What are the key elements that transform a promising idea into truly breakthrough entrepreneurship?
Jon Burgstone, co-founder of Ariba-acquired SupplierMarket, and journalist Bill Murphy, Jr. suggest in their book Breakthrough Entrepreneurship that “the practical steps” to founding a successful venture “logically self-organize into seven components.” The first of those seven steps is to “find and fill an important unmet customer need.”
Burgstone and Murphy advise startups facing difficulties planning, launching, or running a venture to let the customer be the compass. Using Zipcar founder Robin Chase as an example from Breakthrough Entrepreneurship, the authors point out that Chase “focused on figuring out who her customers were and how her idea for a company could help satisfy their needs – even needs they didn’t realize they had.” Chase also employed other strategies common to successful entrepreneurs: adapting an idea from another market, drawing two or more ideas together, and identifying an underserved, niche market. After all, “Chase didn’t need to dream up the entire concept of a car-sharing service.” She only had to think about how people like her would benefit most from it.