Jonathan Ortmans is an entrepreneur and economist. He serves as President of Global Entrepreneurship Week and as a Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation.
Entrepreneurship is much more than a career path or a commercial stint. It is the ultimate manifestation of the possibility of human endeavor.
The entrepreneur’s path from startup to scale-up tests that spirit time and again. The entrepreneurial journey starts with an idea to birth the new and create value, and it continues uphill, driven by passion.
Passion for your idea will help you tackle the many obstacles along the winding entrepreneurial path. That passion will help you keep believing in an idea you bootstrap even when most others give up. It will hold you through the many iterations of your product, service or business model, because entrepreneurial success is a marathon, not a sprint.
Baybars Altuntaş took that long, winding path, persisted and succeeded. Baybars had a vision for how to make the world work better within the confines of his business ventures, and persisted through the financial and personal challenges on his way to success. Looking back, many others could have spotted the opportunity Baybars saw in Turkey. Yet Baybars simply cared more, much more, about the idea. He translated the idea into action, learned, and acted time and again. Great ideas by themselves do not lead to breakthrough companies. Baybars’ story proves that startups succeed, or fail, in great part because of the entrepreneurs involved and their willingness to go through the iterative process of getting the idea right.
If you read this personal account thoughtfully, you will notice that Baybars’ success is just the surface phenomenon. What the following pages reveal is more profound and therefore important for you as potential entrepreneur.
Being successful at his venture does not entirely explain the satisfaction expressed by the entrepreneur. As you will notice, it is Baybars’ empowering ability in the European entrepreneurship ecosystem that allows him to exude a refreshing sense of control over his future. This sense of control arises from an awareness of his very own skills, mindset and vision, all of which were awakened during his entrepreneurial journey. This book seeks to awaken that sense in you.
The joy of the author’s success is much more than personal. His role model has had a stimulating effect on the environment for entrepreneurship in Turkey and beyond. Seasoned advice is one of the most valued assets in any entreprenuership ecosystem. Readers of this book should note that, as governments worldwide are adopting startup-friendly policies, the tide is turning for startups to make an even larger difference in their communities.
Seeking to maximize the value of his personal experience for the community, the author wrote this book as an awareness-raising venture. In this candid guide, the author speaks from the perspective of an actual entrepreneur who beat all odds with hard work and amazing amounts of energy and dedication.
In every step, entrepreneurs like Baybars make a conscious choice to forego stability in favor of learning and opportunity exploration. It is important for the entrepreneur to know how to weight these choices along the business cycle.
I challenge the reader to be honest about the risks and uncertainties you face as you read the following pages of advice, and to look for the many instances where this entrepreneur turned a condition into a technique for startup success. Bootstrapping in the early days of an entrepreneur, for example, has proved advantageous for many early stage companies around the world.
More importantly, I challenge the reader to be open to adopting the entrepreneurial frame of mind whether you decide to launch your startup or not at this point. That is the beauty of the entrepreneurial spirit; it is a mindset and worldview, applicable to all economic actors, whether business owners or valuable employees.
At the personal level, entrepreneurship is lifelong journey that permeates every aspect of life if embraced as an expression of one’s own capabilities. It is an attitude towards life that allows you to see opportunity where others only see problems. The spirit of entrepreneurship extracts the genius from every individual and translates it into economic and social projects that generate value, jobs, innovations and wealth.
President of the Global Entrepreneurship Week
Senior Fellow at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation