What Gate One consultants learn through researching, testing and launching successful (and unsuccessful) start-ups

Entrepreneurs do more than start businesses. Entrepreneurs see opportunities everywhere to create, build and grow. Whether they’re launching a new business or running a global conglomerate or a public service, they’re innovators and risk takers who are not satisfied with the status quo. What’s more, they’re comfortable embracing challenges.

You don’t need to look far to see examples of entrepreneurial businesses that take innovative ideas, better them and keep on innovating. Think Tinder, Airbnb and Uber.

So what stops corporate organisations from being entrepreneurial? More often than not it’s a combination of a few things. A culture where failure isn’t an option. Incentives that discourage entrapreneurialism. A closed mindset to innovation within the team. And the aversion to risk.

But companies that fail to innovate and move with the times face uncertain futures. Think Blockbusters, Woolworths and Blackberry.

The Gate One Incubator

With this in mind, Gate One has an internal ‘Incubator’. Here we research, test and launch real business ideas. The premise of the Incubator is simple. To advise leaders, we want our consultants to be familiar with being them.

Through experiencing real-life start-up situations, we are true intrapreneurs, learning what it means to take risks and drive innovation. Moreover, we learn how to resolve specific issues such as timing, barriers to entry, productivity issues and raising capital. We also understand how it feels to fail.

Consequently, through practising what we preach we’ve learnt how entrepreneurs in micro-businesses through to multinational corporations take advantage of new opportunities, manage the challenges involved with product development or service delivery and assess the feasibility of ideas and creative thinking…and more.

The crowdfunding attempt

One of our recent ideas involved research into the market for crowdfunding. We heard some common complaints about the lack of support small businesses were getting from crowdfunding platforms, making it more of a struggle to raise funds. The business owners weren’t appreciating the importance of engaging with their own networks before launching their projects.

To understand why so many great ideas struggle to get to market, we tested some of the problems associated with crowdfunding. We found that when it comes to financing projects, in today’s digital world a human approach and old-school networking still count for a lot. People invest in people as much as they invest in ideas.

Incubator insight

The lessons we learnt from this particular Incubator investigation went beyond what it feels like to hit a dead end. The secret behind attracting supporters of your ideas is building a fan base and engaging with it openly and regularly. The same goes for any entrepreneur concerned with creating, building and growing their business. Develop the skills needed to communicate your business stories. Better still, show your network what your potential market offers. And why they should choose to support you over others.

Of course, if you are a knowledge seeking and determined entrepreneur, you can figure all this out by yourself. But if you would like to know more about how Gate One’s Incubator develops and expands the capabilities of our team of consultants to support your business transformation efforts, please contact me, Mike Goulden, Principal and Head of the Gate One Incubator, or Mark Warren, Finance and Operations Director.

By Simon Michel, Manager