EntrepreneurshipHow to create successful new businesses

Launched November 2011 Updated January 2015 15 lectures
Prof. Scott Shane
A. Malachi Mixon III Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies, Case Western Reserve University, USA

Around the world, large numbers of people start businesses every day. Unfortunately, most of those businesses fail, costing the entrepreneurs that started them both time and money. Moreover, research shows that, on average, those that survive perform poorly.... read more

At the same time, running one’s own business is one of the most financially and personally rewarding jobs people can undertake – if they can do it successfully.

Like most activities, people who are successful at entrepreneurship have knowledge and expertise that others lack. Fortunately, this knowledge can be learned.

In fact, one of the reasons for the poor performance of start-ups is that anyone can start a business to do anything at any time. In most countries, there are more requirements to obtain a driver’s license than to start a business. The ease of firm formation means that no one is compelled to use any of the knowledge gained by academics and practitioners about how to improve the odds of new business success. The purpose of this series is to teach what is known about how to create new businesses with the highest odds of a positive financial outcome.

Because the series makes use of knowledge gathered from academic research as well as practitioner experience, the material needs to focus on a single goal that is common across all of the studies on which the frameworks and evidence are drawn. That goal is financial wealth creation. For that reason, this series is most appropriate for people interested in starting a for-profit business. While the information might prove interesting and informative to those seeking to start a social venture, the focus of the series is not on such entities.

This set of talks by leading experts is designed to explore the key topics that practitioners have identified are central to entrepreneurial success. For each topic – be it identifying a business opportunity or raising money – the expert will identify the major problems faced by entrepreneurs and the key actions that research and practitioner experience shows is the best solution to those problems. For example, people often start businesses without having identified a reason why the world needs their new business. Those businesses tend to fail. The “entrepreneurial opportunities” talk will offer a framework for identifying the nature of different business opportunities and the sources of those opportunities. The talk will also provide skills and techniques to help users improve their ability to identify valuable business opportunities.

In each presentation, the expert will provide a framework for understanding the problems and the solutions, and will provide real world examples to illustrate how the solution offered works to resolve the relevant problem. For many of the problems, there is no “one best” answer. Therefore, the experts will identify the key contingencies in the frameworks, illustrating the solutions that have been found to work best to resolve the problems under different conditions, whether those differences result from industry variation, firm size, firm growth, the attitudes of the entrepreneur, or anything else.

View the Talks (15 Lectures)