By Michael Glauser, Next Avenue Contributor
The Silicon Valley approach for building companies has become the main strategy taught at many business schools. It goes like this: You create a prototype you can quickly test, preferably in the tech industry. You find a group of users and gain proof of concept. You raise capital and scale the business as rapidly as possible. You plan an exit strategy that may include going public or selling to an industry buyer. You shoot for a 10X return to investors. You make a lot of money.
This summer, our team at My New Enterprise (a company I co-founded that helps aspiring entrepreneurs) rode our bicycles 4,000 miles, from the west coast of Oregon to the east coast of Virginia, and interviewed 100 successful entrepreneurs on Main Street USA. (Watch videos of them here.) Not one of them followed the Silicon Valley approach.
In fact, very few had any business training and none had any training in entrepreneurship. Nearly half of these business builders are over 50 years old; some are in their late 60s and 70s.