Entrepreneurship and the “Aha!” moment

Brand + Business x Christine Moody* 

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Entrepreneurship has fascinated me both pre-and post- my Master’s research thesis. I read extensively and operate in the entrepreneurial space and never tire of the topic. When I started, 35+ years ago, I don’t think we even had a name for it. What I couldn’t understand and fully appreciate was that entrepreneurship is a job!

Recently I reread journal articles by William Aulet, who is the managing director of the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship and also a senior lecturer at the MIT Sloan School of Management, where he teaches entrepreneurship. I have seen first hand the calibre and innovative ideas of the MIT researchers and students, when I visited and toured the campus with a good friend, Stephanie Rowe (Stanford University d.school alumni; winner of MassChallenge Winner; and Founder and CEO of Start-up Joulez).

Aulet’s articles reminded me that having an idea alone does not make you an entrepreneur. He states that while the idea is necessary, “…it is so much less important than the discipline and process with which the idea pursued”. This prompted me to examine and review all my “great” ideas and start-ups with a different set of lenses. On examination I realise the ideas are good, the execution is okay but the missing link is the existence of a quality founding team alongside me. According to Aulet, this is important because, “…the original idea morphs and evolves over time as the team does primary market research and starts to focus on customer needs, rather than their initial eureka moment”. In other words…Reality!

…the original idea morphs and evolves over time as the team does primary market research and starts to focus on customer needs, rather than their initial eureka moment.

Coming up with great ideas is easy for entrepreneurs as we see gaps in the marketplace or want to make something better than what is currently available. What some of us lack is discipline as well as the experience and the knowledge to see the product or service through to launch and sustaining growth. It is the discipline to keep going, keep passionate, keep motivated, and keep focused on what is to be achieved, that is really needed. It may be fun in the beginning—coming up with new ideas is truly good fun!—but it is hard work to execute the idea.

It is not about having all the skills, but working collaboratively with co-founders who each possess the skills that complement your’s—business, IT, sales et al. Where start-ups need someone with a great idea to get started, the idea can often morph into another idea, especially when the prototype is presented to potential customers. Additionally, an idea is only sustainable if there is a market—and buying customers—if the business is to survive.

I am setting out now with a couple of ideas, to build my founding team, and to create a business that is built on a good idea but also has the discipline to survive the tough world it must live in! Thanks for the reminder William Aulet.

Photo credit: One of the most memorable MIT moments was seeing the Fire Hose Water Fountain that was inspired by Former MIT President [’71-’80] Jerome Weisner’s often quoted description of the MIT educational experience was: “Getting an Education from MIT is like taking a drink from a Fire Hose.” MIT Fire Hose Water Fountain x Christine Moody 2015.

References:
Aulet, W. (2015). ‘The most overrated thing in entrepreneurship’. Retrieved 02 December, 2016, from mitsloanexperts.mit.edu/the-mostoverratedthing-in-entrepreneurship/

I continue to be overwhelmed by the comments coming in for my book, inspired by my own personal resilience and entrepreneurial spirit—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs:

So many of us in small business are great at big ideas, at inspiring others and creating a kick arse product. And yet the same businesses can crash and burn because we’re clueless when it comes to the legal bits. Written for designers but applicable to all of us in small business, Christine Moody’s book Designer Law School is a must read. From an extensive wealth of knowledge and personal experience she has brought the very best of herself and injected it into a book that is bold, clear, strategic and very, very smart.

Lynne Schinella, Speaker, Author, and Coach 

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*Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists and the founder brand management consultancy, Brand Audits. With more than 30 years’ professional experience, Christine has helped a diverse client base of local and international brands, including Gold Coast City Council, Hilton Hotels and Wrigleys USA, to develop, protect and achieve brand differentiation. Her particular interest is personal brand audits to assist executives realise their full potential. She is also an author and a law student.

For more information: chris.moody@brandaudits.com.au or +61 419 888 468.

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About—Designer Law School. Legal lessons for design entrepreneurs
(Stockists Folio Books: Folio@FolioBooks.com.au; iBook store; and Amazon)

Christine Moody is one of Australia’s leading brand strategists. She is the founder of brand management consultancy, Brand Audits, and several successful start-up companies. Designer Law School is her latest venture.

This book is a cautionary tale for all designers, entrepreneurs, managers and educators. With the wit and wisdom born of long experience (and some pretty hard knocks along the way), Christine encourages her fellow designers (and all designers, creatives and entrepreneurs, for that matter) to respect and understand the legal issues that affect their daily business. In a series of practical ‘lessons’ full of ‘good-to-know’ tips and topics, the book alerts others to the risks of ‘doing business’ without a keen eye on the possible legal pitfalls along the way. At the same time, Christine engages the reader through her obvious care and concern for their challenges and encases her ‘lessons’ in the motivational framework of her personal struggle for justice and survival.

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