On Bloomberg Businessweek, Sharon Nunes urges readers to "unleash their inner entrepreneur", as she shares the lessons she learned while launching a new business unit at IBM.
While Nunes admits that creativity is key to being a successful entrepreneur – "from how you run your business with slim resources to how you think about new business models" – she insists that it isn't enough on its own, and entrepreneurship requires more than simply a vision, a business plan, and funding.
Nunes believes her experiences of starting up a "smart" water management business at IBM can help "budding (or frustrated) entrepreneurs in big companies, whether they are leading a project, creating a product line, or jump-starting a new business unit".
The first lesson is: create the market, don't chase it. Nunes says: "Being an entrepreneur takes energy and a lot of homework. It's important to research industry developments and demographic trends because society is always changing. You need to understand what the market is doing and what events are influencing it. That will give you insight into business needs and how the market is responding so you can shape it."
The second lesson is: test your idea with other people. The author recommends vetting your idea with two or three people who don't think like you and will give you a brutally honest opinion.
The third piece of advice is: be self-aware and know what skills you lack. "If you are an idea person, surround yourself with financial and operations experts," says Nunes. "If you are an 'execution' person, seek out visionaries and market analysers."
The author also stresses you should trust your gut instinct and take risks but don't ignore the market signs.
Finally, don't move forward with blinkers on. "Keep an eye on market trends and unexpected events that may influence your chances of success," advises Nunes.