EAE’s commitment to entrepreneurs permeates throughout its classes and complementary activities. This is reinforced thanks to the School’s Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, which brings together some of the leading experts in the field. With this in mind, the Barcelona Campus held a workshop that gave students a first-hand insight into the key factors when embarking on an entrepreneurial venture nowadays,
Led by Manuel Juanes, the Co-Founder, COO at Smartmee and lecturer on EAE’s Master in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, the session shared some of the tools required to be responsible with ourselves when launching an entrepreneurial project. “We tend to fall in love with our idea, which is not feasible. We have to be more objective”. Moreover, he also recommended controlling risk as much as possible, planning and deciding that, if things are not working within a set amount of time, it is better to close it down.
According to the lecturer, what works as a business indicator is the Minimum Viable Product (MVP): “the fastest and cheapest that you can build it and get it to customers quickly, enabling is to observe and measure results, and make our product something that customers want, need and feel inclined to buy”. In this case, he used the example of the creator of Dropbox, Drew Houston, who launched a home-made video of his application with the first functions that he used. Within a week, he received 75,000 orders for a product that was not yet finished. Manuel Juanes also gave some tips with respect to metrics: “measure what matters. Metrics are also people. Measure the macro aspect and focus on causal relationships”.
Not only do entrepreneurs have to be responsible towards themselves but also towards their customers. “We have to be fully focused on the customer, as they are the basis of the viability of our business”. Therefore, he emphasized that it is important to gain their loyalty, accompany them, refrain from deceiving them and being completely transparent with them. In addition, you have to reward the trust they place in you and, of course, offer them emotional experiences. The EAE lecturer advised the students, rather than a business plan, it is better to have a story to tell.
Entrepreneurs have to be responsible to the partners, with whom it is essential that you build a relationship of trust “and they should complement you and share your objectives and priorities”. Manuel Juanes emphasized the need to sign a good partners’ agreement, “which is no more than terms agreed between the partners for the purpose of regulating the internal relations that govern the company, specifying various aspects about how the company operates”. In short, it is a private document that all the partners sign that governs the relations between them.
As well as responsibility between partners, we have to be responsible towards the team. “It is a matter of acquiring talent, attitude and passion; providing the tools for them to develop as professionals and people; remunerating them fairly; involving the team in the organization’s plan, establishing flexible timetables, etc.”. At that point, the Co-Founder of Smartmee explained the culture map, stressing that “without a culture, there is no company”.
In this workshop held at EAE, there was also a lot of discussion about how this responsibility must extend to investors as well, as they have placed their trust in the project and put their funds into it. “Investors are a lesser evil, but they are nevertheless agents who are striving to generate profits for their business, so they must be kept informed and offered transparency, with the pledges made to them fulfilled” explained Manuel, adding that “it is useful to capitalize on their knowledge, experience and network of contacts”. In this respect, the business development expert went on to say that investors value the fact that the entrepreneur offers them a good exit strategy from the company, always showing them a balance sheet, profit and loss statement, cashflow statement and a break-even point.
To bring the workshop to a close, Manuel extended the concept of the entrepreneur’s responsibility to encompass society and even the planet “because it is an ethical act that results from of awareness of belonging”. This aspect enhances the positive image that consumers and customers have, as well as being linked to improved financial performance.