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My New Year’s Resolution

Posted on Friday, Jan 1st 2010

I wish you all a happy 2010, dear readers!

I was reflecting back on 2009, and thinking what would be a good synthesis of the work I have been doing, and how I might succinctly summarize a New Year’s resolution for myself. Here is what I have come up with:

Through the Entrepreneur Journeys project, I have come to conclude that the most vulnerable phase in an entrepreneur’s life is the pre $1 million revenue stage. This is where numerous ventures fail. Once the $1 million revenue milestone is crossed, entrepreneurs find it easier to find additional customers, manage working capital, and access funding, whether it is credit or equity.

In my roundtables, the vast majority of entrepreneurs I work with are in this rather vulnerable pre $1 million revenue stage.

Thus, I have come to the conclusion that if I could help a million entrepreneurs globally reach $1 million in revenue (and beyond), that would be the foundation of a robust, distributed, and sustainable economic value creation that would add up to a trillion dollars in global GDP. It would also result in creating at least 10 million jobs around the world.

Through my efforts — blog, books, columns, roundtables — I am trying to develop a scalable entrepreneurship education system that entrepreneurs from every corner of the world can access. I am sure, in 2010, this work will gain further momentum.

But I do need your help in getting the word out that this resource base is available for entrepreneurs who wish to access it. Each of you — if you believe in this vision — can directly or indirectly influence, perhaps, another hundred entrepreneurs, and help them clear the all-important $1 million revenue hurdle. By using bootstrapping, crisp positioning, and laser-sharp focus, entrepreneurs can, each in their individual domains, build small businesses with solid foundations.

Beyond that, depending on how large the market opportunity is, they can scale to their potential, with or without external investment. Some will scale up to $10 million a year, some will scale to $50 million. And a small percentage of these venture may even scale to a billion dollars.

Most importantly, however, the base of a million small ventures needs to be robust and sustainable.

And in building that base, I invite your participation and leadership.

So, the synthesis of our mission is to build a scalable entrepreneurship education system that can support a trillion dollars of sustainable global GDP and 10 million jobs.

Note: This 2010 New Year’s Resolution has led us to the One Million by One Million (1M/1M) global initiative. For me, it has been one of the most meaningful resolutions ever. With 1M/1M, we now have a framework for Capitalism 2.0. Next up: Execution.

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Defintly sounds like a firm 2010 resolution and a firm vision.
I for one hope to contribute to it in time.

Boaz Friday, January 1, 2010 at 8:11 AM PT

This focus would really give a fillip to encouraging entrepreneurship. Please include fear of failure in your mentoring sessions and constantly emphasize that it is important for entrepreneurs to overcome this when starting a venture.

K. Venkatesh Friday, January 1, 2010 at 9:58 AM PT

2009 was a great year and I only see 2010 being even better! Happy new year Sramana and thank you again for all the opportunities.

Cindy Weng Friday, January 1, 2010 at 1:24 PM PT

Truly a wonderful vision and very worthy goal.

As you know, when everyone can see the vision clearly and understand how they can participate to make it come true, miracles can happen.

I see and understand the vision. I think we need more specific direction about how we can be an important part of the vision. When workers (at any level) feel they are making a difference, they contribute more. Give us the direction, make us feel an important part, and you will be surprised.

John Chancellor Friday, January 1, 2010 at 3:30 PM PT

John,

Good question. Let us brainstorm on that …

Here are some ideas:

– There are several critically important segments of people to address:
(1) bootstrapping entrepreneurs already engaged in a venture who need resources to succeed
(2) aspiring entrepreneurs looking to jump in
(3) people looking for work, but also considering entrepreneurship (youth unemployment is 25%+ right now in America)
(4) entrepreneurs who have been rejected by VCs and are feeling discouraged
(5) professors and students engaged in trying to bring university innovation to market
(6) and of course the angel/venture funded startups that are at least some distance on their way

– Each need the following elements to move forward:
(1) inspiration and encouragement
(2) specific strategy guidance, accessible role models and mentoring
(3) support groups and networks

– Here are the resources I have put together:
(1) For inspiration, encouragement, and also strategy guidance and mentoring – the Entrepreneur Journeys book series, which you can point people to.
(2) You can also bring people into this blog community and the roundtables for more direct, interactive and regular support and resources.
(3) Facebook and LinkedIn groups under the Entrepreneur Journeys brands for ongoing support groups.

As Venkatesh points out, there is a lot of inertia and fear in people who are considering entrepreneurship for the first time. In general, people tend to fear the unknown. I have specifically designed all these resources with an eye towards demystification and block-by-block engineering of entrepreneurial ventures.

If each of you can bring together a group of entrepreneurs who use the resources and engage in this block-by-block building process, I think, we can very easily spread the movement far and wide. So start by thinking of 10 people you may know who could use this framework, and engage them. Then 10 more. So on.

