon book for college students

4 4



1. Explain entrepreneurship and discuss its importance.

2. Describe corporate entrepreneurship and its use in established firms.

3. Discuss three main reasons people decide to become entrepreneurs.

4. Identify four main characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

5. Explain the five common myths regarding entrepreneurship.

6. Explain how entrepreneurial firms differ from salary- substitute and lifestyle firms.

7. Discuss the changing demographics of entrepreneurs in the United States.

8. Discuss the impact of entrepreneurial firms on economies and societies.

9. Identify ways in which large firms benefit from the presence of smaller entrepreneurial firms.

10. Explain the entrepreneurial process.

Schupp that if she put together a magazine or guide that was helpful to parents, CU would make it available to parents at university events. After kicking around the idea with her professors at CU and other people as well, she started a company, named University Parent, to produce an advertising-supported magazine for CU parents. To sell ads, she literally went door-to-door among the motels, hotels, restaurants, and shops in Boulder. Many businesses responded positively to her sales effort, largely because they knew the ads would be seen by parents who were from out-of-town and would be look- ing for a place to eat or stay. She was also able to sell some ads to national advertisers (such as Apple Computer and Marriott) who were interested in targeting college stu- dents and their parents. University Parent’s first issue was published in October of 2003 and was distributed during parents’ weekend. The issue contained a directory of local motels, hotels, restau- rants, and shops, along with a calendar of events and articles of interest to college stu- dents and their parents. University Parent’s first issue was an immediate success, causing CU to invite Schupp to produce three magazines a year—one to be distributed during sum- mer orientation, one during the fall semester, and the other during the spring semester. Through research that Schupp and her teammates conducted during the preparation of University Parent’s original business plan, they learned that approximately 95 percent of college parents want more information about both the college their child is attend- ing and the community in which it is located. On most campuses there is no publication addressing this set of needs. 4 As a result, following her initial success at CU, Schupp approached other universities about her business idea and is now publishing customized versions of University Parent at Colorado State University, Southern Methodist University, Miami University of Ohio, University of Denver, and Kansas State University. Arrange- ments with several other universities are in the works. At all locations other than CU, the universities mail the magazine to the parents rather than distributing them while the parents are on campus. This approach is particularly attractive to advertisers near those universities. As a rule, universities do not share their mailing lists of parents, so to be able to produce an ad that will be distributed to all the parents of incoming students is very attractive to hotels, motels, restaurants and other businesses in a university town. Schupp feels that her business fills a need and that University Parent is a win for everyone involved. As to her future, Schupp is expanding University Parent, and hopes to be established on 25 campuses in the near future. “I’ve always wanted to be an entre- preneur,” she said. I’m just trying to grow the business. I’d like to see it be a success.”

As you will see by reading this book, there is something unique about how each entrepre- neurial venture is launched. However, there are some common features to all launches, including the fact that each venture is started by one or more entrepreneurs who have rec- ognized an opportunity and who develop a plan for how to shape the opportunity into a viable business. The University Parent example is particularly instructive because Sarah Schupp managed this process very effectively and focused on start-up techniques that are emphasized throughout this book. After she recognized an opportunity, she went about the process of talking to a lot of people and developing a business plan before she won the trust of the people she needed to help her start her firm, started University Parent, launched it with minimal overhead, and executed her idea in an exemplary manner. She also created a business that provides value and benefits for all involved parties. In this first chapter of your book about the successful launching of an entrepreneurial firm, we define entrepreneurship and discuss why some people decide to become entrepreneurs.



We then look at successful entrepreneurs’ characteristics, the common myths surrounding entrepreneurship, the different types of start-up firms, and the changing demographics of entre- preneurs in the United States and in other nations throughout the world. We then examine entre- preneurship’s importance, including the economic and social impact of new firms as well as the importance of entrepreneurial firms to larger businesses. To close this chapter, we introduce you to the entrepreneurial process. This process, which we believe is the foundation for successfully launching a start-up firm, is the framework we use to present the book’s materials to you.

Introduction to Entrepreneurship

There is tremendous interest in entrepreneurship around the world. Although this state- ment may seem bold, there is evidence supporting it, some of which is provided by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). GEM, which is a joint research effort by Babson College and the London Business School, tracks entrepreneurship in 35 countries, includ- ing the United States. According to the results of the GEM 2005 study, about 330 million, or roughly 14 percent, of adults in the countries surveyed are involved in forming new businesses. 5 Although many of these new businesses will be extremely small, approxi- mately 3 percent to 17 percent (depending on the country) of new business owners expect to employ 20 or more people within 5 years. These percentages may seem small to you; however, the economic impact of firms this size is significant. In fact, research evidence shows that firms that grow to over 20 people are responsible for up to 80 percent of all new jobs created by entrepreneurs. 6 The GEM report also identifies whether its respondents are starting new businesses to take advantage of attractive opportunities or out of necessity. In other words, it tracks whether people are becoming entrepreneurs because they have recognized what they believe is an attractive opportunity or because they believe that becoming an entrepreneur is the most attractive work-related option available to them. Overall, the vast majority of the individuals in the 35 countries surveyed reported they are starting a business to pursue an attractive opportunity. Unfortunately, in the United States, roughly one-third of all new firms fail within the first 2 years, while another 20 percent fail within 4 years. 7 These sta- tistics show that while many people are motivated to start new firms, motivation alone is not enough; it must be coupled with good information, a solid business idea, and effective execution to maximize chances for success. In this book, we will discuss many examples of entrepreneurial firms and the factors separating successful ventures from unsuccessful ventures. Many people see entrepreneurship as an attractive career path. Think about your friends and others you know. In all probability, you are acquainted with at least one or two people who want to become an entrepreneur—either now or at some point in the future. The number of books dealing with starting one’s own business is another indication entre- preneurship is growing in popularity., for example, currently lists over 1,900 books dealing with entrepreneurship and over 17,000 books focusing on small business. It is also clear that many people are fascinated by entrepreneurship and related topics, as evi- dence by the success of ABC’s American Inventor television show. The purpose of this book is to provide a thorough introduction to the entrepreneurial process as the foundation for successfully launching a new venture.

What Is Entrepreneurship?

The word entrepreneur derives from the French words entre, meaning “between,” and prendre, meaning “to take.” The word was originally used to describe people who “take on the risk” between buyers and sellers or who “undertake” a task such as starting a new ven- ture. 8 Inventors and entrepreneurs differ from each other. An inventor creates something new. An entrepreneur assembles and then integrates all the resources needed—the money, the people, the business model, the strategy, and the risk-bearing ability—to transform the invention into a viable business. 9

1. Explain entrepreneurship and discuss its importance.
1. Explain entrepreneurship and
discuss its importance.



2. Describe corporate entrepreneurship and its use in established firms.
2. Describe corporate
entrepreneurship and its use in
established firms.

Entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals pursue opportunities without regard to resources they currently control. 10 The essence of entrepreneurial behavior is identifying opportunities and putting useful ideas into practice. 11 The tasks called for by this behavior can be accomplished by either an individual or a group and typically requires creativity, drive, and a willingness to take risks. Sarah Schupp, the founder of University Parent, exemplified all these qualities. Schupp saw an opportunity to create a magazine that would be attractive to parents, universities, and advertisers, she risked her career by passing up alternatives to work on University Parent full-time, and she worked hard to build a profitable company that delivers a creative and useful service to its customers. In this book, we focus on entrepreneurship in the context of an entrepreneur or team of entrepreneurs launching a new business. However, ongoing firms can also behave entre- preneurially. Typically, established firms with an entrepreneurial emphasis are proactive, innovative, and risk-taking. For example, Apple Computer (which celebrated its 30th birthday in 2006) is widely recognized as a firm in which entrepreneurial behaviors are clearly evident. Steve Jobs is at the heart of Apple’s entrepreneurial culture. With his abil- ity to persuade and motivate others’ imaginations, Jobs continues to inspire Apple’s employees as they develop innovative product after innovative product. To consider the penetration Apple has with some of its innovations, think of how many of your friends own an iPod! 12 Similarly, studying Cisco Systems’ ability to grow and succeed reveals a history of entrepreneurial behavior at multiple levels within the firm. 13 In addition, many of the firms traded on the NASDAQ, such as Yahoo!, Intel, Starbucks, and Google, are com- monly thought of as entrepreneurial firms. The NASDAQ is the largest U.S. electronic stock market and with over 3,200 companies listed on the exchange. We want to note here that established firms with an orientation to acting entrepre- neurially practice corporate entrepreneurship. 14 All firms fall along a conceptual contin- uum that ranges from highly conservative to highly entrepreneurial. The position of a firm on this continuum is referred to as its entrepreneurial intensity. 15 As we mentioned pre- viously, entrepreneurial firms are typically proactive innovators and are not averse to tak- ing calculated risks. In contrast, conservative firms take a more “wait and see” posture, are less innovative, and are risk averse. One of the most persuasive indications of entrepreneurship’s importance to an indi- vidual or to a firm is the degree of effort undertaken to behave in an entrepreneurial man- ner. Firms with higher entrepreneurial intensity regularly look for ways to cut bureaucracy. For example, Virgin Group, the large British conglomerate, works hard to keep its units small and instill in them an entrepreneurial spirit. Virgin is the third most recognized brand in Britain and is involved in businesses as diverse as airlines and music. In the following quote, Sir Richard Branson, the founder and CEO of Virgin, describes how his company operates in an entrepreneurial manner:

dictates that “big is beautiful,” but every time one of our ventures

gets too big we divide it up into smaller units. I go to the deputy managing director, the deputy sales director, and the deputy marketing director and say, “Congratulations. You’re now MD [managing director], sales director and marketing director—of a new company.” Each time we’ve done this, the people involved haven’t had much more work to do, but necessarily they have a greater incentive to perform and a greater zeal for their work. The results for us have been terrific. By the time we sold Virgin Music, we had as many as 50 subsidiary record companies, and not one of them had more than 60 employees. 16


Other large firms are increasingly looking for ways to jump-start their entrepreneurship and innovation-related initiatives. For example, several firms, including Citigroup, Humana, and Coca-Cola, now have executives with the titles Chief Innovation Officer or Vice President of Innovation. Appointing executives with titles such as these sends a clear message to the organization: Innovation is an urgent priority and someone should be held accountable for it. 17



CHAPTER 1 • INTRODUCTION TO ENTREPRENEURSHIP 7 Why Become an Entrepreneur? The three primary reasons that

Why Become an Entrepreneur?

The three primary reasons that people become entrepreneurs and start their own firms are to be their own boss, pursue their own ideas, and realize financial rewards.

Be Their Own Boss The first of these reasons—being one’s own boss—is given most commonly. This doesn’t mean, however, that entrepreneurs are difficult to work with or that they have trouble accepting authority. Instead, many entrepreneurs want to be their own boss because either they have had a long-time ambition to own their own firm or because they have become frustrated working in traditional jobs. The type of frustration that some entrepreneurs feel working in conventional jobs is exemplified by Wendy DeFeudis, the founder of VeryWendy, a company that makes customized social invitations. Commenting on how her experiences working for herself have been more satisfying than working for a large firm, DeFeudis remarked:

Steve Jobs is perhaps America’s best-known entrepreneur. He co-founded Apple Computer in 1976, and has since built the company into a premier entrepreneurial firm. Apple’s latest innovations include the widely popular Apple iTunes Music store and the Apple iPod.

3. Discuss three main reasons that people decide to become entrepreneurs.
3. Discuss three main reasons
that people decide to become

I always wanted to be my own boss. I felt confined by the corporate structure.

