Entrepreneurship: Start-up Phase

40 Results

 

Built for Global Competition from the Start

Building a startup as a global business requires managers with skills and strategy much different from their predecessors of even a generation ago, says William R. Kerr. Closed for comment; 2 Comments posted.

How to Sink a Startup

Noam Wasserman, author of the recently released book "The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup," discusses ill-advised entrepreneurial behavior. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Closed for comment; 4 Comments posted.

HBS Cases: A Startup Takes On the Credit Ratings Giants

Moody's, Fitch, and Standard & Poor's dominated the credit ratings industry for decades. Could the recession weaken their hold? Professor Bo Becker discusses his case on super startup Kroll. Open for comment; 4 Comments posted.

When Founders Recruit Friends and Family as Investors

In his new book, The Founder's Dilemmas: Anticipating and Avoiding the Pitfalls That Can Sink a Startup, HBS Associate Professor Noam Wasserman tells readers how to anticipate, avoid, and, if necessary, recover from the landmines that can destroy a nascent company before it has the chance to thrive. In this excerpt, he discusses the pros and cons of recruiting friends and family members as investors. Open for comment; 6 Comments posted.

Clear and Present Danger: Planning and New Venture Survival Amid Political and Civil Violence

Strategy theory often takes for granted the role of state institutions in providing stable, predictable environments in which new firms are founded. Yet, many states around the world (such as Iraq, Sudan, South Sudan, Syria, and the Democratic Republic of Congo) lack political institutions of sufficient strength to ensure personal safety and public order, thereby creating environments where civil and political violence can ferment. This paper explores the impact of such violence on new venture processes. Results show that comprehensive planning was negatively correlated with venture survival in such environments. While there are implications for strategy theory, the study is also relevant to entrepreneurs and organizations promoting new venture planning in less-developed countries, particularly those experiencing political and civil turmoil. Currently, prospective entrepreneurs are taught the importance of business planning by both universities and non-governmental organizations that offer entrepreneurial training. But this study suggests that such training will have mixed effects on new venture survival, depending on the extent to which these entrepreneurs pursue ventures in violent and uncertain environments. In such contexts where governments fail to maintain public safety and order, these training programs may actually increase the likelihood of new venture failure. Read More

HBS Cases: Clocky, the Runaway Alarm Clock

There had not been an innovative breakthrough in alarm clock design since the snooze button until entrepreneur Gauri Nanda created Clocky. Her runaway hit has been the inspiration for several cases written by Professor Elie Ofek. Closed for comment; 8 Comments posted.

Spatial Determinants of Entrepreneurship in India

In South Asia, which regional traits encourage local entrepreneurship? While multiple studies have considered this question in advanced economies, especially for the manufacturing sector, there has been very little empirical evidence for developing countries like India. While India has historically had low entrepreneurship rates, this weakness is improving and will be an important stepping stone to further development. In this paper, the authors explore the spatial determinants of local entrepreneurship in India for both manufacturing and services. At the district level, their strongest evidence points to the roles that local education levels and physical infrastructure quality play in promoting entry. They also find evidence that strict labor regulations discourage formal sector entry, and better household banking environments encourage entry in the unorganized sector. The paper then evaluates how incumbent industrial structures of cities shape the type of entrants that emerge in local areas. Startups are more frequent for a city in industries that share common labor needs or have customer-supplier relationships with the city's incumbent businesses. This is among the first studies to quantify the spatial determinants of entrepreneurship in India. Moreover, it moves beyond manufacturing to consider services, which are very important for India's economic growth. Read More

Business Plan Contest: 15 Years of Building Better Entrepreneurs

Since 1997, Hundreds of student-entrepreneurs have tested their ideas at Harvard Business School's annual Business Plan Contest. Here is what they have learned about success, failure, and themselves. From the HBS Alumni Bulletin. Open for comment; 2 Comments posted.

Perfecting the Project Pitch

Entrepreneurs may be great innovators, but not necessarily great presenters. Associate Professor Thomas Steenburgh teaches them the fine art of product pitching. Open for comment; 8 Comments posted.

With a Little Help from My (Random) Friends: Success and Failure in Post-Business School Entrepreneurship

While starting a new company usually requires an independent spirit and self-sufficient nature, the decision to jump into entrepreneurship is often influenced by the acts of others. In this paper, Josh Lerner and Ulrike Malmendier explore how the entrepreneurial tendencies of peers affect not only one's decision to start a company, but whether that company will succeed. The researchers use data from a decade of first-year class sections at Harvard Business School. Read More

Teaching a ‘Lean Startup’ Strategy

Most startups fail because they waste too much time and money building the wrong product before realizing too late what the right product should have been, says HBS entrepreneurial management professor Thomas R. Eisenmann. In his new MBA course, Launching Technology Ventures, Eisenmann introduces students to the idea of the lean startup—a methodology that has proven successful for many young high-tech companies. Closed for comment; 56 Comments posted.

