Do understand how to present your ideas and the limitations of your product. Do recognize when you need to involve other professionals, and know what qualities are desirable in a business partner. Do be disciplined about hiring the right group of people to make the enterprise a success, Dr. Natale continued.
Explore This IssueFebruary 2009
Do be paranoid enough to protect yourself and your intellectual property, but don’t be too paranoid to block your own way-for example, by not sharing your ideas with a venture capitalist, Dr. Gonzales suggested.
The don’ts are equally important. Don’t be greedy. Be willing to cede control and shares of the company and bring other people on who are aligned on the same pathway, Dr. Gonzales said. Don’t be married to a technology or an invention if it becomes clear that it is not a good idea.
Never assume anything. Get your facts and data from multiple sources. Don’t underestimate the risks to your plan and how to mitigate these risks before you start. And don’t take funds before your business model is complete, Mr. Ressemann cautioned.
Some of the don’ts suggested by interviewees are the obverse of the do’s. For example, Don’t get involved with the wrong people, Dr. Natale said. He also emphasized not being greedy. If you want too big a piece of the pie, you can lose sight of the fact that the size of the pie in the beginning is different from the size you hope it will be at the end. Remember, 50 percent of nothing is nothing. Grow the pie and get the right people, he advised.
Don’t think starting a company is easy, Dr. Parnell cautioned. Don’t talk about your inventions and ideas to your colleagues, and do not trust outsiders. He also pointed out that drugs and devices are heavily regulated, and dealing with the FDA can be an impediment. Big Pharma sets the rules. For example, drug user fees are prohibitive for smaller companies.
Bioentrepreneurship in the Current Economic Climate
Interviewees agreed that an MBA is not mandatory for success, but that business acumen-however you obtain it-is key. An MBA gives an entrepreneur a tool, but it is not a replacement for good business judgment and competence, Mr. Ressemann stated.
An MBA is not a prerequisite, but it won’t hurt. There is no formal path to being an entrepreneur. You need to be able to learn on the job, be hungry, be motivated, and communicate to deal in a business environment, Dr. Natale said.