I found it frustrating and a complete waste of time—a waste to have to sell my ideas to multiple people and attend all kinds of internal meetings before moving forward with a concept. 18

T. J. Rogers, the founder and longtime CEO of Cypress Semiconductor, an international supplier of computer chips, enjoys being his own boss for a similar, yet slightly different reason. Prior to founding Cypress, Rogers was on the fast track for promotion at Advanced Micro Devices (AMD), one of the world’s largest semiconductor firms. When asked why he left AMD to start his own company, Rogers replied:

Actually, my mother asked me that. Her basic question was—rephrasing it nega- tively from my perspective—“Now that you’re in the rat race and can scramble up the political ladder at Advanced Micro Devices, why give up the sure opportunities and start your own company?” I wanted to start a company since I graduated from college. It was one of my life goals, stated at age 21, that I would start a company by the age 35. Why do people start their own companies? The standard entrepreneurial answer is frustration. You see a company running poorly; you see that it could be a lot better. Like the freshman Congressman who’s been around for six months, you realize that the other guys really aren’t that good. All of a sudden you understand that you could go build something bigger and more important than where you are. That’s a big deal. 19



Pursue Their Own Ideas The second reason people start their own firms is to pursue their own ideas. 20 Some people are naturally alert, and when they recognize ideas for new products or services, they have a desire to see those ideas realized. Corporate entrepreneurs who innovate within the context of an existing firm typically have a mechanism for their ideas to become known. Established firms, however, often resist innovation. When this happens, employees are left with good ideas that go unfulfilled. 21 Because of their passion and commitment, some employees choose to leave the firm employing them in order to start their own business as the means to develop their own ideas. This chain of events can take place in noncorporate settings, too. For example, some people, through a hobby, leisure activity, or just everyday life, recognize the need for a product or service that is not available in the marketplace. If the idea is viable enough to support a business, they commit tremendous time and energy to convert the idea into a part-time or full-time firm. In Chapters 2 and 3, we focus on how entrepreneurs spot ideas and determine if their ideas represent viable business opportunities.

Pursue Financial Rewards Finally, people start their own firms to pursue financial

rewards. This motivation, however, is typically secondary to the first two and often fails to live up to its hype. The average entrepreneur does not make more money than someone with a similar amount of responsibility in a traditional job. For example, in 1997, only 13.1 percent of the owners of small businesses in the United States made more than $50,000 a year. 22 The financial lure of entrepreneurship is its upside potential. People such as Michael Dell of Dell Inc., Jerry Yang of Yahoo!, and Larry Page and Sergei Brin of Google made hundreds of millions of dollars building their firms. But these people insist that money wasn’t their primary motivation. Marc Andreessen, founder of Netscape, said, “[Money] is not the motivator or even the measure of my success.” 23 Some entrepreneurs even report that the financial rewards associated with entrepreneurship can be bittersweet if they are accompanied by losing control of their firm. For example, Sir Richard Branson, after selling Virgin Records, wrote, “I remember

walking down the street [after the sale was completed]. I was crying. Tears


streaming down my face. And there I was holding a check for a billion


you’d have seen me, you would have thought I was loony. A billion dollars.” 24 For Branson, it wasn’t just the money—it was the thrill of building the business and of seeing the success of his initial idea.

4. Identify four main characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.
4. Identify four main
characteristics of successful

Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

Although many behaviors have been ascribed to entrepreneurs, several are common to those who are successful. Those in new ventures and those who are already part of an entrepreneurial firm share these qualities, which are shown in Figure 1.1 and described in the following section.

Passion for the Business The number-one characteristic shared by successful entrepreneurs is a passion for their business, whether it is in the context of a new firm or an existing business. This passion typically stems from the entrepreneur’s belief that the business will positively influence people’s lives. Consider Benjamin Tregoe, cofounder of Kepner-Tregoe, a management consulting firm. In describing the purpose of his new venture, he said:

Tremendously important to me was the feeling that we were doing something that had a significance far beyond building a company or what the financial rewards could be. I was convinced we were doing something that had tremendous importance in the world. 25

This passion explains why people leave secure jobs to start their own firms and why bil- lionaires such as Bill Gates of Microsoft, Michael Dell of Dell Inc., and Larry Page and Sergei Brin of Google continue working after they are financially secure. They strongly



Passion for Product/customer the business focus Successful entrepreneur Tenacity despite Execution failure
Passion for
the business
Successful entrepreneur
Tenacity despite


Four Primary Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs

believe that the product or service they are selling makes a difference in people’s lives and makes the world a better place to live in. Passion is particularly important for entrepreneurs because although rewarding, the process of starting and building a new firm is demanding. Entrepreneurship isn’t for the person who is only partially committed. Investors watch like hawks to try to determine an entrepreneur’s passion for his or her business idea. Michael Rovner, a partner in AV Labs, a venture capital firm in Austin, Texas, expresses this sentiment:

Everyone has a different concept of what starting a business is like. We look for peo- ple who are highly motivated—people who are passionate about providing their solution to customers, people who really want to make a new company fly. 26

Another reason that passion is important is that in many instances it motivates extra- ordinary behavior. This outcome is the case with Mary Kent Hearon, the founder of Dragonfly Wellness, a heath food and natural remedy start-up. Remarking on how her pas- sion for her business has helped her become a better writer (she writes a regular newsletter on alternative medicines), Hearon said:

It gives me so much joy to reach people through my Weekly Beet newsletter, which has about 1,500 subscribers and is growing every day. What I’ve realized is I’m a good writer. Once you choose the work you love, certain aspects of yourself start to come out that you never knew existed. I didn’t do well in English class because I was writing about books that didn’t interest me. Now I’m able to better express myself through health. 27

What this example illustrates, beyond the fact that passion motivates extraordinary behav- ior, is that entrepreneurs who are passionate about their venture will often invest huge amounts of effort to ensure its healthy functioning. Additional examples of how entrepre- neurs view passion are shown in Table 1.1. In each instance, the presence of passion is depicted as an essential characteristic of successful entrepreneurs.



TABLE 1.1 The Importance of “Passion” in Launching a Successful New Venture

Entrepreneur and Company Founded

View on the Importance of Passion

Jared Ross VENA-Fine Italian Takeout Toronto, Canada

Judi Sheppard Missett Jazzercise Nationwide Fitness Franchise Carlsbad, California

My MBA has been invaluable in so many ways. However, one thing business school doesn’t teach is how to prepare for the less glamorous, humbling jobs like scrubbing the bathroom floors and driving around the city making deliveries. But it’s worth it because I’m passionate about my business. For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being an entrepreneur. Now my dream is a reality, and the risks are mitigated knowing that I reap all the rewards of my hard work. I love every grueling minute of it and can’t wait to go to work tomorrow.

First and foremost, you must be passionate about what you’re doing— whether you’re leading a large group of people through a step class or massaging the kinks out of an individual’s body. Out of passion develops a strong work ethic, and without it you won’t succeed. Some people go into fitness careers thinking, “Oh, it will be a nice thing to do and it will keep me fit.” These people don’t survive because they don’t have enough dedication.

Keith Schacht

Do something you’re passionate about. There are a lot of people who

Creative Inventables

start companies about stuff that doesn’t personally interest


Chicago, Illinois

makes all the difference in the world to be doing something you’re passionate about.

Laura Gasparis Vonfrolio Educational Enterprises Richmond, Virginia

The only entrepreneurial trait that is universal, in my view, is passion. I’ve met smart entrepreneurs, stupid entrepreneurs, compulsive entrepreneurs, laid-back entrepreneurs, but they all had passion. Some go into it for the fun, some to make money, some to prove a point, some because they don’t want to work for anybody else, but the successful ones all have passion.

Ross Levin

You could build a business with anything, as long as you can find

Accredited Investors

something that you can be passionate about. I could have been a

Edina, Minnesota

minister; I bet I would have built a thriving congregation.

Sources: BusinessWeek Online (2006), “The Recipe for Success,” available at (accessed May 18, 2006); Brent Bowers, If at First You Don’t Succeed (New York: Doubleday, 2006).

A note of caution is in order here: While entrepreneurs should have passion, they

should not wear rose-colored glasses. It would be a mistake to believe that all one needs is passion and anything is possible. It is important to be enthusiastic about a business idea, but it is also important to understand its potential flaws and risks. In addition, entrepre- neurs should understand that the most effective business ideas take hold when their passion

is consistent with their skills and is in an area that represents a legitimate business oppor-

tunity. We examine these points in greater detail in Case 1.1 at the end of the chapter.

Product/Customer Focus A second defining characteristic of successful entrepreneurs is

a product/customer focus. This quality is exemplified by Steven Jobs, the cofounder

of Apple Computer, who wrote, “The computer is the most remarkable tool we’ve ever


possible.” 28 This sentiment underscores an understanding of the two most important elements in any business—products and customers. While it’s important to think about

management, marketing, finance, and the like, none of those functions makes any difference

if a firm does not have good products with the capability to satisfy customers.

An entrepreneur’s keen focus on products and customers typically stems from the fact that most successful entrepreneurs are, at heart, craftspeople. They are obsessed with mak- ing products that can satisfy a customer’s need. This is an important point to remember, particularly in an era when it is tempting to envision new businesses resulting from every advance in technology. Michael Dell illustrated this point when he wrote, “We introduce

but the most important thing is to get them in the hands of as many people as



technology that meets the needs of our customers, rather than introducing technology for its own sake.” 29 Watching entrepreneurs create products that meet unfilled needs is fascinating. The idea for the Apple Macintosh, for example, originated in the early 1980s when Steven Jobs and several other Apple employees took a tour of a Xerox research facility. They were astounded to see computers that displayed graphical icons and pull-down menus. The com- puters also allowed users to navigate desktops using a small, wheeled device called a mouse. Jobs decided to use these innovations to create the Macintosh, the first user- friendly computer. Throughout the two and a half years the Macintosh team developed this new product, it maintained an intense product/customer focus, creating a high-quality computer that is easy to learn, is fun to use, and meets the needs of a wide audience of potential users. 30

Tenacity Despite Failure Because entrepreneurs are typically trying something new, the failure rate associated with their efforts is naturally high. In addition, the process of developing a new business is somewhat similar to what a scientist experiences in the laboratory. A chemist, for example, typically has to try multiple combinations of chemicals before finding an optimal combination that can accomplish a certain objective. In a similar fashion, developing a new business idea may require a certain degree of experimentation before a success is attained. Setbacks and failures inevitably occur during this process. The litmus test for entrepreneurs is their ability to persevere through setbacks and failures. Ken Nickerson, the cofounder of iBinary, a wireless technology firm and a former Microsoft executive, exemplifies this quality. When asked in an interview “What is the best thing you ever did?” Nickerson responded by saying, “Having high levels of tenacity. For example, bringing Hotmail to Microsoft Network took 18 months, and I just fought that deal through. It was arguably the best Internet thing Microsoft did.” 31 In some instances, tenacity is important because it shows a potential customer the degree of commitment that an entrepreneur has to a new product or service. For example, when his company was just getting started, J. Darius Bikoff, the founder of Gluceau, the company that makes vitaminwater, pounded the streets of New York City trying to drum up interest in his product. When he made a sale he would deliver the product himself, thinking that a personal touch would gain him the loyalty of shopkeepers. “I’ll never forget it,” Joe Doria, a grocer in Bikoff’s New York City neighborhood, recalls. “Darius comes in and says, ‘Hey Joe, will you sell this for me?’ He was just a customer of the store, but it impressed me that he was delivering the product himself and pushing it. You’ve got to respect that.” Today, Doria’s grocery store devotes 12 linear feet of cooler space to vitam- inwater, as well as fruitwater and smartwater, two other Gluceau brands. Mr. Doria says he won’t sell any other brand of enhanced health water—even Pepsi’s Propel, the nation’s top seller. “Darius was the first, and I have an allegiance to him.” Bikoff’s tenacity didn’t wane as his company grew, and he continues to make personal deliveries of Gluceau products in select areas. Today, Gluceau bottled water is available in 50,000 outlets, including Albertson’s, Safeway, Publix, and a large number of independent stores. 32

