Opportunities for Entrepreneurs

Never in history has there been so many opportunities for entrepreneurs to become wealthy beyond their wildest dreams. Mark Zuckerberg, a college dropout, is twenty-six years old and is worth $13.5 billion. Dustin Moskovitz, a former roommate of Zuckerberg’s, is eight days younger than Mark and is worth $2.7 billion. The third employee of Face-book, Dustin left early to start a software company. Over in Japan, another entrepreneur, Yoshikazu Tanaka, is thirty-four years old and is worth $2.2 billion.

All over the world, the stories are the same. If you want to become really wealthy, forget the traditional path of getting an entry-level job at General Motors, General Electric, or General Dynamics and working your way up from the bottom. The way to become really wealthy is to start at the top and not at the bottom. Be an entrepreneur and not an employee. That’s the good news. The bad news is that more than 90 percent of entrepreneurs never become truly successful. They struggle for years and never seem to break out of the pack.

Why is this so? Perhaps it’s because entrepreneurs are different. There’s an old saying: You can always tell an entrepreneur, but you can’t tell them much. To be an entrepreneur and start a company, you need a thick skin. You need to be able to shrug off advice like, You’re going to start a WHAT?

Years ago, I worked with an entrepreneur with zero experience in publishing who started a publishing company. Yet in the five or six consulting assignments I conducted with this company, the entrepreneur took none of my advice. I learned from this experience. You don’t tell an entrepreneur, you sell an entrepreneur. You have to explain the marketing principles behind the advice, with a heavy emphasis on case histories and analogies. Which is exactly what Catherine Kaputa has done with her book. She has isolated the principles most relevant to entrepreneurs and then presented them in an organized way with a liberal use of relevant case histories. The most important aspect is that these principles are difficult to learn and difficult to put into practice because they are counterintuitive. That’s why they are so helpful. Everything about marketing is illogical, including Catherine Kaputa’s shocking first principle of entrepreneurship: "Forget the big idea, go for a small idea."

Imagine that. Small is better than big. When Mark Zuckerberg started Facebook, he didn’t try to sign everybody up. He tried to sign up only students at Harvard, one of the smaller colleges in the country. His success at Harvard was the solid foundation for what later became the world’s largest social media site. I have known Catherine Kaputa for three decades. As a matter of fact, we worked together when I ran an advertising agency in New York City. A successful entrepreneur herself, Catherine has assembled an awesome array of principles that are bound to be of enormous help to anyone who has the inner fire to become an entrepreneur. That may be you.

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