First-Time Entrepreneurs Often Mistake Concept and Business

Author: Notre Dame ESTEEM

The “entrepreneurial method” is not very different from the scientific method. Think about it.

With a lab experiment, you hypothesize. If the hypothesis fails to be proven true, you are forced back to the drawing board to start again. The process can require numerous false starts before it leads to any verifiable or useful conclusion.

And yet, many new entrepreneurs expect that an idea will lead to an obvious business plan. This is explained by a natural human tendency, which the scientific method breaks down: assumptions.

In a new environment, we only notice the facts that are of primary importance to us. You walk through a living room and notice the furniture because you do not want to trip on it. On the other hand, you probably would not even notice if the television were unplugged, or if there were a leak staining the ceiling, which is to say nothing about the structural integrity.


In the same way, new entrepreneurs walk through a new idea and make many assumptions without considering crucial aspects of functionality, usability, convenience, etc. Each of these layers is added at various stages in the entrepreneurial process.


Mike Sellers illustrated the point when he posted an elegant way of understanding the different phases of development on Quora. He writes from his experience as an entrepreneur:


“An idea is not a design

A design is not a prototype

A prototype is not a program

A program is not a product

A product is not a business

A business is not profits

Profits are not an exit

And an exit is not happiness.”


Each stage is like an hypothesis, which must be designed and tested before moving on. Without this rigorous understanding in place, an entrepreneur is like a Medieval alchemist. Without a solid methodology, little progress can be made.

For the full posting quoted above, see “As first-time entrepreneurs, what part of the process are people often blind to?”