Principles of Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurs need to follow some basic principles which would serve as guidelines and beacons for their success. Based on the research conducted over a period of three years and by interviewing more than 150 entrepreneurs, noted author and management expert, Bill Murphy came out with a book about entrepreneurship which was published by Harvard Business School. This article is based on the insights from this book and lists five principles that should serve as markers for both aspiring as well as existing entrepreneurs. One of the insights from this research is that most of these principles can be learned from experience and the process of starting a venture is an educational experience in itself. With this introduction, we can now move on to the five principles of entrepreneurship as put forward by Bill Murphy.

It is always not the case that Entrepreneurs should make money fast and this should not be the goal

It is important for entrepreneurs to test the waters before launching a new venture. This means that one must commit oneself to the ideal of entrepreneurship and try out new business models, and new forms and paradigms of transacting business. In other words, the entrepreneurs must not be in a hurry to make profits from the word go and instead, understand what entrepreneurship is all about. For instance, it is better to come up with a game changing idea instead of pursuing leads that are dead ends which means that entrepreneurs must be ready to be in the game for the long haul.

It is always better to find the right opportunity even if it takes time instead of chasing mirages

This principle translates into waiting for the right opportunity and at the same time, seizing the moment when the opportunity arises. Of course, we are not saying that entrepreneurs ought to wait forever for the right opportunity. Rather, the intention here is that entrepreneurs must ensure that they have the necessary foundation in place to capitalize on the opportunity and also must have an idea and a business model that would create opportunities in case they are finding it difficult to get the venture going. For instance, as the clichés about how opportunity knocks only once as well as if you do not find an opportunity, build a door so that you are ready when the opportunity arises can be taken to mean that entrepreneurs must both create opportunities as well as seize them when they arise. Another analogy would be that entrepreneurs must be ready with the fishing rods and the baits when they go fishing and if the river, sea, or lake is saturated, they must fish in waters that are “blue oceans” meaning that they must create new markets for themselves.

Invest in people and build successful teams

As with the previous principle, entrepreneurs must ensure that they have the right team in place before they start the venture. After all, unless there is a team in place, the venture would not be able to capitalize on the opportunities. Further, entrepreneurs must ensure that the team is passionate, committed, and most importantly, shares the vision and mission of the founders. In other words, unless there is a buy-in from the team with the founder’s ideas, the venture would flounder. Apart from these, getting the right people who have focus, drive, loyalty, determination, courage, and consistency in addition to being motivated and creative are some requirements that the entrepreneurs can ill afford to ignore.

It is always not enough to have everything in place. Execution and Delivery are what matters

Have you ever got the feeling that a salesperson is engaging you in glib talk wherein he or she is trying to convince you to buy a product which is untested? Similarly, all talk and no execution would lead the new venture nowhere and hence, it is important for entrepreneurs to ensure that they walk the talk and deliver on their promises.

Indeed, it is not enough to have a game changing idea and a great team in place unless the entrepreneur knows the art of execution. As happened during the Dotcom boom, there were many startups with great ideas and equally great teams that promised the moon for anyone willing to listen. However, the fact that they failed in their businesses was mainly due to the gap between ideas and execution.

Therefore, the entrepreneur has to be a leader who walks the talk and understands the meaning of execution. Further, leadership means that entrepreneurs must not be afraid of failure and must instead, turn adversity into triumph and transform failure into a stepping stone for success.

Indeed, great entrepreneurs are those who are willing to trust their instincts and intuition and back themselves up when the venture is yet to fructify or even making losses. In other words, if you think that you have a great idea and are executing it well with the right team, you need to persist and keep going even when the conventional wisdom says that you are getting it wrong.

Entrepreneurs must be self actualizing visionaries

Ask any successful entrepreneur and they would say that while money is indeed important and profits are indeed essential, it is always not about the money or that making profits is the only thing that matters. Instead, great entrepreneurship is all about heeding the inner voice, creating jobs and opportunities for others, be conscious of societal prosperity due to the venture instead of having a me, myself only attitude, and most importantly, translate their vision into success.

For instance, there are many of us who have heard or come across individuals who gave up cushy jobs to find their passions and to follow and chase their dreams. Therefore, successful entrepreneurship is all about making a difference to the world and becoming a social messiah who would transform societies with his or her ventures.


Finally, entrepreneurship must be seen as a starting point to transform oneself and in the process become a change agent. For this to happen, the entrepreneur must be both be able to fulfill environmental, social, and economic expectations from the larger system and at the same time, must drive themselves in the pursuit of their dreams. Indeed, the balance between inner aspirations and external expectations is the most important determinant for success.


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Entrepreneurship