Being on the lookout for weak signals, a matter of survival for the entrepreneur

Being on the lookout for weak signals, a matter of survival for the entrepreneur

In the country of Descartes, intuition has bad press. And yet, having this advanced sense allowing to detect weak signals before the others can be a valuable asset. These weak signals are early warnings, of low intensity, heralding an emerging trend, even a tidal wave.

In his masterclass given at the Go Entrepreneurs Paris show, Alexandre Mars evokes the example of Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Meta (ex-Facebook), who before anyone else, against his own entourage, sniffed out the potential of Instagram and WhatsApp, which he bought while Facebook was still at the top. The future proved him right: for young people, Instagram and WhatsApp are now largely supplanting Facebook.

Intuition can work

Contrary to popular belief, intuition can be worked to the extent that we can learn to spot the warning signs of tipping. It’s a question of state of mind: “it means show curiosity and empathy, ask questions, meet others, know how to challenge and be challenged”, summarizes Alexandre Mars.

+ VIDEO / Excerpt from Alexandre Mars’ masterclass on Go Entrepreneurs Paris (April 2022)

The entrepreneur must be a “sponge”, constantly on the lookout, almost paranoid, always ready to question himself. It is this attention to weak signals that enabled Alexandre Mars, for example, to anticipate the rise of social networks by launching in 2006 ScrOOn, a platform for businesses. A good intuition: the company quickly developed to be sold seven years later to BlackBerry which sought to transform its messaging into a mobile social network.

Stay in touch with the fluctuations of the world

On a national scale, we find in recent history entrepreneurs whose success is largely based on a particular ability to spot “a hole in the racket” before anyone else. Nicolas Chabannethe founder of C’est Qui Le Patron, a brand of dairy products whose prices are set by consumers to better pay producers, says that it all started with an intuition.

The idea germinated at the time of the milk crisis in 2016. After being interested in market mechanisms, the entrepreneur who has always been close to the agricultural community, understands that the project can be easily implemented, without marketing. nor any sales force, thanks to social networks. He was right to trust his instincts. This responsible initiative is so successful that it has led to others modeled on the same model with groups such as Candia and Lactel.

Rather than remaining stuck in one’s certainties, having one’s antennae open allows one to see the clouds arriving before it’s too late. Alexandre Mars often takes the example of Nokia whose leaders lacked foresight, through overconfidence. In the early 2000s, the Finnish manufacturer was ultra-dominant in the mobile phone market. The brand is almost non-existent today. All things considered, the greatest risk for an entrepreneur, Nokia boss or leader of a small box, is to remain locked in his ivory tower. While he has to take to the streets, smell the air of the times, listen to his customers, take an interest in international trends… An attitude that will make him capable of pivoting, adapting, evolving… in order to bounce back better. Change or disappear, such is the fate of the entrepreneur.

Alexandre Mars’ masterclass

Every Wednesday from July 13 to August 31, find on Les Echos Entrepreneurs extracts from Alexandre Mars’ masterclass given at the Go Entrepreneurs Paris 2022 show. He gives his wise advice as a serial entrepreneur to lead his business project on the path to success. Previous episode: Working hard. Next episode: Fail to succeed.

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