I wasn’t a desperate entrepreneur, and that’s why I failed

desperate entrepreneur

By Mark Schaefer

When I was earning my MBA, my class had great opportunity to learn first-hand from the CEO of Verifone. He described why “intrapreneurs” don’t work:

“If you have a startup idea, the intrapreneur who works 9-5 in a corporate office with a salary and benefits will always lose to an entrepreneur who has bet it all and is bootstrapping their way to survive.”

To address this problem, he set up a separate off-site work space for employees who wanted to start their own companies. He acted as their financier, but they were cut off from the company. They had no salary, no benefits, no job to come back to. To survive, they had to make their project work before the investment money ran out.

In short, he was improving the chance of new business success by creating desperation.

Learning my lesson

This was a powerful lesson I’ve observed throughout my career. I’ve seen amazing things happen when people are out of money, out of time, and out of a job!

I can confidently say that a lack of desperation was also the source of my biggest business failure. It’s a story I tell in the latest episode of The Marketing Companion. I had a great business idea and put a ton of money into it … but a lack of desperation made me lazy in the face of selling obstacles.

If you’re fans of the podcast, you’re in for a treat as Tom Webster and I recount our biggest marketing successes and failures. It’s a very personal show with some solid business lessons.

I know you’ll enjoy it and you can hear it right here:

Click on this link to listen to Episode 111

Other ways to enjoy our podcast

Please support our extraordinary sponsors. Our content is free because of their generosity.

Many thanks to our friend Scott Monty for the awesome show intro. Be sure to check out his amazing newsletter The Full Monty and his new podcast available here: fullmontyshow.com.

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Illustration courtesy Flickr CC and Bernard Goldbach

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