ENTREPRENEURSHIP

MINDSET

Entrepreneurship is a complex field that cannot be reduced to a personal experience, even if it is the journey of a successful entrepreneur. Social background, ambition, luck, lack of opportunities and encounters with co-founders all change the destiny of project holders. To succeed in entrepreneurship (and intrapreneurship as an employee), your social background and your lucky star are as important as your intrinsic qualities and any business management method.

However, one should not expect to become a successful entrepreneur accidentally or under social pressure. If you start a business just to add a line on your resume or to entertain your friends, the probability of success is even lower. Very few entrepreneurs reach a level they consider satisfactory. Most fail fairly quickly, and those who last longer are often trapped in an activity that does not pay more than a salaried job, with the added burden of responsibility. To really succeed, you need to have a plan, a long-term vision and a strength within you that is similar to a powerful ego for confidence and an inner determination to act.

Early in my career, I realized that I had something more in me than others to launch into the business world myself. In my first job, no one forced me to be an active employee while I already had an entrepreneurial mindset (intrapreneur). I then took charge of my career by building offers on behalf of my employers. I wanted to understand the whole business rather than being stuck in an executing role. In other words, I never responded to a job post, but always contacted my future employers to with offers that I had already prepared.

I was an “intrapreneur” and I took risks to succeed as an involved employee. I always had in mind that it’s easier to make excuses than to get approvals. So I took a lot of initiatives without waiting for them to be offered to me.

After a decade of working as an employee, I started my first business already conditioned to succeed as an entrepreneur.

Based on my experience, I will now give you some initial advice for each of the four elements of the META framework applied to entrepreneurship.

MOTION (Move)

If you can, you should take the time to experiment with entrepreneurship before you even start your business. This is a knowledge accumulation period that will better fuel your Motion element.

If you are an active and motivated employee, try the intrapreneurship option, otherwise invest your energy in a business alongside your main job (side business). You will then have more data to know yourself better and clarify your reason for being an entrepreneur. If you are already an entrepreneur, you will want to take stock of your DNA in the context of your current business. During the course of an entrepreneurial adventure, the entrepreneur may end up doubting his or her motivation to act. The difficulties of creating and managing a company can create a prison in which its raison d’être deteriorates. If you are in this situation, you need to reactivate your Motion and keep it at a high level to increase your chances of success. You will become anti-fragile to sustain great effort over the long term, while remaining in harmony with yourself.

You will see that you need to find an obligation to act in order to succeed rather than relying on a simple motivation that varies over time.

 

ENGAGEMENT (Act)

The Engagement element lists the fundamental and universal actions that the entrepreneur must not miss, such as exposing the intrinsic value of the offer, generating alternative income through the multiple cash flow strategy (tactical offer, integration in a value chain) or seeking a positioning outside the competition (outcompete).

It is in this element that the ability to formalize the company’s know-how is used as a strategy to generate alternative income. It is then a question of building a tactical offer to support the core business.

Mastering digitalization, it is possible to deploy online training, remote consulting, book publishing or working groups (think-thank) in order to diversify the sources of revenue and educate the market on the offers.

TREASURY (Finance)

The Treasury element focuses on the financing strategy of the business. The main objective is to help the co-founders keep control of their company as long as possible. It is therefore not about abusing bank leverage or fundraising. On the contrary, the objective is to fund the activity as accurately as possible by focusing on organic growth.

To achieve this, the multiple cash flow strategy is coupled with break-even point management on the tactical offer.

The entrepreneur must also master the methods of valuing the company and the calculation of the shares to be granted to an investor for a capital outlay. For example, you must control the risk of overvaluing the company in one investment round, which could dilute the co-founders in the next round (down-round). The more you strengthen your Treasury, the better you will control your fate towards investors.

ASSURANCE (Protect)

The Assurance element is the foundation of legal protection. What good would it do you to create value with your company if a disagreement between the co-founders puts everything in question?

