Do you have what it takes to be an Entrepreneur?
The word Entrepreneur is thrown around a lot these days without a lot of attention to one fact – what makes a person a real Entrepreneur? Like many definitions in business context for concepts such as leadership, management, risk, transformation etc., scholars have long argued over a singular definition for Entrepreneurship. Nonetheless, for the sake of this article the definition by Prof. H Stevenson of the Harvard Business School (1) gives a deeper
Insight into the real meaning of Entrepreneurship – “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled”.
Every word in Stevenson’s definition forces one to think beyond the words to comprehend what it really takes to be an Entrepreneur. Surely, it would be an understatement to say that the journey of an Entrepreneur is a difficult one. One has to be born with or learn (depending on your orientation about nature vs. nurture!) some basic attributes in life before jumping into the uncertain ocean of Entrepreneurship. Given below are some of the basic personality traits a person needs to start their Entrepreneurship journey (Note: it is not an exhaustive list)
Ability to work alone for long periods of time
Up until the point when it is possible to hire more personnel into the business, an Entrepreneur must be able to persist lengthy periods of time on their own. This could be difficult even for the most extreme introverts let alone for generally extrovert entrepreneurs. Many entrepreneurs start their ventures from home and eventually shift into an office space when it is logical, but until then – it’s a one man show!
Many people turn to Entrepreneurship because it is impossible for them to take orders from their bosses and they want to manage their own schedule. That being said, it is easy to take the flexibility for granted and procrastinate. Without anyone monitoring your activities or objectives, it could be difficult to prioritize or simply get things done. A successful Entrepreneur is self-disciplined, self-motivated and able to focus on what is important without any external supervision.
- Surviving on a volatile income
Many Entrepreneurs begin their journey leaving behind a secure position with a stable income at an organization. On one hand, Entrepreneurship provides a golden opportunity to earn the big bucks but on the other hand, the income can be quite inconsistent. This means entrepreneurs must learn to be frugal plus spend/save their money wisely.
Ability to trust others to get things done
This point actually might sound contradictory to the first point which requires entrepreneurs to be able to work alone. However, the emphasis here is on the fact that it is important to realize what is required for the growth of business and delegate responsibilities at the right time. Many Entrepreneurs find it difficult to give away responsibilities because they have worked so hard to grow their business alone in the beginning. They might fall in the trap of controlling everything and subsequently end up strangling their business.
Figuring out what works for their business
We live in an information age with an abundance of online blogs, podcasts, YouTube videos and many more, full of vast amount of information on how to start/run/grow your business. While all this help and advice proves invaluable, it is critical for the Entrepreneur to understand that merely copying others is not sufficient; they must assess & determine what works for their business.
Aptitude for dealing with complacency
Lastly, Entrepreneurs work endless hours with little help, face rejection on everyday basis and live on an income less than the national average in order to have a better lifestyle, financial freedom and leave a legacy. But when the goal is achieved it is easy to fall victim of complacency and forget that nothing is permanent. Entrepreneurs need to be able to stay sharp, on the lookout for new opportunities with the purpose of growing and taking their success to a new level.
As mentioned earlier, this list is not exhaustive and could potentially be endless. Nonetheless, it is important to revisit Stevenson’s definition that talks about being able to look beyond controllable resources and always stay on top of the game if one wants success in Entrepreneurship game. One thing is certain, there is not one single characteristic that enables successful Entrepreneurship but a collection of many aspects working together like a well-oiled machine – The Entrepreneurship machine.