There are people in the business world who are sincerely committed to running a business. Then there those who say they are entrepreneurs, but give up when the going gets tough. Are you “in” for the long haul?
“There are entrepreneurs and there are Entrepreneurs” –Doug and Polly White
What makes the difference? What makes a true Entrepreneur?
At the most basic level, all entrepreneurs need passion. Passion is “the fuel that drives the creation of dreams” –Mayra Jimenez
But then that passion needs to become an action, fueled by conviction. But lots of people have passion, and maybe even conviction, but when the going gets rough they fade away. So what is the key ingredient that makes Entrepreneurs? Can they be defined? Here are some qualities that help up nail down some definitives:
Entrepreneurs are unique and defy description. They are one of a kind and they don’t call themselves entrepreneurs, like everyone else in this entrepreneur generation.
To true Entrepreneurs, money isn’t important. What they do is originally for the money, it’s just a means to an end. They are focused on their passion and aren’t distracted.
They are fanatically zealous about their dreams and plans, and they can talk about them as though they’re on a mission from God. They are workaholics and their dream comes to define them. They don’t have a day job. It’s a lifetime job in which they don’t focus on themselves but on the idea and how to create amazing services and products.
They’re not purposely risky. They are driven and they don’t allow anything to get in their way, but they don’t look for problems. They don’t listen to the fear they may feel at times but to the “voice of reason and instinct.”
They started off as nobodies, not always trying to do something big and great, but doing their passion that later becomes big and popular. Many looked at the world and her problems with new eyes and fresh perspectives.
They’re not ideal leaders but they all had mentors and partners to help them along. “Bill Gates had Paul Allen and Steve Ballmer. Steve Jobs had Steve Wozniak. Larry Page had Sergey Brin” –Steve Tobak
They’re not patient. “They don’t want to hear how things are done, have been done, or should be done. They do things their way.” –Tobak
IN TOUGH TIMES
While all of these characteristics make great Entrepreneurs, they need to know what to do and how to deal with the tough situations that come to every entrepreneur. To get through tough times, real Entrepreneurs need three more attributes: adaptability, persistence, and a strong work ethic.
- Adaptability – In many crisis, businesses have two options: adapt or die. There are many examples of adaptable companies, such as DuPont which started off making gunpowder during the Civil War. They added lacquers and synthetic rubber and then later invented “the first polyesters, nylon, Teflon, and the first phenothiazine insecticide.” They made many different types of plastics and synthetics, fertilizers, and nutritional products.
- Persistence – One of the greatest examples of persistence was Thomas Edison and the lightbulb. He attempted 1000 times to get it just right before he got it. “In order to become persistent in business you don’t need to have special powers or genes, but you have to promise yourself that you will never stop even if everything went against you” said M.Farouk Radwan, MSc., an Egyptian business person who persisted in running their online business when the country turned off the internet in 2011.
- Work Ethic – Results cannot be achieved and goals cannot be reached without hard work. Sitting around never helped anybody. When working towards true success, you need to struggle and work hard, using all your mental and physical strength, to reach your full potential. Problems are overcome through adaptability, persistence, and a good work ethic.
Here is where we see if you and I are the un-definable and true entrepreneurs. What do you do when you get metaphorically “punched in the face” as a business? How entrepreneurs overcome obstacles? What are the small things businesses, and business owners specifically, could do to prevent obstacles and problems in the future?
“Startups die of indigestion not starvation.” – Scott Heiferman, CEO, Meetup
TRAINED FOR GROWTH
In other words, businesses don’t fall apart because their leader is doing too little, but often because he or she is doing too much. They’re not focused on their core product and are distracted by other things. By nature, a business person starting out wears many hats and has many responsibilities. The difference in who survives is how they plan for growth, and stepping back from the business to let others run it. Are you struggling with the following?
- Pricing things emotionally – based off of fear to lose a sale or pride in beating competition when it economically wasn’t in their favor. “Price with your head, not your heart.” –Bruna Martinuzzi , President, Clarion Enterprises Ltd. Talk with your customers to determine price changes.
- Blinded by their love for a product or process and not realize that it doesn’t work – These things must be abandoned. Inbound marketing practices (using social media to help people find your company and build relationships) are taking over outbound marketing methods (calling people to make sales). In today’s world, outbound methods need to be carefully measured for purpose, and if you are striving for numbers, you are missing the point.
- When new businesses start to be successful, often its employees spend too much of the company money celebrating. In 1993, Microsoft sent a “Shrimp and Weenies” memo to all its employees, “asking them to be frugal with company money – to order weenies, for example, not shrimp, when the company pays the bill.” This is good advice for every company.
- Not listening to your gut – choosing people to work with or for the business because they are friends, not necessarily because they’re best to help the business flourish.
- Business leader not being involved or aware of all parts of the business –after time, company founders tend to distance themselves from sales, which later can become a handicap. CEOs should keep everything, including sales in the peripheral vision and not get caught off guard. This way, adjustments can be made en route before the obstacles pile up.
- Lack of awareness of weaknesses– businesses need to identify their “Panama Canal,” the one big obstacle that if eliminated, would allow exponential growth. Just as the Panama Canal saved companies months and billions of dollars, there could be one thing preventing businesses from success. These “Panama Canals” need to be identified and eliminated.
True Entrepreneurs do amazing things. It is an incredible combination of character: Being unique, highly zealous, impatient, adaptable, persistent, hardworking, and not willing to let anything get in your way. Entrepreneurs can overcome the most difficult trials and create a business to flourish. Are you a true Entrepreneur?
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