Entrepreneurial Purpose #53 #cong22
I’ve had the privilege of working with many entrepreneurs. Here’s what I have found is the purpose that drives them to achieve.
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- Entrepreneurs demonstrate an incredibly strong sense of purpose.
- There is some commonality to where they find their purpose.
About Martin Murray:
I am a Business Consultant working with startup enterprises, helping them to accelerate the commercialisation of their business ideas. I’m also an engineer, mathematician, sea-swimmer, bread baker and dog walker.
Contacting Martin Murray:
You can reach Martin by email
By Martin Murray
For the last 6 years I have had the privilege of working with a couple of hundred startup enterprises and Founders as mentor, advisor and pathfinder. The innovators with whom I have worked have created new products and services, acquired investment, created employment, generated wealth and, in some cases, made the world a better, more friendly, more user-friendly, safer and more fun place to be.
Phenomenally wealthy and (financially) successful people are often heard to say that “money was never the motivator”. I don’t know too many of this cohort of people, but I can say that the innovators with whom I have worked are driven by a very different purpose. For the Founder setting out on the entrepreneurial journey, the pathway ahead is usually unclear, unmapped, foggy and strewn with obstacles. So much so, that the possibility of substantial personal wealth creation is far too distant a prospect to provide the turbo-charged motivation required every day to take a business from concept to commercialisation.
Instead, the entrepreneurial purpose that I observe most frequently is the desire to fix something that is broken – the unmet human need, the product or service that is clearly sub-optimal, the frustrating bureaucracy for which there is a clear, but as yet unimplemented, technological fix, the critical pain point that can be resolved. These are the motivators that deliver purpose for many of the Founders with whom I have worked. In practice this translates into saving the planet using vertical farming, delivering confidence to post-partum women via better designed athleisure wear, soothing infants’ sore throats with a lollipop that will never cause choking, creating great learning experiences through the combination of original pedagogical research and killer UX design, reinventing how you learn to drive for the tik-tok generation, replacing paper receipts with an electronic receipt that can deliver discounts for the consumer, assessing the health of a horse or other animal using microchip and artificial intelligence technology (as opposed to inserting instruments into the animal’s anus), placing the dream of becoming a commercial airline pilot within the reach of many more people, using an app to skip the queue to purchase beer at a music festival, using another app to support alcohol consumption reduction for those with addiction issues, supporting the elderly and infirm to live independently in the home, facilitating twenty-something year olds to start a pension, getting the best deal on my coffee purchases, reducing food waste in hotel kitchens, the list goes on…
What each of these innovations have in common is that, in the beginning, it is never clear that it can be successfully commercialised. What is clear, and something I have the joy of observing every day, is a Founder with a sense of purpose that drives them forward to bring the innovation from concept to prototype to Minimum Viable Product, to launch and first paying customer and, with some luck, to commercial rollout.
There are other very human motivations that deliver purpose for entrepreneurs. These include the desire to show the world the unique intelligence, skillset and experience that only this Founder can be bring to bear on a project, the increasing need to break free from the straitjacket of corporate uniformity and the hope to be able to leave a positive mark on the world.