Execution Intelligence The ability to fashion a solid idea into a viable business is a key characteristic of successful entrepreneurs. Rob Adams, a senior partner in AV Labs, calls this ability execution intelligence. 33 In many cases, execution intelligence is the factor that determines whether a start-up is successful or fails. An ancient Chinese saying warns, “To open a business is very easy; to keep it open is very difficult.” The ability to effectively execute a business idea means developing a business model, putting together a new venture team, raising money, establishing partnerships, managing finances, leading and motivating employees, and so on. It also demands the ability to trans- late thought, creativity, and imagination into action and measurable results. As Jeff Bezos, the founder of, once said, “Ideas are easy. It’s execution that’s hard.” 34 For many entrepreneurs, the hardest time is shortly after they launch their firm. This reality was expressed by Jodi Gallaer, the founder of a lingerie company, who said, “The most challenging part of my job is doing everything for the first time.” 35



You might describe an entrepreneur as an independent thinker, an innovator, or perhaps a risk taker. These entrepreneurial employees are passionate enough to work out of their garage if that’s what it takes to get the company up and running. Consider Bill Gates, who was so enthusiastic about computers that he dropped out of Harvard University to pursue his vision.

he dropped out of Harvard University to pursue his vision. To illustrate solid execution, let’s look

To illustrate solid execution, let’s look at Starbucks. Although huge today and still profitably growing, Starbucks’ story is that of a successfully launched and managed entrepreneurial venture. The business idea of Howard Schultz, the entrepreneur who pur- chased Starbucks in 1987, was his recognition of the fact that most Americans didn’t have a place to enjoy coffee in a comfortable, quiet setting. Seeing a great opportunity to sat- isfy customers’ needs, Schultz attacked the marketplace aggressively to make Starbucks the industry leader and to establish a national brand. First, he hired a seasoned manage- ment team, constructed a world-class roasting facility to supply his outlets with premium coffee beans, and focused on building an effective organizational infrastructure. Then Schultz recruited a management information systems expert from McDonald’s to design a point-of-sale system capable of tracking consumer purchases across 300 outlets. This decision was crucial to the firm’s ability to sustain rapid growth over the next several years. Starbucks succeeded because Howard Schultz knew how to execute a business idea. 36 He built a seasoned management team, implemented an effective strategy, and used information technology wisely to make his business thrive. 37 In contrast to what Schultz has accomplished at Starbucks, the cost of ignoring execution is high, as explained by Bob Young, the founder of several entrepreneurial firms. When asked “What was your hardest lesson or biggest mistake?” Young replied, “In my first two businesses, my interest was always in ‘the new thing,’ so I wasn’t paying attention to details. As a result of my lack of interest in getting the repetitive stuff right, we never achieved the profitability we should have.” 38 To illustrate the importance of execution intelligence, as well as other factors that are critical in determining a firm’s success or failure, we include a boxed feature titled “What Went Wrong?” in each chapter. The feature for this chapter shows how Segway, a maker of light-mode transportation devices, has never reached its desired potential, leaving the firm’s survivability in question.

5. Explain the five common myths regarding entrepreneurship.
5. Explain the five common myths
regarding entrepreneurship.

Common Myths About Entrepreneurs

There are many misconceptions about who entrepreneurs are and what motivates them to launch firms to develop their ideas. Some misconceptions are due to the media covering atyp- ical entrepreneurs, such as a couple of college students who obtain venture capital to fund a small business that they grow into a multimillion-dollar company. Such articles rarely state that these entrepreneurs are the exception rather than the norm and that their success is a result of carefully executing an appropriate plan to commercialize what inherently is



a solid business idea. Indeed, the success of many of the entrepreneurs we study in each chapter’s Opening Profile is a result of carefully executing the different aspects of the entrepreneurial process. Let’s look at the most common myths and the realities about entrepreneurs.

Myth 1: Entrepreneurs are born, not made. This myth is based on the mistaken belief that some people are genetically predisposed to be entrepreneurs. The consensus of many hundreds of studies on the psychological and sociological makeup of entrepre- neurs is that entrepreneurs are not genetically different from other people. This evi- dence can be interpreted as meaning that no one is “born” to be an entrepreneur and that everyone has the potential to become one. Whether someone does or doesn’t is a function of environment, life experiences, and personal choices. 39 However, there are personality traits and characteristics commonly associated with entrepreneurs; these are listed in Table 1.2. These traits are developed over time and evolve from an indi- vidual’s social context. For example, studies show that people with parents who were self-employed are more likely to become entrepreneurs. 40 After witnessing a father’s or mother’s independence in the workplace, an individual is more likely to find inde- pendence appealing. 41 Similarly, people who personally know an entrepreneur are more than twice as likely to be involved in starting a new firm as those with no entre- preneur acquaintances or role models. 42 Sarah Schupp, the former University of Colorado student featured at the beginning of the chapter, had a great-grandmother who was an entrepreneur and was a role model for her. The positive impact of know- ing an entrepreneur is explained by the fact that direct observation of other entrepre- neurs reduces the ambiguity and uncertainty associated with the entrepreneurial process. Myth 2: Entrepreneurs are gamblers. A second myth about entrepreneurs is that they are gamblers and take big risks. The truth is, entrepreneurs are usually moderate risk takers, as are most people. 43 The idea that entrepreneurs are gamblers originates from two sources. First, entrepreneurs typically have jobs that are less structured, and so they face a more uncertain set of possibilities than managers or rank-and-file employees. 44 For example, an entrepreneur who starts an e-business consulting service has a less stable job than one working for a state governmental agency. Second, many entrepreneurs have a strong need to achieve and often set challenging goals, a behavior that is some- times equated with risk taking. Myth 3: Entrepreneurs are motivated primarily by money. It is naive to think that entrepreneurs don’t seek financial rewards. As discussed previously, however, money is rarely the primary reason entrepreneurs start new firms. Considering what motivated him to start Siebel Systems, a successful Silicon Valley firm, Tom Siebel wrote:


Common Traits and Characteristics of Entrepreneurs

Achievement motivated Alert to opportunities Creative Decisive Energetic Has a strong work ethic Is a moderate risk taker Is a networker Lengthy attention span

Optimistic disposition Persuasive Promoter Resource assembler/leverager Self-confident Self-starter Tenacious Tolerant of ambiguity Visionary



What Segway Has Learned the Hard Way The Segway HT is a two-wheeled, self-balancing
What Segway Has Learned the Hard Way
The Segway HT is a two-wheeled, self-balancing trans-
portation device that consists primarily of a set of tall
handlebars on top of two disc-like wheels. There are no
chains or visible mechanical workings. Riders lean for-
ward to move forward and back to move backward.
Turning is done mechanically via hand controls. The
devices are driven by quiet, nonpolluting electric motors
and can travel up to 10 miles per hour. The name
“Segway HT” stands for “Segway Human Transporter.”
The Segway was introduced to the marketplace in
December 2001 by Dean Kaman, the entrepreneur who
invented the product. There was considerable secrecy
and hype leading up to the introduction. The initial reac-
tion to the device was enthusiastic. Venture capitalist
John Doerr predicted that sales of the Segway would
reach $1 billion sooner than any other product in U.S.
history. Apple’s CEO Steve Jobs forecast that cities would
be built around this new form of transportation. To cope
with the expected demand for the product, Segway’s
factory in Bedford, New Hampshire, was designed to
build up to 40,000 units per month. Initially sales were
targeted at between 10,000 and 50,000 units during
the first 12 months. But, after 21 months, only 6,000
units had sold. What went wrong?
As it turned out, several things went wrong when it
came to selling the Segway. First, the initial price of the
product was $9,000, which put it out of reach for many
Segways are sold on and through other
direct channels. There are a few Segway dealers scattered
across the United States, but not many. As a result, very
few people can see or test-drive a Segway. The lack of a
local dealer network also made people wonder where
they would get their Segways serviced if they had trouble.
Segway is still in business, but the company is only a
shadow of what it hoped to become. Its price has come
down to around $5,000, and there are now over 200
Segway dealers. There is a group of Segway enthusiasts
that love the product, and Segways are used in some
factories, tourist areas, and theme parks. The United
States Postal Service, a large potential market for
Segway, tested the device for use by mail carriers who
still deliver mail by foot. The postal service abandoned
the idea after mail carriers complained that they couldn’t
sort mail or hold an umbrella while operating a Segway.
Questions for Critical Thinking
1. As we’ve said in this chapter, execution intelligence
is critical to entrepreneurial success. How did exe-
cution fall short for Segway? What reasons, other
than those already mentioned, led to poor sales of
the Segway?
consumers. Second, despite its technological prowess, it
wasn’t clear what need the Segway was filling. It was best
suited for densely populated areas where people could
ride their Segway’s to work. But other than places like San
Francisco and Manhattan, most affluent people live in
suburban areas, making riding a Segway to work imprac-
tical. In addition, it was unclear how riding a Segway to
work, school, or shop would work. It takes both hands to
operate a Segway safely. So, how would a businessperson
carry a briefcase or a student carry books? Finally,
2. Why do you think that Dean Kamen and his team
didn’t do a better job of anticipating the problems
that beset the Segway? What would you have
done differently to anticipate, in advance, the pub-
lic’s reaction to the Segway?
3. Discuss Segway’s value proposition. Did Segway
deliver sufficient value to justify its $9,000 sticker
4. Do you think the Segway will ever sell to main-
stream markets? What niche markets, if any, do
you think are the most promising for Segway?
Source: Segway home page, (accessed May 16,
2006); Wikipedia, “Segway HT,” (accessed May 16, 2006).

