ESCP Europe Business School

CMC Blog

Posted by Aris Theophilakis at 6:03 - 0 Comments

The entrepreneurship journey - What you'll need to succeed

One thing led to another; or rather, many things led to one thing: a Delaware-registered company. After months with endless meetings, discussions and presentations, countless Skype sessions and iterations, and hundreds of (in) formal talks with all kinds of experts, here we are: one company and four co-founders.

Here are seven of our takeaways thus far:



1. Align your motivations

Sounds basic, doesn't it? I mean, who isn't super motivated and wants success? But how do you define success? And have you asked yourself what really motivates you? Is it money, recognition, or a grand vision like making the world a better place? All great engines, but they count for very different focus points and therefore result in different consequences as you go along. As your team will surely encounter difficulties, you better make sure you have a coordinated fist and not a set of disparate freewheeling fingers - if that metaphor makes sense.  

2. You can't go it alone

Great innovations no longer come from lone geniuses, but dedicated teams, empowered and with a clear sense of direction. Collective greatness and complementary skill sets beat individual geniuses flat out, again meaning culture is paramount. I'm not a genius, but my competences, experience, motivation, and (Scandinavian) cultural behaviour seem to be a good fit with the rest of my co-founders. At least, so far...

3. You never really make it

Having started ventures and companies before, we all know there is never a finishing line. No matter how great your original idea, it's just a starting point. There are only lap times and new goals on the horizon. But more frustratingly, there are continuous hurdles and one problem more insurmountable than any other. Oz calls this the "sinusoidal wave of start-up life", where there's a predictable pattern of highs and lows, except you never know where the next down will come from. But be sure, it's a pretty deep one.

4. It's not magic. It's not even art…

Entrepreneurship is the new black. But enough already of the "How I Made It" books and LinkedIn fodder, innovation seminars, start-up hackathons, incumasturbators, and lush corporate accelerators. To a large degree, entrepreneurship is a muscle that needs to be exercised and fine-tuned every day. You know, like work. It's not magic, science or fine art. It's more like making food: many ingredients, a few good recipes, and lots of practice. But no matter how much you practise you can still screw up or be average. Most do. We hope we're not.

5. Want an interesting life? Get an interesting life!

An interesting job doesn't equal an interesting life. And entrepreneurship is a night-and-day endeavour. So figure out if you want to be interested or interesting. Those who are aiming for a fulfilling job quickly find the entrepreneurship work-life balance is more like a work-work balance.

6. You're not too old

Silicon Valley seems to be full of brilliant 23-year-old college dropouts. Not true. Gen Y is less likely to be entrepreneurial than Gen X, according to research. And the average successful entrepreneur (that has created value, according to some other research) is 58-years-old! This not only makes us feel really young, but it indicates that experience still has some value in whatever "new" economy we're living in.

7. See you in court. Or just over coffee with a lawyer

It's a mission. It's a calling. It's both fun and frustrating. But it's also a legal process, with lots of paper work to go with it. With paragraph upon paragraph of incomprehensible language and fine print. Contracts, NDAs, patent applications, and what have you. It takes a lot of time, money and energy. And paper. Lots of paper. Back and forth. And back again. This time with the right signature if you don't mind, sir!

Caption: And then there were three, soon to be four.


Hospital on Mobile Entrepreneurs Dr Baris Yildiz, Ozcan Cilkmaz, and Aris Theophilakis at a workshop last Christmas in Atlanta.

Aris Theophilakis is also the founder and CEO of Futatsu Industries, a hybrid marketing agency based in Oslo, Norway and current participant of the innovative Executive Master in Marketing and Creativity. Aris and Ozcan are Alums of the Executive MBA (Class of 2016)

Impressed by Aris' journey and how he tackles the challenges that entrepreneurs must overcome to be successful? Check out how ESCP Europe and its Marketing & Creativity programmes can equip you with the tools you need in any challenge!

Related Articles

7 things I Learned While Pretending To Be an Entrepreneur in Silicon Valley

Useful links:

Online Q&A for Marketing programmes: 23 May 2018
MSc in Marketing & Creativity

Executive Master in Marketing & Creativity

Latest comments

There are no comments yet. Be the first to comment this post!


Get Social & Share


Latest from CMC Blog
Most active posts
How to Build a Billion Dollar App - 7 Comments
Posted by Creativity Marketing Centre @Creativitymktg
at 24/06/2015 7:49
Who's creative, who's not? - 3 Comments
Posted by Benjamin Voyer
at 09/11/2012 10:00
‘Growth hacking’, the new marketing trend in startups - 3 Comments
Posted by Vishal Kapadia - @vishkap
at 05/11/2012 15:10
The Vicious Spiral of Consumer Expectations of Creative Brands - 2 Comments
Posted by Benjamin Voyer
at 07/01/2013 12:45
Are retail stores dinosaurs? - 1 Comments
Posted by Minas Kastanakis
at 15/03/2013 10:37
Kristine de Valck, dry chicken, and paintball - 1 Comments
Posted by Tom van Laer - @tvanlaer
at 05/03/2013 16:18
Shakespeare was wrong - 1 Comments
Posted by Peter Stephenson-Wright
at 12/02/2013 13:50
How should companies respond to stories in social media? - 1 Comments
Posted by Tom van Laer - @tvanlaer
at 19/11/2012 11:50
Value as process - 1 Comments
Posted by Vlad Glaveanu
at 16/11/2012 11:31
Latest posts
What is the Secret of Building a Disruptive App? Here’s What You Need to Know
Posted by Creativity Marketing Centre @Creativitymktg
at 08/07/2019 10:24
Everything You Know About AI Is Wrong
Posted by Dr Terence Tse
at 04/07/2019 10:23
The Power of a Strong Concept in Marketing #BIGPICTURE2019
Posted by Laurent François
at 23/05/2019 7:43
Latest comments
On How to Build a Billion Dollar App by Free FIle Hosting

Anything in here will be replaced on browsers that support the canvas element