On the first day of business creation, all the project holders are in high spirits and the idea of defining rules for conflict resolution is not a priority. However, not addressing it early enough is a mistake that can be fatal. To counter this risk, the shareholders’ agreement is drafted at the same time as the company’s articles of association, i.e. on the day it is created. It is the guarantee of good governance. 

For example, it specifies what happens to the shares of a co-founder who decides to leave the project prematurely, the remuneration of the managers and its evolution according to the success of the activity, the rights to buy and sell shares, the conditions to trigger a total sale of the company, etc.

Clauses on intellectual property rights are also specified, e.g. for software created before the company’s legal incorporation or on non-competition undertakings.

Another legal document contains the conditions attached to the shares purchased by the investor. This is where the preferred shares are described with their specific rights, such as accretion in case of deterioration of the valuation between two investment rounds, acceleration of dividends or the exit value multiplier for the investor.

Assess your situation

MOTION: clarify your DNA

JOURNEY: Start your professional life with a trajectory that avoids the rat race, i.e. a situation of passive, dead-end wage-earning. If you are already in this situation, then you must adopt an active employee attitude to leave it gradually.

GROWTH: Manage growth according to the type of activity deployed, with or without co-founder and investor. Realize that growth is inevitable to sustain business and avoid the trap of a company that lacks value creation.

MONEY: Adopt the right attitude towards your personal money without confusing it with your professional assets.

INTRINSIC RISKS: Master the intrinsic risks of entrepreneurship and prioritize control of risk.

OBLIGATION: Find an obligation to act in the long term rather than a motivation that varies in the short term. It usually comes from the personal background that builds the entrepreneur’s character or intrapreneur’s character.

ENGAGEMENT: accumulate knowledge to act better

IDEA: Verify the adequacy of the offer with the market’s expectations by highlighting its intrinsic value, i.e. characteristics that will not change over time.

SECOND SOURCE OF REVENUE: Implement the multiple cash flow strategy with a tactical offer or an intelligent integration in a value chain. To achieve this, the formalization of the company’s know-how in writing allows the creation of an alternative source of income.

OUTCOMPETE THE COMPETITION: Implement a market positioning strategy that outcompetes in order to foster sustainable growth.

CO-FOUNDERS: Establish a long-term relationship of trust between the co-founders. Each project leader must play a part in the success of the activity (by having “skin in the game”).

SUPPORT: To be accompanied by an expert at the beginning of the activity, then on the long term with the creation of an advisory board.

SALES OF THE BUSINESS: Prepare the parameters to trigger a future transfer of the company (exit). The creator of a company cannot resign from his activity as an employee does. As soon as his business is launched, he must plan his exit to avoid being trapped.

DIGITALIZATION: Master digitization for scaling. See also the application of EMF to this domain: “META-DX-Manager”.

TREASURY: keep your financial independence

TYPES OF FINANCING: Understand and categorize different types of financing.

VALUING: Calculate the number of shares to be sold for an investment amount based on the company’s valuation. Control the risk of overvaluation of the company during investment rounds (down-risk).

FINANCING CYCLE: Synchronize fundraising with break-even points. Promote financial independence through complete control of the financing cycle. Avoid the trap of hypergrowth demanded by investors.

ASSURANCE: protect your assets

SHAREHOLDERS’ AGREEEMENT: Define the rules of governance between shareholders and investors. Define the rules for a future transfer of the company.

IP: address intellectual property risk.

SUBSCRIPTION OF SHARES: Control the risk of preferred shares

These four elements of the META framework help the aspiring or existing entrepreneur to strengthen their chances of success. You can also apply these elements in your working domain as an employee to become more active and being an intrapreneur. By applying the rules proposed in the four elements of the META framework, you will become a meta-entrepreneur or an active employee (intrapreneur). You can find a detailed description of these rules in the book “Meta-Entrepreneur”.

You will find in the book “Meta-entrepreneur” the story of my entrepreneurial journey with 11 dates that marked my adventure. you will also discover my obligation to act and the set of universal and fundamental rules (meta rules) for each of the four elements of the META Framework.

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