What does it take to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t think anyone starts their business journey saying they want to be an entrepreneur, I believe it is a tag that others give you. But, a recent award started me thinking on what it takes and what are the lessons for all business people.
What is an entrepreneur?
A dictionary definition of an entrepreneur is, I quote “Someone who assumes the financial risk of the initiation, operation and management of a business” You need to be an entrepreneur to be in business at a management level where you are taking a personal take in the financial side of the business.
What really makes you an entrepreneur I believe is far deeper than this dictionary definition and if you want to join this elite club there are other skills and attributes you need to bring to your business life. My top traits for an entrepreneur are as follows:
1) It revolves around the way you think
I work with business people in various industries and in over 26 countries. It always astounds me how many business people are offered ideas and suggestions and they reject them straight away without even thinking them through. They get an idea, look at the problem and never see the opportunity. I have noticed that the so called entrepreneur will look at the opportunity first. This does not mean they will implement the idea. They will look at the opportunity and then think it through before making a decision if it is the right thing for their business.
In my business life I have learned to never reject a new idea or opportunity before analyzing it and carefully considering the benefits.
2) Fight the red tape
The entrepreneur has a major problem with the red tape. Again how often have you heard the response “It is the system” or “This is the way we do things around here”
The entrepreneur in your business will fight the system if they believe this is the right answer. I always remember working for a supermarket group and suggesting an idea. I was taken aside and told by middle management that the idea could cost me my job and I should not mention it. When I asked if it was the right idea for the company everyone agreed, but I was still advised that my job could be at stake for suggesting it. I was amazed at this reaction. The team members who are going to make a difference in your organization will fight the red tape when they believe it is the correct decision. If the red tape gets too thick and cumbersome they will eventually leave your organization and find fresh businesses to work in and develop.
3) Entrepreneurs do not use instinct
Many non entrepreneurs believe that the entrepreneur is a major risk taker and work on instinct. Nothing in my view can be further from the truth. The entrepreneur bases decisions on facts and their life experiences before making a decision. They have set goals that are realistic and achievable.
I recently worked with a client who thought he was an entrepreneur. He had a great idea and he was going to dominate his business category with the idea. My first reaction was their goals were not realistic. I asked what measurements they were using to achieve these goals and got a blank look. As far as I was concerned they had a dream not a goal. Entrepreneurs do not have time to have business dreams. They have the dream and turn them into reality with measurable goals that they can easily measure.
4) Money is not the driver
Some people go into business to make money, they become focused purely on the bottom line and it is all about the money. They have no passion for what they do Entrepreneurs are passionate about what they do. They want to make their dreams a reality. In achieving this they get a reward and for most the reward is the financial return on bringing that dream into fruition.
Money driven business people, in my opinion are not entrepreneurs, they have no passion for what they do.
5) It is more than the job
My final trait of an entrepreneur is that they will also give time to their local community or causes they believe in. From a personal point of view, I along with my wife, Linda, are involved in the local bush conservation group and the local farmers market. Entrepreneurs will give some time freely to help where they feel help is required.
I am sure some readers will debate the above, some will want to add to the above. The important message is that we need to build a climate within our businesses where the entrepreneur feels at home and can grow as a person. If we can achieve that then your business will also grow.
In November 2009, John Stanley was awarded Small Business Champions WA Entrepreneur of the Year in Australia.
John Stanley is a retail business coach, consultant, speaker and
author. His specialist areas are customer focused layout, customer
focused merchandising, customer focused marketing and branding, and
customer focused selling and service. Email John at
or visit his website www.johnstanley.cc
Who wants to be an entrepreneur?
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