From SpinPop to SpinBrush: Entrepreneurial Lessons from John Osher

At a panel discussion on entrepreneurship, professor William A. Sahlman and several successful start-up veterans discussed the case of John Osher, father of Dr. John's Products, Ltd., and the wildly popular battery-powered toothbrush, the SpinBrush. Read More

Venture Capital’s Disconnect with Clean Tech

Clean-tech start-ups depend on patience and public policy to thrive—the Internet models for VC funding don't apply. That's why Harvard Business School professor Joseph Lassiter is making an unusual recommendation to his entrepreneurship students: Spend a few years serving time in a government job. Closed for comment; 18 Comments posted.

Modern Indian Art: The Birth of a Market

Before 1995, there was little market for twentieth-century Indian fine art. That's when artists, auction houses, critics, and others defined a new product category—modern Indian fine art—resulting in worldwide demand and soaring prices. Professor Mukti Khaire explains the dynamics behind new market categories. Read More

The Consequences of Entrepreneurial Finance: A Regression Discontinuity Analysis

What difference do angel investors make for the success and growth of new ventures? William R. Kerr and Josh Lerner of HBS and Antoinette Schoar of MIT provide fresh evidence to address this crucial question in entrepreneurial finance, quantifying the positive impact that angel investors make to the companies they fund. Angel investors as research subjects have received much less attention than venture capitalists, even though some estimates suggest that these investors are as significant a force for high-potential start-up investments as venture capitalists, and are even more significant as investors elsewhere. This study demonstrates the importance of angel investments to the success and survival of entrepreneurial firms. It also offers an empirical foothold for analyzing many other important questions in entrepreneurial finance. Read More

Financing Constraints and Entrepreneurship

Financing constraints are one of the biggest concerns impacting potential entrepreneurs around the world. Given the important role that entrepreneurship is believed to play in the process of economic growth, alleviating financing constraints for would-be entrepreneurs is also an important goal for policymakers worldwide. In this paper HBS professors William R. Kerr and Ramana Nanda review two major streams of research examining the relevance of financing constraints for entrepreneurship. They then introduce a framework that provides a unified perspective on these research streams, thereby highlighting some important areas for future research and policy analysis in entrepreneurial finance. Read More

Banking Deregulations, Financing Constraints and Firm Entry Size

How do financing constraints on new start-ups affect the initial size of these new firms? Since bank debt comprises the majority of U.S. firm borrowings, new ventures are especially sensitive to local bank conditions due to their limited options for external finance. Liberalization in the banking sector can thus have important effects on entrepreneurship in product markets. As HBS professors William Kerr and Ramana Nanda explain, the 1970s through the mid-1990s was a period of significant liberalization in the ability of banks to establish branches and to expand across state borders, either through new branches or through acquisitions. Using a database of annual employment data for every U.S. establishment from 1976 onward, Kerr and Nanda examine how U.S. branch banking deregulations impacted the entry size of new start-ups in the non-financial sector. This paper is closely related to their prior work examining how the deregulations impacted the rates of startup entry and exit in the non-financial sector. Read More

Buy Local? The Geography of Successful and Unsuccessful Venture Capital Expansion

From Silicon Valley to Herzliya, Israel, venture capital firms are concentrated in very few locations. More than half of the 1,000 venture capital offices listed in Pratt's Guide to Private Equity and Venture Capital Sources are located in just three metropolitan areas: San Francisco, Boston, and New York. More than 49 percent of the U.S.-based companies financed by venture capital firms are located in these three cities. This paper examines the location decisions of venture capital firms and the impact that venture capital firm geography has on investments and outcomes. Findings are informative both to researchers in economic geography and to policymakers who seek to attract venture capital. Read More

Creative Entrepreneurship in a Downturn

Entrepreneurs, take heart. True, the global economic malaise removes opportunities and precious resources—but also adds them in new and interesting ways, argues HBS senior lecturer Bhaskar Chakravorti. In this Q&A he identifies reasons for optimism, and shows how entrepreneurs can think differently about bad news. Read More

When Does Domestic Saving Matter for Economic Growth?

The researchers begin with a simply stated question: Can a country grow faster by saving more? Long-run growth theories imply that a country can grow faster by investing more in human or physical capital or in R&D, but that a country with access to international capital markets cannot grow faster by saving more. Domestic saving is therefore not considered an important ingredient in the growth process because investment can be financed by foreign saving. From the point of view of standard growth theory, the positive cross-country correlation between saving and growth that many commentators have noted appears puzzling. HBS professor Diego Comin and colleagues develop a theory of local saving and growth in an open economy with domestic and foreign investors. Read More

Local Industrial Conditions and Entrepreneurship: How Much of the Spatial Distribution Can We Explain?