[It] was never about making money. It was never about going public; it was never about the creation of wealth. This was about an attempt to build an incredibly high-quality company. I suppose if I was a great musician that maybe I would play the guitar, if I was a great golfer maybe I would go out on tour, but I can’t play the guitar and my golf game is pretty horrible. So what I think, frequently under those circumstances, what you do is do what you do best. And I think that maybe what I do best is start and operate information technology companies. 45



Some entrepreneurs warn that the pursuit of money can be distracting. Media mogul

Ted Turner said, “If you think money is a real big deal

ing it to get it.” 46 Similarly, Debbie Fields, the founder of Mrs. Fields Cookies, said that if you chase money, you’ll never get it. 47 And Sam Walton, commenting on all the media attention that surrounded him after he was named the richest man in America by Forbes magazine in 1985, said:

you’ll be too scared of los-

Here’s the thing: money never has meant that much to me, not even in the

We’re not ashamed of having money, but I just

don’t believe a big showy lifestyle is appropriate for anywhere, least of all here in Bentonville where folks work hard for their money. We all know that every-

one puts on their trousers one leg at a

that I get my hair cut at the barbershop. Where else would I get it cut? Why do I drive a pickup truck? What am I supposed to haul my dogs around in, a Rolls-Royce? 48

I still can’t believe it was news

sense of keeping

Myth 4: Entrepreneurs should be young and energetic. The most active age range for early stage entrepreneurial activity is 25 to 34 years old; established business owner- ship peaks among those 45 to 54 years old. Later in this chapter, we’ll discuss the real- ity that today, an increasing number of both younger and older individuals are being attracted to the entrepreneurial process. Although it is important to be energetic, investors often cite the strength of the entrepreneur (or team of entrepreneurs) as their most important criterion in the deci- sion to fund new ventures. 49 In fact, a sentiment that venture capitalists often express is that they would rather fund a strong entrepreneur with a mediocre business idea than fund a strong business idea and a mediocre entrepreneur. What makes an entrepreneur “strong” in the eyes of an investor is experience in the area of the proposed business, skills and abilities that will help the business, a solid reputation, a track record of suc- cess, and passion about the business idea. The first four of these five qualities favor older rather than younger entrepreneurs. In addition, many people turn to entrepre- neurship in lieu of retirement, as suggested by a researcher’s findings that 32 percent of early retirees who return to work start their own business. 50 Before closing this chapter, we’ll consider the essence of this finding by discussing the fact that a

the essence of this finding by discussing the fact that a It’s moments like these that

It’s moments like these that drive the entrepreneurial spirit. When things go right, all the hardwork, sacrifice, and risk seem suddenly worth it.



growing number of seniors (people 55 years of age and older) are choosing to become entrepreneurs. Myth 5: Entrepreneurs love the spotlight. Indeed, some entrepreneurs are flamboyant; however, the vast majority of them do not attract public attention. In fact, many entre- preneurs, because they are working on proprietary products or services, avoid public notice. Consider that entrepreneurs are the source of the launch of many of the 3,200 companies listed on the NASDAQ; and, many of these entrepreneurs are still actively involved with their firms. But how many of these entrepreneurs can you name? Maybe a half dozen? Most of us could come up with Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steven Jobs of Apple, Michael Dell of Dell, Inc., and maybe Larry Page and Sergei Brin of Google. Whether or not they sought attention, these are the entrepreneurs who are often in the news. But few of us could name the founders of Nokia or GAP even though we fre- quently use these firms’ products and services. These entrepreneurs, like most, have either avoided attention or been passed over by the popular press. They defy the myth that entrepreneurs, more so than other groups in our society, love the spotlight.

6. Explain how entrepreneurial firms differ from salary- substitute and lifestyle firms.
6. Explain how entrepreneurial
firms differ from salary-
substitute and lifestyle firms.


Types of Start-Up Firms

Types of Start-Up Firms

As shown in Figure 1.2, there are three types of start-up firms: salary-substitute firms, lifestyle firms, and entrepreneurial firms. Salary-substitute firms are small firms that yield a level of income for their owner or owners that is similar to what they would earn when working for an employer. Dry clean- ers, convenience stores, restaurants, accounting firms, retail stores, and hairstyling salons are examples of salary-substitute firms. The vast majority of small businesses fit into this category. Salary-substitute firms offer common, easily available products or services to customers that are not particularly innovative. Lifestyle firms provide their owner or owners the opportunity to pursue a particular lifestyle and earn a living while doing so. Lifestyle firms include ski instructors, golf pros, and tour guides. These firms are not innovative, nor do they grow quickly. Commonly, lifestyle companies promote a particular sport, hobby, or pastime and may employ only the owner or just a handful of people. Rocky Mountain River Tours, owned by Dave and Shelia Mills, is an example of a lifestyle firm. The company leads 17 raft trips annually on the Middle Fork tributary to the main Salmon River in Idaho. Buying and owning a raft company was always a dream of the Mills, because it would provide them the lifestyle they desired. 51 Entrepreneurial firms bring new products and services to market. As we noted earlier in this chapter, the essence of entrepreneurship is creating value and then disseminating that value to customers. In this context, “value” refers to worth, importance, or utility. Entrepreneurial firms bring new products and services to market by creating and then seiz- ing opportunities. Google, eBay, and Starbucks are well-known, highly successful examples of entrepreneurial firms. Having recognized an opportunity, companies of this type create products and services that have worth, that are important to their customers, and that pro- vide a measure of usefulness to their customers that they wouldn’t have otherwise. Next, we describe the newly emerging characteristics of today’s entrepreneurs. You may be surprised to learn about the types of individuals who are choosing to become entrepreneurs!



Firms that basically provide their owner or owners a similar level of income to what they would be able to earn in a conventional job



Firms that provide their owner or owners the opportunity to pursue a particular lifestyle, and make a living at it



Firms that bring new products and services to the market by creating and seizing opportu- nities regardless of the resources they currently control



Changing Demographics of Entrepreneurs

Over the past 10 years, the demographic makeup of entrepreneurial firms has changed in the United States and around the world. Of the 23 million businesses in the United States, a growing number are owned by women, minorities, seniors, and young people. Although there are no solid numbers on how many of the 23 million businesses are entrepreneurial firms rather than salary-substitute or lifestyle firms, there is growing anecdotal evidence that an increasing number of women, minorities, seniors, and young people are becoming actively involved in the entrepreneurial process. This is an exciting development for the entrepreneurial sector of the U.S. economy.

7. Discuss the changing demographics of entrepreneurs in the United States.
7. Discuss the changing
demographics of entrepreneurs
in the United States.

Women Entrepreneurs There were 6.5 million women-owned businesses in 2002, the most recent year the U.S. Census Bureau collected business ownership data. That number is up 20 percent from 1997. Although historically women-owned firms have primarily been in health care and professional services, that emphasis is changing. Between 1997 and 2002, the fastest-growing areas of women-owned firms were construction (30 percent increase), agricultural services (24 percent increase), transportation (20 percent increase), communications (20 percent increase), and public utilities (20 percent increase). In addition, there were 117,069 women-owned firms in 2002 with total sales of $1 million or more. These statistics reflect the growing breadth and economic prowess of women-owned businesses in the United States. 52

Minority Entrepreneurs There were 1.2 million African-American–owned firms in 2002, up 45 percent from 1997. Similarly, there were 1.6 million Hispanic-owned businesses in

2002, up 31 percent from 1997. There were 1.1 million Asian-owned businesses in 2002, up

24 percent from 1997. There were 206,125 Native-American–owned businesses in 2002.

While the majority of minority-owned businesses are in service industries, there are many examples of minority-owned firms in all sectors of the U.S. economy.

Senior Entrepreneurs Although the Census Bureau does not collect data on senior entrepreneurs (people 55 years old and older), there is strong evidence to suggest that the number of older people choosing entrepreneurial careers is increasing rapidly. Unpublished government data obtained by Challenger, Gray & Christmas, an outplacement consulting firm, indicates that 2.1 million Americans 55 years of age and older owned their own businesses in 2005, an increase of 22 percent from 2000. 53 The dramatic increase in the number of senior entrepreneurs is attributed to a number of factors, including corporate downsizing, an increasing desire among older workers for more personal fulfillment in their lives, and growing worries among seniors that they need to earn additional income to pay for future health care services and other expenses. 54 A growing number of seniors may also see themselves as ideal candidates to start their own businesses. Many people in the 55+ age range have substantial business experience, financial resources that they can draw upon, and excellent vigor and health.

Young Entrepreneurs Although the total number of young entrepreneurs is far

less than women, minority, or senior entrepreneurs, interest among young people (ages

21 years and younger) in entrepreneurship is growing. At the high school level, a Gallup

study revealed that 7 out of 10 high school students want to start their own companies.

More specifically, 6 in 10 females, 7 in 10 Hispanics, and 8 in 10 African-American high school students are interested in starting a business. 55 According to the same study,

27 percent of high school students take an entrepreneurial business course and 35 percent

take an economics course while in school. Interestingly, an emphasis on entrepreneurship education is starting to appear in some areas as early as grade school. Harper Arrington Publishing and Media now publishes a series of books titled The Little Entrepreneur—Takes Flight. The series is designed to teach kids how to turn their hobbies into businesses and is suitable for children as young as 8. Interest in entrepreneurship is picking up at all levels in K–12 public schools. As evidence



of this, the New York City Council recently awarded a $550,000 grant to the National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship to expand youth entrepreneurship education in New York City. The rationale the council gave for making the grant provides insight into the value that policymakers see in entrepreneurship education at an early age:

“The Council’s goal is to give young people the skills and confidence to unlock their true potential so they can improve their lives and their communities,” said Council Member Robert Jackson. “Many of our neighborhoods are filled with creative and inspired young people who just needed help finding their talents. By exposing these stu- dents to entrepreneurship, we expand their capacity, unleash their creativity, increase their school and community leadership and encourage their individual growth.” 56

8. Discuss the impact of entrepreneurial firms on economics and societies.
8. Discuss the impact of
entrepreneurial firms on
economics and societies.

On college campuses, interest in entrepreneurship education is at an all time high, as will be described throughout this book. According to a survey by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, as of Spring 2006, 1,992 two- and four-year colleges and universi- ties were offering at least one course in entrepreneurship, up from 300 in the 1984–85 school years. Although the bulk of entrepreneurship education takes place within business schools, many other colleges and departments are offering entrepreneurship courses as well—including engineering, agriculture, theater, dance, education, law, and nursing. The tide is also turning in regard to the attractiveness of an entrepreneurial career in almost every major. Commenting on this issue, Jerome Katz, a professor of management at St. Louis University who has studied this trend, said, “Twenty years ago students who dared to say they wanted to start their own companies would be sent for counseling. Today, entrepreneurship is the fastest-growing course of study on campuses nationwide.” 57 Entrepreneurship is a particularly attractive option for college students for a number of reasons, including their understanding of the attractiveness of the youth market, their ability to find low-cost labor in the form of other students, their access to resources that are avail- able to them at their colleges or universities, and their intuitive recognition of the reality that if they fail they can pick up where they left off and pursue another venture or a conventional career. In addition, if a student’s business was developed through an entrepreneurship pro- gram or was competitive in a business plan competition, the business may be seen as less risky than other start-ups. Sarah Schupp, the founder of University Parent featured at the beginning of the chapter, says she feels that the businesses she first approached about advertising in University Parent liked the idea that her business was developed through a college-sponsored entrepreneurship program. The fact that other people, including her pro- fessors, had looked at her business and had helped her fine-tune it gave the advertisers an extra measure of assurance that University Parent did indeed have potential.

Entrepreneurship’s Importance

Entrepreneurship has a tremendously positive impact on the economy and on society. In 2005, a report by the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor stated that

Entrepreneurs are alert individuals who perceive and exploit profit opportunities. In addition to contributing toward market efficiency, entrepreneurs introduce innova- tions by offering new and unique products or services. As a result, innovative entrepreneurs are also one of the main links between entrepreneurship and economic growth. 58

Consistent with this set of sentiments, one scholar, commenting on the importance of entrepreneurship at the local level, noted that “entrepreneurship is still the best private vehicle we have to turn around and improve the economic health of a community.” 59 Entrepreneurship’s importance to an economy and the society in which it resides was first articulated in 1934 by Joseph Schumpeter, an Austrian economist who did the major- ity of his work at Harvard University. In his book The Theory of Economic Development, Schumpeter argued that entrepreneurs develop new products and technologies that over time make current products and technologies obsolete. Schumpeter called this process creative destruction. Because new products and technologies are typically better than



those they replace and the availability of improved products and technologies increases consumer demand, creative destruction stimulates economic activity. The new products and technologies may also increase the productivity of all elements of a society. 60 The creative destruction process is initiated most effectively by start-up ventures that improve on what is currently available. Small firms that practice this art are often called “innovators” or “agents of change.” The process of creative destruction is not limited to new products and technologies; it can include new pricing strategies (e.g., discount brokers such as E*Trade), new distribution channels (such as FedEx or, or new retail formats (such as IKEA in furniture).