Meanwhile, I am also thinking of other types of resources that will help early stage entrepreneurs be successful.

Sramana Mitra Friday, January 1, 2010 at 5:11 PM PT

This is one of the best resolutions I have read and believe me there are a lot of them out there.

Derek Neighbors Friday, January 1, 2010 at 8:38 PM PT

Happy new year Sramana!.

‘Startups’ is like kid learning to walk, who always look for support during the intial stages, but one they are on their own, a kid would not require support and so can be an entreprise.

However, there are lot of different between kid learning to walk and managing a startup enterprise. Success rate of kid learning to walk could be 100%, whereas startup might be much lesser.

My best wishes on your intiate.

M.Guha Rajan Friday, January 1, 2010 at 8:45 PM PT

Happy new year, Sramana!

A wonderful new year resolution. But I was wondering whats in it for you and what is that you are seeking?

cheers…

Anand Friday, January 1, 2010 at 10:07 PM PT

I am seeking what all entrepreneurs who take on double bottomline ventures seek … doing something meaningful while also continuing to build my business, which, as you know, is a combination of consulting, media, publishing, and possibly may include online education later on.

Sramana Mitra Friday, January 1, 2010 at 10:15 PM PT

Happy New Year…
Really a mission/resolution of real value.

Sankarsan Bose Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 12:22 AM PT

Dear Sramana
Thanks for your wishes and my team and I heartily reciprocate the same.
Great thoughts as far your resolutions go. We are a 9 mth old co and currently exactly in the stage that you have mentioned-below the 1 million mark.
How could you help? How could your readers help?
What we do is visible on http://www.markinfra.com and I sincerely look forward to your thoughts
Kind regards
Snehal

Snehal Kulshreshtha Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 12:46 AM PT

A noble and a very pragmatic one. It has the additional benefit of giving a lot of us a vision to shoot for and align what we do to contribute in some way to this cause as well.

Happy New Year
Dorai

Dorai Thodla Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 8:24 AM PT

Snehal, To start with, you should pitch at one of my roundtables. We can discuss your business specifics and take it from there.

Sramana Mitra Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 10:02 AM PT

Wonderful vision and resolution. I write from India where some of the concerns expressed in the post and comments seem valid. We are a bunch of young entrepreneurs who started a business consulting house to work with small and medium businesses. We had great experiences helping small businesses solve issues and experience growth. A certain segment of this is the first time entrepreneurs – though still not in enough numbers!

We are all first time entrepreneurs and wished to create a center for entrepreneurship excellence and make available knowledge and local support networks to students and working professionals to consider entrepreneurship as an alternative path in life. With this vision of enabling a million minds over the next decade we have started this initiative called “ichiban Academy” – a center for entrepreneurship excellence. We want to provide “how-to” programs over weekends and during college days with the support of local entrepreneurs, bankers, Chartered Accountants, etc And make all this available at affordable prices to make more people taste the whole world of entrepreneurship.

I am an avid reader of your books and blogs. After reading your resolution and vision, we feel we share a part of it. We would love to be part of a larger ecosystem in achieving our dream. We put together a short blog piece on resolutions at our end on 31st Dec 09. We invite you to read it at http://ichibanthoughts.wordpress.com

We would love to be associated in any cause for entrepreneurship.

Raj Shankar Saturday, January 2, 2010 at 11:06 PM PT

Great way to think big! I just want to suggest doing a bit of research into what is already going on at educational institutions, as they may become valuable parts of a network. I know my alma mater, Beloit College, has an entrepreneurship program established by my former economics professor, Jerry Gustafson. Students participating in such programs could be ready following graduation to move into your program, or to assist your endeavors. Just an idea…

George Lenard Monday, January 4, 2010 at 1:16 PM PT

Yes, we’re already in touch with several educational institutions, and will be focusing more on this segment this year. Thanks, George.

Sramana Mitra Monday, January 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM PT

Sramana, this is a excellent goal. We should talk about how the Bootstrappers Breakfasts ( http://www.bootstrappersbreakfast.com ) can play a role.

I would also encourage you to reach out to

Eric Ries to compare notes with on his http://www.startuplessonslearned.com/2010/01/towards-new-entrepreneurship.html

George Gedron ( http://www.clarku.edu/gsom/faculty/facultybio.cfm?id=630&progid=20 ) who was editor in chief of Inc. magazine and now heads an entrepreneurship program at Clark University.

Sean Murphy Sunday, January 10, 2010 at 5:12 PM PT

[…] Mitra outlined an ambitious New Year’s Resolution for 2010 Through the Entrepreneur Journeys project, I have come to conclude that the most […]

SKMurphy » Federated Entrepreneurship 2 Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 3:23 AM PT

This new year resolution has led to http://1m1m.sramanamitra.com

sramana Monday, December 6, 2010 at 10:26 AM PT
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