Some places, like Silicon Valley, seem almost magically entrepreneurial with a new start-up on every street corner. Other areas, like declining cities of the Rust Belt, appear equally starved of whatever local attributes make entrepreneurship more likely. Many academics, policymakers, and business leaders stress the importance of local conditions for explaining spatial differences in entrepreneurship and economic development. This paper uses data from the U.S. Census Bureau to characterize these entry relationships more precisely within the manufacturing sector. Read More

Updating a Classic: Writing a Great Business Plan

Harvard Business School professor William A. Sahlman's article on how to write a great business plan is a Harvard Business Review classic, and has just been reissued in book form. We asked Sahlman what he would change if he wrote the article, now a decade old, today. Read More

Sharpening Your Skills: Starting a Business

Thinking about starting your own business? Read our collection of articles on legal issues, managing resources, product development, and keeping owner control. Read More

The Speed of New Ideas: Trust, Institutions and the Diffusion of New Products

Does trust confer competitive advantage in terms of time, money, and productivity? Previous research indicates that it does. This study shifts perspective slightly and asks whether trust can also act as a barrier to entry. In other words, are trusted suppliers protected from competition if buyers are reluctant to try new products and services offered by other suppliers? Oberholzer-Gee and Calanog explored the link between levels of trust and the decision to adopt a new product using a field experiment on the diffusion of an innovative floor drain for the plumbing market. Read More

Banking Deregulation, Financing Constraints and Entrepreneurship

What effect does an increase in banking competition have on the entry of start-ups? In particular, does an increase in banking competition have a differential effect on the entry of start-ups relative to the opening of new establishments by existing firms? The U.S. branch banking deregulations provide a useful laboratory for studying how banking competition affects small businesses. Prior to 1970, all but twelve states had stringent restrictions on the ability of banks to open new branches or to acquire the branches of other banks within the state; beginning in the 1970s and until 1994, all but two states removed these restrictions. In this research, Kerr and Nanda studied the entry of newly incorporated businesses between 1976 and 1999 using detailed data collected by the U.S. Census Bureau. Their findings matter for understanding how reforms that affect the financing environment may improve the real economy through the reallocation of resources in the non-financial sectors. Read More

Turning High Potential into Real Reward

Transforming high-potential ventures into high-performance ventures, says professor Joseph Lassiter, depends on combining what, how, and who you know. From New Business. Read More

How Can Start Ups Grow?

For new ventures a lack of resources makes growth difficult to come by—just ask those nine out of ten fledgling firms that fail. Professor Mukti Khaire says the key may be in acquiring intangible resources such as legitimacy, status, and reputation. Read More

What Developing-World Companies Teach Us About Innovation

A mini case study by professor Donald N. Sull and coauthors on how three businesses in developing countries overcome a lack of resources to succeed. From Strategy & Innovation. Read More

Expensing Options Won’t Hurt High Tech

Will expensing stock options harm the competitiveness of start-ups? Not likely, say Zvi Bodie, Robert S. Kaplan, and Robert C. Merton in this Harvard Business Review excerpt. Read More

Are Crummy Products Your Next Growth Opportunity?

Clayton M. Christensen, author of The Innovator’s Dilemma, talks about his upcoming follow-on book on creating sustainable new-growth businesses. His conclusions may surprise you. Read More

Six Keys to Building New Markets by Unleashing Disruptive Innovation

Managers know they need growth to survive—but innovation isn't easy. In this Harvard Management Update article, HBS professor Clayton Christensen and co-authors detail the six keys to creating new-growth businesses. Read More

Top Ten Legal Mistakes Made by Entrepreneurs

The life of a startup can be precarious, a wrong turn disastrous. Harvard Business School professor Constance Bagley discusses the most frequent legal flops made by entrepreneurs, everything from hiring the wrong lawyer to puffing up the business plan. Read More

Sam Walton: Great From the Start

Sam Walton’s retailing career began September 1, 1945, in Newport, Arkansas. He paid a princely $25,000 to Butler Brothers to franchise a 5,000-square-foot Ben Franklin’s variety store. In this excerpt from Giants of Enterprise: Seven Business Innovators and the Empires They Built, author and HBS professor Richard S. Tedlow depicts the huge success Walton made of his first store—against all odds. The book is scheduled for publication later this year by HarperBusiness. Excerpted with permission of the author. Read More

Who Wants to Be an Entrepreneur? [Part II]

People are buzzing about two classes at HBS that showcase the School's new approach to teaching management. Hear from the instructors who lead them and alumni who took the plunge. John S. Rosenberg takes you there in this article from Harvard Magazine. Part two. Read More

Want to Be an Entrepreneur? [Part I]

Visit two classes that showcase HBS's new approach to teaching management, and hear from alumni who took the plunge. John S. Rosenberg sorts it all out in this article from Harvard Magazine. Part one of a two-part series. Read More

Entrepreneurship in Europe

Can the entrepreneurial spirit that's thrived in the U.S. and flourished amid the bloom of the dot.com economy make it in Europe and, if so, what will it take? Read More

Market Makers Bid for Success

Two CEOs at the forefront of the transformation in the way businesses buy and sell goods—Scott Randall of FairMarket (HBS MBA '87) and Glen Meakem of FreeMarkets (HBS MBA '91—spoke with Professor Bill Sahlman recently about their paths to new business models and what they've learned along the way. Read More