Now let’s look more closely at entrepreneurship’s importance.

Economic Impact of Entrepreneurial Firms

For three reasons, entrepreneurial behavior has a strong impact on an economy’s strength and stability.

Innovation Innovation is the process of creating something new, which is central to the entrepreneurial process. 61 Small entrepreneurial firms are responsible for 55 percent of all innovation in the United States. 62 The most impactful innovations either solve a problem or satisfy a need in a new and cost-effective way. Commenting on this aspect of innovation, Marlo Mazzola, Cisco Systems senior vice president and chief development offier, said, “Innovation is more than just a new idea—it is about taking a new idea and developing it into customer value and positive business impact.” 63 Many innovations help individuals and businesses work more smoothly and effi- ciently. An example of how one innovative firm, uShip, is helping people cut the cost of shipping large or awkwardly shaped items from one point to another is provided in the boxed feature titled “Savvy Entrepreneurial Firm.” In each chapter, this feature will pro- vide an illustration of the exemplary behavior of one or more entrepreneurial firms or will provide an example of a tool or technique that well-managed entrepreneurial firms use to improve their performance.

Job Creation In the past two decades, economic activity has moved increasingly in the direction of smaller entrepreneurial firms, possibly because of their unique ability to innovate and focus on specialized tasks. In fact, over 550,000 new businesses are started in the United States every month. 64 According to the 1997 report of the U.S. Census Bureau (which is the most recent data available), the nation’s 17 million small, nonfarm businesses constitute 99.7 percent of all employers, employ 52 percent of the workforce, and generate 51 percent of all sales revenue. A total of 67 percent of young people obtain their first job with a small firm. And between 1994 and 1998, fast-growth young companies, known as gazelles, created about two-thirds of all new jobs in the United States. 65 Large firms are increasingly focusing on what they do best, which is usually manufacturing, sales, and service, and are outsourcing the majority of their other tasks to smaller firms.

Globalization Today, 97 percent of all U.S. exporters are small- and medium-sized businesses with fewer than 500 employees. Over two-thirds have fewer than 20 employees. Between 1992 and 2003, the number of small- and medium-sized exporters grew more than twice as fast as the number of large company exporters. Export markets are vital to the U.S. economy and provide outlets for the sale of U.S.-produced products and services. 66

Entrepreneurial Firms’ Impact on Society

The innovations of entrepreneurial firms have a dramatic impact on a society. Think of all the new products and services that make our lives easier, enhance our productivity at work, improve our health, and entertain us. For example, Amgen, an entrepreneurial firm



uShip: Helping Individuals and Shippers Move Items More Effectively It’s easy to ship an
uShip: Helping Individuals and
Shippers Move Items More Effectively
It’s easy to ship an envelope or a package, via the United
States Postal Service, UPS, or FedEx. But what if you want
to ship a larger item, like a piece of furniture, a car, or a
boat? There are freight carriers available, but because
they are designed to carry heavy and large loads, they are
expensive. To ship an individual piece of furniture from
North Carolina to California could easily cost as much as
the furniture itself, making the idea impractical.
Until now. uShip, which was launched in 2003 in
Austin, Texas, is an online marketplace for shipping. It
uses a reverse auction system where users can list large
or awkward items, like furniture or cars, and shippers
can bid on the shipping job. The company claims to have
10,000 registered service providers, most of whom are
small movers, freight carriers, van lines, auto and boat
haulers, and independent drivers.
uShip was founded by Matt Chasen, who as a stu-
dent developed the idea as part of a school project while
enrolled at the University of Texas. Chasen likes to com-
pare uShip to eBay—”We’re just like eBay,” he said.
“uShip is a venue where people get together. We give
customers the tools they need to find the right mover for
their stuff. We give them feedback ratings.” On any
given day, there are thousands of shipments listed on
uShip representing millions of dollars in shipping jobs.
Here is how the service works. An individual logs onto
the uShip Web site and lists a shipping job that needs to
be completed. For example, say that a person bought an
antique table while vacationing in Virginia, and wants to
have it shipped home to Indiana. Shippers would then
bid on the job. The shippers are all rated, similar to the
way sellers are rated on eBay, and individuals can post
positive or negative feedback about a shipper. The ship-
pers that bid typically anticipate having an empty load or
excess capacity on a route that passes near the pickup
and the delivery locations. The seller will normally accept
the lowest bid, assuming that the shipper is satisfactorily
rated. uShip makes money by collecting a 7.9 percent
commission from the shipper who carries the load.
uShip is building momentum as more people become
aware of the service. Its patent-pending search technol-
ogy connects users and shippers efficiently, and users are
typically able to arrange a job for about 50 percent of
what it would cost to have a traditional freight company
carry the load. The company’s feedback system holds
drivers accountable for their service and rewards those
that perform well. uShip’s service is particularly popular
among those selling large items on eBay and other auc-
tion sites.
Questions for Critical Thinking
1. To what extent do you think uShip’s service will
make it easier for Internet retailers to sell large,
costly items, such as appliances, big-screen televi-
sions, and treadmills? In what ways, if any, does
uShip’s service have the potential to make a posi-
tive impact on the economy, a positive impact on
society, and a positive impact on larger firms?
2. Why do you think that a traditional shipping com-
pany, like UPS or Yellow Transportation, didn’t
launch a service similar to uShip’s service some time
ago? Is it too late for these established firms to
launch a service such as this?
3. What steps has uShip taken to excel in the area of
execution intelligence?
4. Think of another service that could help make the
buying and selling of products more effective.
Describe how the service “adds value” for both
buyers and sellers.
Sources: uShip, (accessed May 18, 2006); Matt
Nauman, “Web Facilitator Brings Together Movers, Shippers,” San
Jose Mercury News, April 21, 2006.

that helped launch the biotech industry, has produced a number of drugs that have dra- matically improved people’s lives. An example is NEUPOGEN, a drug that decreases the incidence of infection in cancer patients who are undergoing chemotherapy treatment. Sensipar is another one of Amgen’s important products. Patients with chronic kidney disease and who are on dialysis take this drug as a secondary treatment of hyperpara- thyroidism. 67 In addition to improved health care, consider cellular phones, personal



computing, Internet shopping, overnight package delivery, digital photography, and microwave ovens. All these products are new to this generation, yet it’s hard to imagine our world without them. However, innovations do create moral and ethical issues with which societies are forced to grapple. For example, bar-code scanner technology and the Internet have made it easier for companies to track the purchasing behavior of their customers, but this raises privacy concerns. Similarly, bioengineering has made it easier to extend the shelf life of many food products, but some researchers and consumers question the long-term health implications of bioengineered foods. A particularly interesting example of a company that makes a product that is intended for good but some people oppose is VeriChip. VeriChip makes tiny, implantable microchips that hold medical records that can be implanted just beneath a person’s skin. Emergency room physicians can scan the chips and gain immediate access to a person’s medical records in the event of an emergency. The chips are controversial because they are actually implanted under a person’s skin and because they raise privacy concerns. There is a perception in some quarters that the chips could be used to track people, steal their iden- tities, or violate a patient’s privacy in other ways. 68 As an individual, how do you react to this product? Would you be willing to use it? Why or why not?

Entrepreneurial Firms’ Impact on Larger Firms

In addition to the impact that entrepreneurial firms have on the economy and society, they also have a positive impact on the effectiveness of larger firms. For example, some entre- preneurial firms are original equipment manufacturers, producing parts that go into prod- ucts that larger firms manufacture and sell. Thus, many exciting new products, such as DVD players, digital cameras, and improved prescription drugs, are not solely the result of the efforts of larger companies with strong brand names, such as Sony, Kodak, and Johnson & Johnson. They were produced with the cutting-edge component parts or research and development efforts provided by entrepreneurial firms. The evidence shows that many entrepreneurial firms have built their entire business models around producing products and services that help larger firms be more efficient or effective. For example, an increasing number of U.S. firms want to advertise on Spanish sites and purchase media exposure in Latin American companies. Latin Edge, a 2002 start-up, helps its larger clients achieve these objectives. Similarly, many large firms occa- sionally need temporary labor to facilitate short-term personnel needs. A small firm named IQNavigator has developed software to help Fortune 500 companies quickly hire reliable temporary labor through a network of sources. In many instances, entrepreneurial firms partner with larger companies to reach mutually beneficial goals. Participation in business partnerships accelerates a firm’s growth by giving it access to some of its partner’s resources, managerial talent, and intel- lectual capacities. We examine the idea of partnering throughout this book. In each chap- ter, look for the boxed feature titled “Partnering for Success,” which illustrates how entrepreneurial firms are using business partnerships to boost their chances for success. The feature in this chapter discusses how small, entrepreneurial biotech firms partner with large drug companies to bring their products to market. By working together rather than acting as adversaries, small biotech firms and large drug companies produce the best collective results.

The Entrepreneurial Process

The entrepreneurial process consists of four steps:

Step 1

Deciding to become an entrepreneur

Step 2

Developing successful business ideas

Step 3

Moving from an idea to an entrepreneurial firm

Step 4

Managing and growing the entrepreneurial firm

Step 4 Managing and growing the entrepreneurial firm 9. Identify ways in which large firms benefit

9. Identify ways in which large firms benefit from the presence of smaller entrepreneurial firms.

10. Explain the entrepreneurial process.
10. Explain the entrepreneurial




Basic Model of the Entrepreneurial Process Decision to Become an Developing Successful Business Ideas Entrepreneur
Basic Model of the Entrepreneurial Process
Decision to
Become an
Developing Successful Business Ideas
Introduction to
and generating
Writing a
business plan
Industry and

Figure 1.3 models the entrepreneurial process. This process is the guide or framework around which we develop this book’s contents. The double-headed arrow between the decision to become an entrepreneur and the development of successful business ideas indi- cates that sometimes the opportunity to develop an idea prompts a person to become an entrepreneur. Each section of Figure 1.3 is explained in the following sections.

Decision to Become an Entrepreneur (Chapter 1)

As discussed earlier, people become entrepreneurs to be their own boss, to pursue their own ideas, and to realize financial rewards. Usually, a triggering event prompts an indi- vidual to become an entrepreneur. 69 For example, an individual may lose her job and decide that the time is right to start her own business. Or a person might receive an inher- itance and for the first time in his life have the money to start his own company. Lifestyle issues may also trigger entrepreneurial careers. For example, a woman may wait until her youngest child is in school before she decides to launch her own entrepreneurial venture.

Developing Successful Business Ideas (Chapters 2–6)

Many new businesses fail not because the entrepreneur didn’t work hard but because there was no real opportunity to begin with. Developing a successful business idea includes opportunity recognition, feasibility analysis, writing a business plan, industry analysis, and the development of an effective business model. Chapter 2 takes a scientific



Managing and Moving from an Idea to an Entrepreneurial Firm Growing an Entrepreneurial Firm CHAPTER
Managing and
Moving from an Idea
to an Entrepreneurial Firm
Growing an
Entrepreneurial Firm
The importance
of intellectual
Preparing for
Preparing the
and evaluating
proper ethical
the challenges
and legal
of growth
Assessing a
new venture’s
strength and
for firm
Building a new
venture team
financing or

look at how entrepreneurs recognize opportunities and describes how the opportunity recognition process typically unfolds. Chapter 3 focuses on feasibility analysis: the way to determine whether an idea represents a viable business opportunity. Chapter 4 describes how to write a business plan. A business plan is a written document that describes all the aspects of a business venture in a concise manner. It is usually necessary to have a written business plan to raise money and attract high-quality business partners. Some entrepreneurs are impatient and don’t want to spend the time it takes to write a business plan. This approach is usually a mistake. Writing a business plan forces an entrepreneur to think carefully through all the aspects of a business venture. It also helps a new venture establish a set of milestones that can be used to guide the early phases of the business rollout. Industry and competitor analysis is our concern in Chapter 5. Knowing the industry in which a firm will choose to compete is crucial to an entrepre- neur’s success. Chapter 6 focuses on the important topic of developing an effective busi- ness model. A firm’s business model is its plan for how it competes, uses its resources, structures its relationships, interfaces with customers, and creates value to sustain itself on the basis of the profits it generates.

