by: Geoff Ficke

A “Wanna Be” Entrepreneur in Reality Is a“Wantrepreneur” and Will Never Be Successful

Very few of the hundreds of Consumer Product projects that my Branding and Marketing Consulting firm review each year ever go much beyond the talking stage. Talk is cheap. Dreamers dream. Successful entrepreneurs are relatively rare. The necessary makeup to compete in the marketplace of ideas and products is in fairly short supply.

The best descriptive I can use to describe the dreamer that will never launch is the portmanteau “wantrepreneur”. This is the word we use to define the eternal grazer. They hope, wish and want to be successful but will not take the absolutely necessary steps required to get into the game. This pseudo-entrepreneur wants a lot of things, variously including…
• Wants a Business Plan
• Wants Design Engineering
• Wants Prototyping
• Wants Branding Development
• Wants Legal Counsel
• Wants Patents and Trademarks
• Wants Marketing Strategy Customized
• Wants Market Research
• Wants Focus Groups
• Wants Licensing Opportunities
• Wants Web-site Design
• Wants Social Media Management
• Wants Sales Representation
• Wants a Public Relations Campaign
• Wants Manufacturing Organized
• Wants Fulfillment Systems Organized
• Wants Investment, Funding
• Want all of this and often much more!

The reality is that the aspiring entrepreneur has two options available to achieve the above work elements that are but a partial list of the items that must be present in order to achieve a Consumer Product or Consumer Service launch.

1. Hire vendors that can successfully perform in their area of specialization.
2. Do it yourself.

I started my first business in 1978. I did it myself. I was a self-taught entrepreneur who, once having figured things out, realized that I could repeat the process again and again. I did this for a series of ventures that I launched. It can be done. I and many others are proof that with enough drive, ambition and confidence in themselves and their ideas success is a real option. Option #2 is not a chimera but it is not easy.

Option #1 is the route that most prospective entrepreneurs are forced to take. The skills that must be mastered can seem daunting to a novice. The list is long, much longer than detailed above. Successful entrepreneurs always find the means to raise the monies needed to hire professional help in areas that they do not have mastery of.

“Wantrapreneur’s” always attempt to acquire talent and expertise with promises, futures, equity and histrionics. The approach they take always follows an obvious lineup of talking points. Their Toy or Board Game is the next Monopoly or Bratz Doll. Their Wellness Supplement will revolutionize the Joint Pain market. The Pet Product they have developed to comfort arthritic dogs will sell hundreds of thousands of units. The Juvenile Jewelry line they have conceptualized will be on every little girl’s wish list. The list goes on endlessly.

The “wantrapreneur” always wants vendors to partner. I always ask what a person does for work. When I am told, “Salesman, truck driver, insurance adjuster, bank analyst”, etc., I respond with another simple question: “Do you work for free”? Qualified engineers and graphic artists and consultants are paid for their work, their experience, their Rolodex. Proven professionals actually save entrepreneurs time, money and mistakes.

How an aspiring entrepreneur approached funding sources and professional vendors is crucial. We rarely see this introductory process handled properly by novice entrepreneurs. Do your due diligence. Do not attempt to sell dreams. My dreams are almost certainly not your dreams.

The process of starting a business or launching a Consumer Product is arduous. There is a reason for this. If it was easy everyone would be doing it and they are most certainly not. The difficulties inherent in getting a product off the ground act to cull the marketplace and serves as a type of Merchandising Darwinism. Merchants, distributors, investors, venture capital, strategic alliances and partners all seek out projects that survive the development process and are representative of the old saw “survival of the fittest”. “Wantrepreneurs” do not need apply.

Author's Bio: 

Geoff Ficke has been a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years. As a small boy, earning his spending money doing odd jobs in the neighborhood, he learned the value of selling himself, offering service and value for money.

After putting himself through the University of Kentucky (B.A. Broadcast Journalism, 1969) and serving in the United States Marine Corp, Mr. Ficke commenced a career in the cosmetic industry. After rising to National Sales Manager for Vidal Sassoon Hair Care at age 28, he then launched a number of ventures, including Rubigo Cosmetics, Parfums Pierre Wulff Paris, Le Bain Couture and Fashion Fragrance.

Geoff Ficke and his consulting firm, Duquesa Marketing, ( has assisted businesses large and small, domestic and international, entrepreneurs, inventors and students in new product development, capital formation, licensing, marketing, sales and business plans and successful implementation of his customized strategies. He is a Senior Fellow at the Page Center for Entrepreneurial Studies, Business School, Miami University, Oxford, Ohio.