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'The Ways We Work': Disciplined Entrepreneurship

The smartest entrepreneurs have a rock-solid plan as well as a compelling narrative
Wiley: Disciplined Entrepreneurship

Disciplined Entrepreneurship

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Welcome to the latest edition of our ongoing series: The Ways We Work.

In this posting we are going to mix it up a bit: by that we mean the formula. In the past our The Ways We Work postings have featured persons talking about their day jobs. In our latest edition, we take a close look at a seminal strategy for building a successful startup - namely, Bill Aulet's latest book, "Disciplined Entrepreneurship."

It is a familiar mantra that is echoed by surveys established by many well-respected companies worldwide: In the foreseeable future, the main driver for economic growth around the globe will come from entrepreneurs who successfully bring their products to market - thus creating a trickle-down effect of new jobs and increased revenue that eventually 'lifts all boats' for a nation's economy. But getting from here to there - especially in areas that are basically considered new frontiers - can be a herculean set of challenges for even the most seasoned of entrepreneurs.

The journey to get from that ground zero of promise to sustainable success is the subject of Disciplined Entrepreneurship. Authored by the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship's Managing Director Bill Aulet, the book offers twenty-four steps that are designed to dramatically increase the likelihood that a start-up will succeed. Taken from the framework taught to students in its Entrepreneurship Development Program, these steps bring a rigor to start-up education that Aulet says is often lacking from conventional business training.

We like this disciplined approach. While the news media is rife with stories about start-up successes, most reek with the smell of 'gee whiz', woefully lacking in any instructive takeaways about how these entrepreneurs designed the strategies that helped them not only attract financing but also retain the customers that sustain their success. It would be very interesting to compare how these businesses would fare had they followed Aulet's twenty-four steps. Would they have avoided making costly mistakes at the front end? Would they have recognized any more opportunities by adhering to such a rigorous approach?

One thing we know for sure is that the world of 'start-up building' is inhabited by entrepreneurs who have very strong feelings about how to grow a business. We had the opportunity to witness this fact first hand last week at MIT's IMPACT forum held in San Francisco at the Yerba Buena Center. Here Bill Aulet fielded questions from an eclectic audience of MIT graduates, many of whom have gone on to highly successful ventures in the public and private sectors. At one point, an audience member pointedly suggested to Aulet that retaining a powerful narrative is essential to a start-up's eventual success. Aulet quickly responded that while a compelling story is essential to a company's business, it is only one of the factors that tilts the dial in favor of its eventual success.

Read his compelling book to find out more.

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Disciplined Entrepreneurship

Author: Bill Aulet

Publisher: Wiley, 2013, ISBN 978-1-118-69228-8, 265 pages

Website: Disciplined Entrepreneurship

Stay tuned! In the next installment of our "Connecting the Dots" series we will report on MIT IMPACT's keynote address given by Mitch Kapor. founder of Lotus Development and co-chair of Oakland-based Kapor Center for Social Impact.