Moving from an Idea to an Entrepreneurial Firm (Chapters 7–10)

The first step in turning an idea into reality is to prepare a proper ethical and legal foun- dation for a firm, including selecting an appropriate form of business ownership. These



Working Together: How Biotech Firms and Large Drug Companies Bring Pharmaceutical Products to Market Large
Working Together: How Biotech Firms
and Large Drug Companies Bring
Pharmaceutical Products to Market
Large firms and smaller entrepreneurial firms play differ-
ent roles in business and society and can often produce
the best results by partnering with each other rather
than acting as adversaries. The pharmaceutical industry
is an excellent example of how this works.
It is well known that barriers to entry in the pharma-
ceutical industry are high. The average new product
takes about 7 years from discovery to market approval.
The process of discovering, testing, obtaining approval,
manufacturing, and marketing a new drug is long and
expensive. How, then, do biotech start-ups make it? The
answer is that few biotech firms actually take their prod-
ucts to market. Here’s how it works.
Biotech firms specialize in discovering and patenting
new drugs—it’s what they’re good at. In most cases,
however, they have neither the money nor the know-
how to bring the products to market. In contrast, the
large drug companies, such as Pfizer and Merck, special-
ize in developing and marketing drugs and providing
information to doctors about them. It’s what they are
good at. But these companies typically don’t have the
depth of scientific talent and the entrepreneurial zeal
that the small biotech firms do. These two types of firms
need one another to be as successful as possible. Often,
but not always, what happens is this. The biotech firms
discover and patent new drugs, and the larger drug
companies develop them and bring them to market.
Biotech firms earn money through this arrangement by
licensing or selling their patent-protected discoveries to
the larger companies or by partnering with them in
some revenue-sharing way. The large drug companies
make money by selling the products to consumers.
The most compelling partnership arrangements are
those that help entrepreneurial firms focus on what they
do best, which is typically innovation, and that allow
them to tap into their partners’ complementary strengths
and resources.
Questions for Critical Thinking
1. In your opinion, what factors in the business envi-
ronment encourage firms to partner to compete?
2. What risks do small firms face when partnering
with large, successful companies? What risks do
large companies take when they rely on small firms
as a source of innovation?
3. How might government policies affect partnering
actions between small and large firms in the phar-
maceutical industry?
4. If you worked for an entrepreneurial venture, what
would you want to know about a large firm before
recommending that your firm form a partnership
with that large, established company?

issues are discussed in Chapter 7. Chapter 8 deals with the important topic of assessing a new venture’s financial strength and viability. Important information is contained in this chapter about completing and analyzing both historical and pro forma financial state- ments. Chapter 9 focuses on building a new-venture team. Chapter 10 highlights the important task of getting financing or funding and identifies the options that a firm has for raising money.

Managing and Growing an Entrepreneurial Firm (Chapters 11–15)

Given today’s competitive environment, all firms must be managed and grown properly to ensure their ongoing success. This is the final stage of the entrepreneurial process. Chapter 11 focuses on the unique marketing issues facing entrepreneurial firms, includ- ing selecting an appropriate target market, building a brand, and the four Ps—product,



price, promotion, and place (or distribution)—for new firms. Chapter 12 examines the important role of intellectual property in the growth of entrepreneurial firms. More and more, the value of “know-how” exceeds the value of a company’s physical assets. In addi- tion, we will talk about protecting business ideas through intellectual property statutes, such as patents, trademarks, copyrights, and trade secrets. Preparing for and evaluating the challenges of growth is the topic of Chapter 13. We’ll look at the characteristics and behaviors of successful growth firms. In Chapter 14, we’ll study strategies for growth, ranging from new product development to mergers and acqui- sitions. We conclude with Chapter 15, which focuses on franchising. Not all franchise organizations are entrepreneurial firms, but franchising is a growing component of the entrepreneurial landscape. When you finish studying these 15 chapters, you will have been exposed to all components of the entrepreneurial process—a process that is vital to entre- preneurial success.

Chapter Summary

1. Entrepreneurship is the process by which individuals pursue opportunities without regard to resources they currently control.

2. Corporate entrepreneurship is the conceptualization of entrepreneurship at the organi- zational level. Entrepreneurial firms are proactive, innovative, and risk taking. In con- trast, conservative firms take a more “wait and see” posture, are less innovative, and are risk averse.

3. The three primary reasons that people decide to become entrepreneurs and start their own firms are as follows: to be their own boss, to pursue their own ideas, and to real- ize financial rewards.

4. Passion for the business, product/customer focus, tenacity despite failure, and execu- tion intelligence are the four primary characteristics of successful entrepreneurs.

5. The five most common myths regarding entrepreneurship are that entrepreneurs are born, not made; that entrepreneurs are gamblers; that entrepreneurs are motivated pri- marily by money; that entrepreneurs should be young and energetic; and that entre- preneurs love the spotlight.

6. Entrepreneurial firms are the firms that bring new products and services to market by recognizing and seizing opportunities regardless of the resources they currently con- trol. Entrepreneurial firms stress innovation, which is not the case for salary-substitute and lifestyle firms.

7. The demographic makeup of those launching entrepreneurial firms is changing in the United States and around the world. There is growing evidence that an increasing number of women, minorities, seniors, and young people are becoming actively involved in the entrepreneurial process.

8. There is strong evidence that entrepreneurial behavior has a significant impact on economic stability and strength. The areas in which entrepreneurial firms con- tribute the most are innovation, job creation, and globalization. Entrepreneurial behavior also has a dramatic impact on society. It’s easy to think of new products and services that have helped make our lives easier, that have made us more pro- ductive at work, that have improved our health, and that have entertained us in new ways.

9. In addition to the impact that entrepreneurial firms have on an economy and society, entrepreneurial firms have a positive impact on the effectiveness of larger firms. There are many entrepreneurial firms that have built their entire business models around producing products and services that help larger firms increase their efficiency and effectiveness.

10. The four distinct elements of the entrepreneurial process, pictured in Figure 1.3, are deciding to become an entrepreneur, developing successful business ideas, moving from an idea to establishing an entrepreneurial firm, and managing and growing an entrepreneurial firm.



Key Terms

Business model, 23 Business plan, 23 Corporate entrepreneurship, 6 Creative destruction, 18 Entrepreneurial firms, 16 Entrepreneurial intensity, 6

Entrepreneurship, 6 Execution intelligence, 11 Gazelles, 19 Innovation, 19 Lifestyle firms, 16 Moderate risk takers, 13

Passion for their business, 8 Product/customer focus, 10 Salary-substitute firms, 16 Triggering event, 22 Value, 16

Review Questions


Increasingly, entrepreneurship is being practiced in countries throughout the world. Why do you think this is the case?


Which type of new business is more entrepreneurial: a business that is being started to pursue a unique opportunity or a business that is being started out of necessity? Explain your answer.


What is entrepreneurship? How can one differentiate an entrepreneurial firm from any other type of firm?


What are the three main attributes of firms that pursue high levels of corporate entre- preneurship? Would these firms score high or low on an entrepreneurial intensity scale?


What are the three primary reasons people become entrepreneurs?


Why is it that people who start their own firms to be independent typically do not grow their firms beyond their immediate control?


Some people start their own firms to pursue financial rewards. However, these rewards are often far fewer than imagined. Why is this so?


What are the primary traits and characteristics of successful entrepreneurs?


Why is passion such an important characteristic of successful entrepreneurs? What is it about passion that makes it particularly compatible with the entrepreneurial process?


Why is a product/customer focus an important characteristic of successful entrepreneurs?


What is meant by execution intelligence? Why is execution intelligence an important characteristic for entrepreneurs?


What are the five common myths of entrepreneurship?


What are the major differences among salary-substitute firms, lifestyle firms, and entrepreneurial firms?


Are entrepreneurs born or made? Defend your answer.


In general, are entrepreneurs high risk takers, moderate risk takers, or low risk takers?


What role does money play in motivating people to become entrepreneurs?


What did Joseph Schumpeter mean by the term creative destruction?


In general, what effect does entrepreneurship have on economies around the world?


How is the demographic makeup of entrepreneurs changing in the United States? What do you believe is accounting for these changes?


Describe several examples of the impact that entrepreneurial firms have on a society.

Application Questions

1. Reread the opening case, then list all the smart or effective moves Sarah Schupp made in the early days of building University Parent. Which three moves were most instru- mental in University Parent’s early success? Be prepared to justify your selections.

2. Assume that Boise Cascade, the large paper products firm, hired you to assess its level of entrepreneurial intensity. What three factors would you study to determine how entrepreneurial Boise Cascade is at this point in time? How would you determine if these factors were present?



young entrepreneurs becoming extremely wealthy, she decides to start her own firm. Do you think Karen is starting a firm for the right reason? Do you think the money she likely will earn will disappoint her? Do you think Karen’s reason for starting a firm will contribute in a positive manner or a negative manner to the stick-to-itiveness that is required to successfully launch an entrepreneurial venture?


Pamela, a friend of yours, has always had a nagging desire to be her own boss. She has a good job with AOL but has several ideas for new products that she can’t get AOL inter- ested in. Pamela just inherited $200,000 from an elderly relative and has the opportunity to start her own database software firm. She asks you, “Am I crazy for wanting to start my own firm to be my own boss and pursue my own ideas?” What would you tell her?


People are sometimes puzzled by the fact that entrepreneurs who have made millions of dollars still put in 60- to 80-hour weeks helping their companies innovate and grow. After reading the chapter, why do you think millionaire and multimillionaire entrepre- neurs still get up and go to work every day? If you were one of these entrepreneurs, do you think you would feel the same way? Why or why not?


Think about an entrepreneur you know or have read about. Describe how the person either mirrors or contradicts the characteristics of successful entrepreneurs described in the chapter. In your judgment, what is the single most important characteristic that has made the person you are thinking about successful?


The Savvy Entrepreneurial Firm boxed feature focuses on uShip, a company that helps people arrange for large or awkwardly shaped items to be shipped at a reduced cost. Is uShip a salary-substitute, a lifestyle, or an entrepreneurial firm? In what ways has uShip demonstrated a product/customer focus? On a scale of 1 to 5 (5 is high), how instrumental has the company’s product/market focus been to its early success?


You just made a trip home and are visiting with your dad. He is 59 years old and has been in a management position for a public utility for the past 12 years. Prior to that, he served 26 years in the U.S. Air Force. Your father told you that he has always wanted to start his

own firm and has an idea about the type of firm to start. He wonders if he is too old to start


firm and if his management experience and his military background will be helpful in a

new-venture context. If your dad asked you for your advice, what would you tell him?


Shelia Patterson is 26 year old and is thinking about starting a digital media firm. She knows that an increasing number of women are starting their own firms, but doesn’t know where to go to learn about the start-up process. She would also like to network with other women, who are approximately her own age, who have started their own firms. Do some Internet research to provide Shelia suggestions about where to go to accomplish her objectives.


