Friday, May 19, 2006

Call to the Audacious

I recently read an article that encourages innovators to be more audacious, stating that although more risky, audiacious ideas have the power to bring more rewards.

While "audaciousness" can certainly bring many rewards, first time entrepreneurs with audacious ideas may have great difficulties with market entry. Besides having to prove an already-risky idea, they may not have the benefit of experience that will demonstrate their competence with bringing even reasonably feasible ideas to market.

That is not to say that audaciousness should not be fostered and encouraged. FedEx, for example, was established by a revolutionary, audacious (and young) leader who changed the shipping industry.

However, entrepreneurs and innovators might consider that most of the Inc. 500 companies (a somewhat veritable measuring stick for successfully growing start-up ventures) have mostly represented established industries and offered incremental innovations that, although might not change the industry, offered benefits to end-customers that helped the companies rise above the rest.

Any audacious idea must be analyzed; sometimes, the world is not quite ready for revolutionary ideas. Sometimes, building a track record based on an incremental innovation with a proven market can be more valuable early on in an entrepreneur's career, thus enabling him or her to advocate audacious ideas a few years down the road. Sometimes, the time will never be better.

Successful entrepreneurs mix a dash (or truckload) of vision with solid analysis and proficiency in organizing resources. If these three elements come together, audaciousness might be quite reasonable, but proceed with caution.

Oh, and as a side note, Fred Smith, the founder of FedEx, initially benefitted from access to several million dollars worth of equity from family investments. If only the average revolutionary entrepreneur could be so lucky.... .


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