I really enjoyed reading the posts in this form Maria's post on 3 secret weapons reminded me of a model of business start up: The MAIR Model. I first came across this when doing and MSc in Entrepreneurship at Stirling University in 1995, and have used it quite a lot since for training both advisors and entrepreneurs. Since then, it seems to have come in and out of fashion a bit, but I like it for its logical simplicity and the fact that it is not linear (ie step one, step two, step 3...)
The basic idea is that you explore four 'interactive variables': Motivation, Abilities, Ideas and Resources. Clearly, each has a critical role to play in its own right:
Motivation: I guess that's what separates thinkers and dreamers for actors and doers... The willingness to really go out and work hard, often under conditions of little short term reward and lots of uncertainty, seems to be one of the hallmarks of successful entrepreneurs.
Abilities: We could start a whole separate thread on this - what are the key abilities that make a successful entrepreneur - no doubt a mix of both hard and soft skills.
Ideas: Arguably, these need to be clearly rooted in a market need to be valid, although, there are some business that seem to be product-led rather than market-led... fashion, any Apple product, the Rubik's cube...
Resources: Entrepreneurs are kind of hamstrung until they get resources behind them. I guess we automatically think of cash here, but skills, knowledge and contacts can make a lot of difference to.
...but you also need to think about how these factors interact - a good idea is of limited value, without the motivation and resources to turn it into a business and this is where the final components of the MAIR model come into play: Planning and Organisation! Arguably, this is the real job of the entrepreneur. Bringing all the factors together to create something that didn't exist before, and may just change the world!
I hope you find this model interesting or useful. I'd be glad to hear other views and perspectives on this. I know some people think entrepreneurs are a little like anarchists and not inclined to follow the rules... I guess I can see that too!
Mark A Taylor