I bet you think that is my most favorite word, don’t you? Yes, if you are following this blog you know the subject comes up all the time. It is my deepest desire to understand and become one. Steve and I have been working at this little business for 5 years now, and find it rewarding, and growing in profitability. OK, truth is we making a very small profit – don;t call the brinks truck to follow us quite yet. But it is a process of developing habits, behaviors and a mindset to succeed. The process involves so many things – ability to learn the market, adapt to changing winds in the market, and be able to scale up our operation in a nimble manner.
Wow, some of these concepts were not even on my radar when we began. I like to return to articles about enterpreneurship to keep the dream alive and focused. So what goes into being an entrepreneur? Is there a specific set of qualities, characteristics or personality that captures the essence of the entrepreneur? Research suggests there are common characteristics to all entrepreneurs. Here are what the researchers agree upon:
- Taking Initiative – having a willingness and a desire to step forward and build business based on their creative ideas. This is the person who takes on an idea or project and invests in it through the development, launch and sustaining of it.
- Risk Appetite – Entrepreneurs are not out of control with regard to risk, but instead they calculate, evaluate, and run scenarios to determine the best possible plan for the business. To someone outside of that business the stakes may look high, or the risk great, but the enterpreneur believes their plan is reasonable and attainable.
- Self aware of their ability- Believe in their ability to succeed, confident they have the skills and tools to see their plan to fruition. Hand in hand with awareness of self is a deep optimism that success is possible.
- Rely upon self – Responsibility for the success of the busineess, the enterpreneur will build the business as much as possible on their own skills
- Steadfast / Perserverant – Staying with it, continuing when others doubt, question or advise against it. Likewise the enterpreneur will continue to try – when something fails they will look for a new opportunity, a different way to bring their idea to success.
- High energy levels – Starting an idea, giving birth to it, launching it, building it takes lots of long hours, lots of time invested. The average enterpreneur puts in 60-80 hours per week working hard to build that success. Stamina goes hand in hand with energy
- Somewhat competitive – while i disagree a bit with researchers, they claim that enterpreneurs begin their childhood with highly competitive behaviors in sports and academics, and that competitive nature is honed by the time they are adults. I am not as certain i was ever competitive at sports. Yes, i was at academics.
- Desire instant feedback – how are we doing? Is this working? How can we improve this for better success? Yes, these are a passionate need of the enterpreneur
- Planning and focusing to the future
- Very Organized – a solid and well designed business plan, well organized office, thoughts, details. Organization is key as the pace of the building process grows faster and more frenetic.
- Focus on achievement above money – Knowing it will take time before a business is profitable, the enterprenur will go forward measuring achievements as benchmarks.
- Flexibility – Able to adjust, correct, change and correct the course based on changes in market, regulation, supply and demand.
- High tolerance for ambiguous changes – the market is always shifting, changing. So are access to raw materials, workers, supply channels. This means that uncertainty is a traveling companion. And the road is an uncharted one… new ground, new places, lots of change.
As you read through that list, ask yourself the hard questions. Do I have these qualities? Am i willing to work hard and long hours to develop something that is not profitable now? Am i organized, or can i get there? Am I flexible? Do i have a tolerance or appetite for a certain level of risk? Am i willing to go through with my ideas even when others around me think i am wacked?
The short answer is this – you may not have all of these qualities, but as you push forward and use the qualities you do have it is always possible to build up those that are not strengths. If you have an idea and believe in it, and in your capabilities to bring it forward then make a plan. Go for it.