Jacob Lacy is an MBA student at a Big 12 school in the Midwest. He has an idea to start an Internet-based firm that will help high school students prepare for the SAT exam in an innovative manner. Jacob just talked to a trusted family friend, who told him that college is a poor time and place to launch a firm. The family friend told Jacob, “Try to distance yourself from the college atmosphere before you start your firm.” Do you think Jacob is getting good advice? Why or why not?


Facebook is an enormously popular social networking site on college campuses. Facebook has been criticized for not doing enough to prevent some of the inappropri- ate activities that users engage in on its site. In general, do you think Facebook makes


positive or a negative contribution to society? If you were Mark Zuckerberg, the

founder and CEO of Facebook, what steps would you take to ensure the site’s legiti- macy? Are you optimistic or pessimistic about Facebook’s future? Why?


A friend of yours just bought a Sony digital camera. While showing it to you, he said, “You think entrepreneurial firms are so smart, look at what Sony has done. It has pro- duced a sophisticated digital camera that allows me to take pictures, download them to my PC, and e-mail them to family members. Sony’s a big company, not a small entre- preneurial firm. What do you have to say to that?” If you were to defend the role of entrepreneurial firms in developing new technologies, how would you respond?



events, or places. What similarities, if any, do you see between Riya and Segway, the company featured in the “What Went Wrong?” boxed feature in the chapter?

14. Go to the Web site of Coldwater Creek, a woman’s apparel company that is located in Sandpoint, Idaho, which is on the shores of beautiful Lake Pend Oreille. Spend some time looking at the Web site and reading about Coldwater Creek’s history and current offerings. Do you consider Coldwater Creek to be a firm that practices corporate entrepreneurship? If so, what unique value does Coldwater Creek offer to its cus- tomers? In what ways, if any, does Coldwater Creek contribute to the economy, to society, and to the success of larger firms?

15. When Jill graduated from college, she opened a small ski shop near Jackson Hole, Wyoming. Although the shop sells some ski equipment, its primary purpose is to give lessons to people who want to learn to ski. Jill likes to tell her friends that she is a “true entrepreneur,” just like her father, who started several technology businesses and patented more than 10 products. Do you consider Jill an entrepreneur? If not, what type of firm did she start? If someone bought Jill’s business, what steps could they take to make it an entrepreneurial venture?

1.1 Company: Cereality Business Idea: Open a chain of small walk-in restaurants (similar to
1.1 Company: Cereality
Business Idea: Open a chain of small walk-in
restaurants (similar to sub-shop restaurants) that serve only
cereal. Make the process of buying cereal inviting enough
that cereal becomes an alternative to fast food where
Cereality stores are located.
Pitch: There are many different forms of fast food,
many of which no longer hold much interest for a large
group of consumers. In addition, most fast-food restaurants
have similar formats and are not fun or appealing
To address these shortcomings, and to breathe new life
into the fast-food industry, Cereality will open small restau-
rants where customers will be able to walk up to counters
to purchase their favorite brand of hot or cold cereal. A
consumer can order up to two brands of cereal and a top-
ping, which are mixed together by Cereality employees.
The employees are clad in pajamas, to capture the nostal-
gia associated with cereal. A variety of milk products are
available, including skim, 2 percent, whole, and soy. The
cereal is placed in take-out-suitable containers, for patrons
who want to eat on the run or at home. Several Cereality
“signature blends” of cereal are available to show people
that mixing different brands of cereal and toppings can
make for a delicious meal. For example, the signature
blend “Burst O’ Berry” is a mixture of Kellogg’s Froot
Loops, Quaker’s Cap’n Crunch Berries, and a dried mixed
berry topping.
Cereality stores are bright and pleasant and include a
wide selection of cereal from which to make a selection.
The company currently has three stores, with the flagship
unit located in the Memorial Union Building at Arizona
State University in Tempe, Arizona. The other stores are
located near the Sears Tower in Chicago and near the
University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.
Along with selling bowls of cereal, Cereality sells
boxes of cereal, which can be mixed any way a customer
wants. For example, a box of cereal could include a mix-
ture of Frosted Flakes, Cheerios, and Cocoa Puffs. The
boxes can also be customized and include a personalized
greeting or artwork on the cover. Smoothie type drinks,
made from common cereal toppings like strawberries,
bananas, and yogurt, are also available.
Cereality is considering its options for expanding. The
three stores it owns are company-owned stores. It has had
over 5,000 inquiries for franchise locations. As a result, it
is considering selective franchising as a potential growth
Q&A: Based on the material covered in this chapter,
what questions would you ask the firm’s founders before
making your funding decision? What answers would
satisfy you?
Decision: If you had to make your decision on just
the information provided in the pitch and on the company’s
Web site, would you fund this firm? Why or why not?



Company: Riya 1.2 Business Idea: Use face and text search technology to allow people
Company: Riya
Business Idea: Use face and text search technology
to allow people to automatically search their digital photos
for specific people, events, or places.
has already taught Riya to recognize. In these instances,
you can simply transfer Riya’s prior learning to your
Riya also can search for locations and for combina-
tions of locations and people. For example, if you tell Riya
Pitch: How many digital photos do you have—
100, 1,000, or maybe even 10,000? If I asked you to find
all of your photos of yourself, or of your best friend, or of
your ski trip to Colorado, how long would it take you?
Admit it—you’re probably like most of us, meaning that this
task would consume a fair amount of your time.
But there is hope for you and me and others sharing
our predicament. While there are lots of online services
that help people print, organize, and share their photos,
Riya is the first service that helps people automatically
search them. Riya is a photo search service that uses face
and text technology to look inside digital photos. Here’s
how it works. Once you have uploaded your photos to
Riya, you click on the manual training tab to teach Riya
what someone looks like. So, if you have several photos
of your best friend Sarah Ryan, you select the photos and
move them into a folder named “Sarah Ryan.” Riya then
“learns” what Sarah looks like. You can then search for
Sarah in your library of photos, and Riya will find every
photo in which Sarah appears. Riya also has an auto
training tab, which takes the service even further. If you
click on the auto training tab, Riya will search your pho-
tos and will tell you the people in your photos that it
already knows. These are the people that someone else
to show you all the pictures of yourself in Aspen, Colorado,
guess what happens? Amazingly, if you’re standing next to
a ski lift that says “Aspen” Riya will find the picture.
Further, if you tell Riya to show you all the pictures of Sarah
Ryan and yourself in Aspen, Colorado, you got it. If you
and Sarah were photographed while standing next to that
same ski lift, Riya will find the picture.
Riya is still in beta mode and the founders like to say,
“Riya is like a two-year-old child in terms of its recognition
ability,” so it’s not perfect yet. But Riya is ready for you to
give it a try. In terms of its business model, Riya has a number
of possibilities for making money. The company is consider-
ing advertising, licensing its technology, and a possible
acquisition by a larger company.
Q&A: Based on the material covered in this chapter,
what questions would you ask the firm’s founders before
making your funding decision? What answers would
satisfy you?
Decision: If you had to make your decision on just
the information provided in the pitch and on the company’s
Web site, would you fund this firm? Why or why not?
1.1 Dream Dinners: Creating a Business Concept to Help Busy Families at Meal Time
1.1 Dream Dinners: Creating a Business Concept to
Help Busy Families at Meal Time
Bruce R. Barringer,
The Birth of Dream Dinners
University of Central Florida
R. Duane Ireland,
Texas A&M University
The best new businesses typically happen when three
things converge: someone is passionate about an idea, a
market opportunity for the idea exists, and the person with
the idea has the skills to implement it. This is exactly what
happened in the case of Dream Dinners.
A stay-at-home mother, Stephanie Firchau regularly prepared
meals for her family ahead of time and froze them to use on
hectic days. She was so good at doing this that she frequently
invited friends over to prepare meals with her. Word spread
about what she was doing. “I started getting phone calls and
e-mails from (family and friends) asking if they could come,”
she recalls. To accommodate the growing demand, she
rented a commercial kitchen on several occasions, charging
people only for the ingredients they used. For Stephanie, the
whole idea of preparing meals ahead of time was to reduce



Dream Dinner’s Recipe for Success: Passion, Market Opportunity, and the Skills to Make It Happen
Dream Dinner’s Recipe for
Success: Passion, Market
Opportunity, and the
Skills to Make It Happen
Both founders were passionate about
helping families share evening meals
Market Opportunity
Feedback from customers willing
to pay for the service indicated
that a market opportunity existed
Founder Stephanie Firchau’s
professional background in catering
and the business side of cooking
stress for her family around mealtime, yet still feed her family
a home-cooked meal. Sure, on particularly busy evenings she
could order pizza or serve her family Stouffer frozen dinners.
But her preference remained for serving “home-cooked”
meals that she had prepared for her family.
All the interest in what she was doing got Stephanie
thinking that she might be onto a business idea. She had a
background in catering so was familiar with the business
side of cooking. To get help fleshing out her idea, she con-
tacted Tina Kuna, a long-time friend and also a stay-at-
home mother. The two agreed to start a business around
Stephanie’s idea, and Dream Dinners was born.
Foundations of Early Success
The structure of Dream Dinners quickly evolved. Like
Stephanie’s early experiences in the commercial
kitchens, each Dream Dinners store is a physical location
that provides a setting for its customers to prepare meals.
This is how it works. A person registers on the Dream
Dinners Web site and picks a 2-hour “session” that works
best for her or him. Customers then pick the meals that
they would like to prepare from a list of entrees that
Dream Dinners is featuring that month. Usually, about 12
entrees can be prepared in a 2-hour session. Each entree
serves four to six people. The entrees vary on a month-to-
month basis and have included a wide variety of culi-
nary delights, such as Stir-Fried Chicken with Shrimp,
Mom’s Macaroni & Beef, Deep Dish Chicago-Style
Pizza, French Country Chicken, and Apple-Braised
Boneless Pork Chops.
When customers arrive at the center, the ingredients for
the entrees that they selected are ready to go. The ingredi-
ents are precut, and the appropriate measuring cups and
spoons are available. The dinners can be customized on
the spot—so if a customer’s family is particularly fond of
cheese, more cheese can be added. Instructions for
preparing each dinner are provided and Dream Dinners’
employees are on hand to offer advice and answer ques-
tions. Once the dinners are prepared, they are placed in
freezer-suitable containers. Dream Dinners even cleans up
the mess. The idea is to provide customers the joy and
emotional satisfaction of preparing meals for their families
without the hassles involved with starting from scratch. The
cost of 12 entrees is about $200, or just $3.00 per serv-
ing. Dream Dinners also sets up private parties for groups
of friends or for co-workers who want to come in at the
same time. Once at home, the meals can be heated in an
oven or run through the microwave and served in a matter
of minutes.
When Dream Dinners first started, the founders were
surprised by the interest that people had in their concept.
Recalling how intense the interest was, Tina Kuna, one of
the cofounders, said, “We’ve had people e-mail us their
FedEx numbers (apparently thinking that they could order
premade meals to be shipped). We even had two women
from Sacramento, California, fly up, cook over the week-
end, and pack everything to ship on the plane home.” 70
Looking back, the early success of Dream Dinners can be
attributed in part to the three factors mentioned at the
beginning of the case converging at the same time: pas-
sion for an idea, a market opportunity, and an entrepre-
neur with the skills needed to implement it. All of these
qualities were present in Dream Dinner’s rollout as a com-
pany. To illustrate this point, the figure titled “Dream
Dinners’ Recipe for Success: Passion, Market Opportunity,
and the Skills to Make it Happen” depicts how these three
attributes converged in Dream Dinner’s case.
A New Position in the Marketplace
The position that Dream Dinners fills in the marketplace is
another important reason for its success. The company basi-
cally wants to accomplish two things: (1) help families enjoy
an evening meal together and (2) make those members of
the family responsible for providing the meals feel good
about themselves and their role in preparing the food.
The position that Dream Dinners carved out for itself in
the evening meal marketplace is shown in the grid titled
“Dream Dinners’ Positioning Strategy.” Looking at the grid,



