At the MIT Enterprise Forum Arab Business Competition Workshop session, Kenneth P. Morse, Senior Lecturer and Managing Director of the MIT Entrepreneurship Center, spoke about critical success factors in entrepreneurship.
In his experience, the best entrepreneurs:
- Have integrity.
- Are leaders.
- Are impatient, with a bias towards action (with analysis).
- Have a quick clockspeed.
- Have a modest ego. Seeks and accepts coaching. Recognizes, and hires to overcome weaknesses.
- Are willing to be different, but also know what different means (are not oblivious).
- Are pragmatic; willing to compromise (in order to move forward).
- Rejoice in others' victories (no petty jealousy).
- Are driven to solve a valuable problem for customers (not driven by money or technology).
- Are able to attract world class talent.
His other advice:
- Build an "A" team.
- Develop a serious technology with a sustainable advantage.
- Sales can be more important than tech. "Successful selling- and building a customer-oriented, sales-driven culture- is the single most important differentiator between highly successful start-up firms and those that go sideways."
- To get investment, you will likely have to get customers first.
- Choose your investors wisely; they should bring you both customers and management talent.
- Cash flow is more important than your mother.*
(*neglecting your family for business is not recommended by Wamda).