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Lessons Learnt from Entrepreneurship

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Lessons Learnt from Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship is a complicated lesson and is a process of turning dreams into reality. How to start a business and be successful is a crucial question for all founders. Regardless of how much experience one has, the internal and external factors are different for each attempt. Cheng Wu has founded four start-ups with successful IPOs or mergers. With his rich entrepreneurship experience, he would like to share some fundamental values and factors for evaluation to start a new business. 

Cheng Wu, GP of Taiwania Capital Tech Fund

Entrepreneurship is coded in the genes of Taiwanese people. In the early days, there were so many small and medium-sized enterprises that almost two-thirds of the people on the street were business owners. However, after Cheng got his master’s degree from Indiana University in 1977, his goal was to work for a large company until he retired. Entrepreneurship was not part of his plan. By 1991, he had worked at Prime Computer for 10 years as a senior R&D manager. With the decline of the company’s business, however, entrepreneurship became his new career path.

Nevertheless, Cheng’s first entrepreneurship attempt was a failure. 

He had thought that with his experience in the computer industry in the US, fundraising should not have been a problem. The reality proved him wrong. Three months into his first entrepreneurship attempt, it dawned on him that his experience in the corporate world did not mean that he was ready to go out on his own. Therefore, he found a smaller company where he could learn all the operations involved in running a company from scratch. With this experience, he made his second attempt at starting a business in 1995, and the four subsequent attempts all resulted in successful IPOs or mergers. Entrepreneurship is a process of turning dreams into reality. Regardless of how much experience one has, the internal and external factors are different for each attempt. With that said, however, he would like to share some fundamental values and factors for evaluation with you all.

Entrepreneurship is about finding “unmet needs” in the industry. It might not be a brand new idea or technology, but rather an improvement or added value for existing technologies. The key points to observe are as follows: 

  1. Whether disruptive technologies have been made available.
  2. Major market transformations, such as the pandemic and electric vehicles.
  3. Major government policy changes, including the proportion adjustment of the energy policy, subsidies for specific industries, etc.

Those who are interested in starting a business must develop keen observation skills. Reading journals and papers allows people to learn about the latest technological breakthroughs. In addition, they must score high on execution. Since entrepreneurship is the fruit of “being unsatisfied with the status quo,” your ideas are far from being unique or exclusive. It comes down to who can make ideas a reality first! The failures or setbacks encountered in the process are all opportunities for the entrepreneurial team to adjust their strategies and reposition the company. It is imperative to grasp each opportunity and make timely responses.

The company is like the founder’s child, needing assistance from different professionals throughout the growth stages. From angel investors at the beginning, investors at different stages of development to the company team, they are the most reliable partners for the entrepreneur. The team members have to have a diverse and complementary profile, and the entrepreneur must offer enough incentive to retain talents, such as generous stock options. After all, success is difficult at best without the dedication of all team members.

Technology is the vital asset of entrepreneurs, but the company development does not depend solely on technology. Generally speaking, a company goes through three stages of development, including product development, market expansion, and marketing. Product positioning, market demand, and marketing strategies must be taken into consideration for the product development plan. Each stage of the evolution requires the introduction of teams with different expertise. The founder must constantly reflect on his/her own abilities and decide whether he/she has the grace to accept someone more competent as the CEO. The founder must make decisions based on “the best course of action for the company” rather than selfishness.

Entrepreneurship is a complicated lesson that requires constant learning, and success or failure at the moment does not represent the final result. If entrepreneurship is difficult, maintaining the achievements is even more challenging. If you want to start your own business, you must stick to your original intention with plenty of perseverance and confidence. Eventually, success shall be yours!



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