Dream Dinner’s Positioning High Strategy Dream Dinners Combining the Advantages of Moderate Preparation Time and
Dream Dinner’s
Dream Dinners
Combining the
Advantages of Moderate
Preparation Time and
High Emotional
Satisfaction Derived from
Preparing Meals for
Your Family
Emotional Satisfaction High
Preparation Time Moderate
Pizza Delivery
Frozen Dinners
Deli Carry-Out
Cooking at Home
Eating Out
Eating Prepared Food at
Preparation Time
Dream Dinners is the only concept that helps people feel
good about their role in preparing dinner for their families
and still captures the advantage of relatively short prepa-
ration time. A particularly problematic position that Dream
Dinners helps its customers avoid is the “Undesirable
Position” shown in the lower right-hand portion of the
graphic. This position represents incidences in which peo-
ple take the time to prepare a home-cooked meal but
receive little satisfaction from doing so because they feel
rushed, they don’t have all the ingredients they need, there
is stress in the home, or for a variety of other reasons.
People who fall into this category all too often are the ideal
candidates for Dream Dinners’ value proposition.
2. Look at the figure labeled “Dream Dinners’ Recipe for
Success: Passion, Market Opportunity, and the Skills to
Make it Happen.” What would have happened if only
two of the three attributes represented by the circles
in the figure had been present when Dream Dinners
was founded? If Stephanie Firchau hadn’t had
experience in the food business, is there any way
that she and her cofounder could have overcome
this limitation?
3. To what extent do you think Dream Dinners’ basic
business idea “adds value” in the lives of its cus-
tomers? Who is the ideal candidate to be a Dream
Dinners’ customer?
Future of
Dream Dinners
4. What do you think? Do you think Dream Dinners’ con-
cept is just a fad or do you think that Dream Dinners
has real staying power? Explain your answer.
Dream Dinners is now a rapidly growing franchise orga-
nization with over 130 franchise locations. Its concept
was quickly copied, and there are now several similar
companies selling franchises, including Super Suppers,
Dinner by Design, and Meal Makers. A trade association
has even been started, named the Easy Meal Prep
Association, to help companies start meal preparation
The real question for Dream Dinners and its competi-
tors is whether the concept is just a fad or whether it has
real staying power. The company also runs the risk of
growing too quickly and finding that it’s difficult to provide
proper support to all of its franchisees.
Application Questions
1. Study Dream Dinners’ Web site and make note of the
various ways in which the company supports the com-
munities in which it is located. In your judgment, is the
company doing enough in this area? In what ways
are the company’s initiatives in this area good busi-
ness as well as philanthropic?
Discussion Questions
1. Which of the characteristics of successful entrepre-
neurs, discussed in this chapter, do you see in
Stephanie Firchau and Tina Kuna? To what extent do
you believe these characteristics have contributed do
Dream Dinners’ success?
2. Do you have skills in the areas that you are the most
passionate about? If so, how could you match your
passion and your skills to use a process to pursue
viable business opportunities? If your passions and
your skills aren’t congruent, do you think this could
limit your ability to become a successful entrepreneur?
Is there anything you can do now to correct this lack
of congruence?
Sources: Dream Dinners home page,
(accessed May 7, 2006); A. Y. Pennington, “Two Entrepreneurs Have
Put This Question on Ice With Do-It-Yourself Frozen Entrees,”
Entrepreneur, August 2003.
Emotional Satisfaction
from Preparing
Meals for Your



1.2 Seattle Biodiesel: It Started with Passion—Its Success Now Hinges on Execution Intelligence
1.2 Seattle Biodiesel: It Started with Passion—Its
Success Now Hinges on Execution Intelligence
Bruce R. Barringer,
A Fortunate Introduction
University of Central Florida
R. Duane Ireland,
Texas A&M University
If you travel to Seattle and sense the smell of popcorn in
the air, you’ll be disappointed if you think there is a movie
theater or an amusement park nearby. Instead, you’ve
probably just encountered a city bus. Seattle’s buses
are fueled by biodiesel, a clean alternative to diesel fuel.
And the fuel has an aroma very similar to popcorn.
Environmentalists sing the praises of the biodiesel for
being an environmentally friendly substitute for regular
diesel fuel.
Shortly after he launched the company, John Plaza was
introduced to Martin Tobias by a mutual friend. Tobias, a
partner at Ignition Partners, a Seattle-area venture capital
firm, was looking for investment opportunities on behalf of
his firm. Through the process of investigating Seattle
Biodiesel, Tobias became more and more excited about
the company and its mission and started thinking that he
might want to become personally involved. In late 2003,
he left Ignition Partners to assume leadership of the firm,
with Plaza’s enthusiastic blessing. Plaza remained on the
management team, but recognized the value that Tobias’s
experience could bring to the firm. Commenting on what
attracted him to Seattle Biodiesel, Tobias said:
John Plaza’s Passion for Alternative Fuels
The buses in Seattle get their fuel from Seattle Biodiesel,
a company that was started in 2003 by John Plaza.
Plaza, a former airline pilot, quit his job flying com-
mercial airplanes to pursue an interest in alternative
fuels. He points to a single flight that caused him to
decide to make a career change. “I was flying a 747
from Anchorage to Tokyo, and I started thinking about
how much fuel that flight used,” he said. “I figured out
that in a 6 1/2 hour flight, we used enough fuel to power
my personal vehicle for 42 years. I had to make a
The change that Plaza made was to start Seattle
Biodiesel. Biodiesel is an alternative fuel for diesel engines
and is refined from oils or fats, like the oils found in soy-
bean, mustard, and canola seeds. To start the business,
Plaza mortgaged his home, sold his boats and cars, and
borrowed against his 401(k) plan. (Taking financial
actions such as these are common for entrepreneurs who
are passionate about their idea.) To get Seattle Biodiesel’s
refining operations up and running, Plaza acquired the
rights to use a 7,000-square-foot warehouse next to a
cement plant near downtown Seattle, which included a set
of huge tanks that were formally used by a brewery.
Biodiesel works in any diesel engine with few or no modi-
fications. It can be burned pure or in combination with
regular diesel fuel. As noted, the use of biodiesel fuel
yields significant environmental benefits. It is also attractive
because it reduces America’s dependence on foreign
sources of oil and provides another market for the sale of
U.S.-grown crops.
As a venture capitalist I’ve reviewed over 1,200
plans and none have had the impact on me as what
I saw from Seattle Biodiesel. I firmly believe the
world has enough investors solving software prob-
lems, but there aren’t enough people solving this
country’s energy dependency on foreign oil. John
Plaza (the founder) and his management team have
done an exceptional job bringing Seattle Biodiesel
to life and now it’s time to take it to the next level.
The way Tobias hopes to take Biodiesel to the next
level is by growing the company and finding a way to
make its economic model work. This effort will require
sharp planning and execution. The biggest disadvantage
of biodiesel is that it is more expensive than regular diesel
fuel. As a result, the primary consumers of the fuel, to
date, have been municipal governments, as part of their
efforts to reduce pollution, and environmental enthusiasts.
To move biodiesel into the mainstream market, Tobias
believes that its price must be comparable to regular
Tobias’s Three-Part Plan
To make biodiesel more price competitive, Tobias has a
three-part plan. The plan is summarized in the table
labeled “Tobias’s Three-Point Plan to Drive Down the Cost
of Biodiesel.” First, Tobias plans to increase the scale of
Seattle Biodiesel and implement process efficiencies. To
fund this effort, the company recently attracted $7.5 million
in venture capital funding. Second, Tobias plans to shift the
way his company sources its raw materials. Currently, the
company buys soybean oil from Iowa, which is then
shipped by rail to Seattle for refining. To eliminate this step,
Tobias is actively involved in an effort to help Washington



Tobias’s Three-Part Plan to Drive Down the Cost of Biodiesel Step 1 Increase the scale
Tobias’s Three-Part
Plan to Drive
Down the
Cost of Biodiesel
Step 1
Increase the scale of Seattle Biodiesel and
implement process efficiencies
Step 2
Encourage the production of oil-seed crops in
Washington state to eliminate the need to source
soybean oil from Iowa
Step 3
Support legislation that would require every
gallon of diesel fuel sold in Washington state to
contain some biodiesel
farmers learn how to integrate oil-seed crops into their crop
rotations. If the raw material needed to refine biodiesel
could come from local crops rather than from Iowa, a con-
siderable cost savings could be realized. Finally, Seattle
Biodiesel is actively involved in supporting legislation that
would require every gallon of diesel fuel sold in the state to
contain some biodiesel. Last year, the Minnesota legisla-
ture passed a law that requires gasoline there to be 20 per-
cent ethanol by 2013. If the Washington legislature would
follow suit in regard to diesel fuel, the demand for
biodiesel fuel would increase dramatically. An increase in
demand would allow Seattle Biodiesel to increase its scale
even further, reducing per gallon refining and processing
advantages does Seattle Biodiesel have in its efforts to
execute Tobias’s plan and continue to grow?
2. To what extent did passion play a role in the founding
of Seattle Biodiesel and its early success? Do you think
that someone without passion for alternative fuels could
have successfully founded the firm? Why or why not?
3. Which of the myths of entrepreneurs are dispelled by
John Plaza and Martin Tobias’s involvement in Seattle
4. To what extent does Seattle Biodiesel have the poten-
tial to (1) make an economic impact on the Seattle
area and the state of Washington, (2) make an impact
on society, and (3) make an impact on larger firms?
Application Questions
The Ultimate Importance of Execution Intelligence
The future of Seattle Biodiesel hinges on Plaza’s and
Tobias’s ability to execute this carefully conceived plan.
While passion is important, both entrepreneurs know that
1. To what extent is Seattle Biodiesel creating a network
of stakeholders that have a vested interest in seeing
the company succeed? Make a list of these people or
groups. Comment on how each group’s success is
linked to Seattle Biodiesel’s ultimate success.
a process featuring sharp planning and execution must be
in place and used to help a venture grow. Looking at the
major businesses in Seattle, Tobias sees a bright future for
Seattle Biodiesel. Considering that the U.S. diesel market
is $160 billion a year, he said, Seattle Biodiesel could be
bigger than Microsoft or Boeing.
2. Make a list of 10 people you know who might help
you if you decided to start a firm. Briefly comment on
the ways that each individual could offer you assis-
tance. In each case, make a note of what you are
doing, or should be doing, to solidify and nurture
these relationships.
Discussion Questions
1. What degree of confidence do you have that Tobias
will be able to execute his three-part plan? What fac-
tors have to come together for the plan to work? What
Sources: W. Cornwall, “Biodiesel Suffers Image Setback,” The Seattle
Times, April 19, 2006; “Biodiesel Production Soars: 2005 Production
Expected to Triple Last Year’s Figures,” Environmental News Network,
November 9, 2005; “Seattle Biodiesel Closes $2 Million Financing:
New CEO With Package,” Green Car Congress, July 18, 2005.


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