THE KISS PRINCIPLE IN MICROBUSINESS

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CHAPTER 3

AM I AN ENTREPRENEUR?

In Chapter 2, I have been able to outline my ideas for a business: The next step is to take a hard look at myself and my abilities as an entrepreneur. To do this, I will honestly compare myself to the general profile of the successful entrepreneur. This exercise is the first "sweat equity" into my project, it will help me look at myself objectively. Following is a list of the characteristics generally found in a successful entrepreneur, then, a description of what these characteristics mean in business. Finally, there is a worksheet I can use to evaluate myself.

THE ENTREPRENEUR

An entrepreneur taken in the context of business is one that is bold, an achiever, an adventurer and, unflatteringly, akin to a modern pirate. The main attributes of an entrepreneur in the modern sense are

         An outstanding sense of observation

         Knowledge

         Above average persistence, some call it monomania

         An above average talent for taking thus far unrelated facts and combining them into something previously non-existent

         An instinct for what the public wants

         A disregard for risk in the accepted sense

        Sales ability

         An outstanding ability to obtain loyalty from followers

         Quick decision making ability

         Inventiveness

         Moral sense

         The mental ability to keep issues simple, especially in relation to his own business

         Faith in himself

         Fierce independence

         An above average sense of possession

         Enthusiasm

 

AN ABOVE AVERAGE SENSE OF OBSERVATION:

The entrepreneur is curious, he wants to know why things or systems work, his curiosity is action oriented, "How can I use this information? " "Can I improve on this?", these questions are always in the back of his mind.

His sense of curiosity and his observation lead him to ask questions to help clarify his understanding of whatever has caught his interest. Once understood it is only a matter of time before his observations are translated into something concrete, that will usually further his business interests.

His observations can range from a better way to make something work, to a weakness in his competitors.

 

KNOWLEDGE

In this case, knowledge has to be interpreted, as the understanding of the basic facts that govern a trade, a profession or an occupation. This understanding leads to such a deep grasp of how a specific occupation works, that the entrepreneur can play around with these basic facts, rearrange them in his mind and thus find new ways to do things, within that occupation. It is the application of the creative process to knowledge.

MONOMANIA

This in the quality that fires up the entrepreneur to never quit, because he deeply believes in his business and in what has made him start new businesses.

This quality takes its roots in faith, the faith of doing the right thing and the strong belief of being right, and finally, faith in oneself.

 CREATIVITY

This quality stems from the sense of observation described earlier, the only difference being that from observation comes something new; a new product, a new process, a new approach. It is the implementation of the observations.

WHAT THE PUBLIC WANTS (a nose)

Observation and creativity, as described above, are not everything, as they can lead to deadends (inventing a better oil lamp). What is needed is something the people want and are willing to pay for, some new product, service or process.

RISK

The entrepreneur, even if he is aware of risk, does not look upon risk in the same way as everyone else, especially concerning the business he plans to start. In his mind he has already considered the pitfalls and considers them as challenges, rather than deterrents. Some would say that he regards the business he plans as a game. This is the reason why so few business graduates start a new business. In Business Schools, students are taught the advantages and disadvantages of every type of business situation, thus, making them all too aware of risk. This in itself is the largest single objection to the business school approach to teaching, they do not develop entrepreneurs, they develop good analysts and excellent managers.

This is the main difference between entrepreneurs and the rest of the people, is that they look for solutions not for problems.

SALES ABILITY (not necessarily salesmanship)

Sales ability comes from a deep conviction that what he sells is the best, that the service he offer is excellent. It shows in the way the entrepreneur promotes his product or service.

Salesmanship is the result of applying rules of dealing with people, whether the product sold or the service rendered has quality or not. This is why, so many inferior products and services are on the market today. Detroit is just waking up to the fact that foreign automobiles offer more for the money. Their habits die hard, as they still offer a lot of "options", that are found as standard, on most foreign cars, even on the models described as basic. The reason for this is that "options" are what is most profitable for Detroit, and forget the consumer.

LEADERSHIP

Leadership is not only the ability to lead, but the talent to inspire loyalty from followers. This is essential in starting a business, as, when the initial start-up of a business has led to success, the leader will be joined by new employees. These employees will have to believe in their boss, they will have to know what the boss wants, so they can efficiently do their jobs. The entrepreneur will have to fire their enthusiasm and acquire their loyalty. This is a talent common to all successful entrepreneurs.

 DECISIVENESS

Once a solution has been found to a problem, the entrepreneur is quick to act upon it. Business, by nature, is a series of decisions based on a myriad of matters, that crowd everyday life. The entrepreneur does not procrastinate, he acts.

INVENTIVENESS

Inventiveness, as applied to business, is the ability to find ways of doing things that are not always orthodox or apparent. This quality derives as much from observation as it does from creativity, adding the element of make do, when all the tools or the knowledge are not necessarily at hand.

                            MORAL SENSE

The entrepreneur is an adventurer in business, more intent on winning than on following rules. of all the professions or trades, microbusiness, is the field where fewest rules exist.

Professions have a code of ethics and trades are governed by tradition, agreements and rules, when not governed by union agreements (the most stringent set of rules. Microbusiness, on the other hand, has no rules as such, except those governing various parts of business and generally imposed by Government, such as Income Tax, Trade agreements, laws of incorporation, etc. There is no formal business code of ethics. The morality of the individual governs his business conduct. The less moral the individuals, the more legal they tend to be. We have often heard the phrase: "Make the contract, as if you are going to court, make sure there is no room for interpretation,   no loopholes." Some businessmen have the kind of reputation that lead others to take extra precautions when dealing with them. It is up to the individual to decide on his own business reputation.

SIMPLICITY

This is the ability to break down situations and information to their barest essentials. This is the ability to keep things simple. This one of the most important qualities the entrepreneur must have if he is to succeed. The title of this book K I S S (Keep It Small and Simple) reflects the importance of this characteristic. Otherwise, all appears complex and insurmountable and leads to paralysis and inaction. Some call it the ability to get to the heart of the matter. This is important. Otherwise the businessman gets sidetracked and looses precious time and energy in trying to understand what is happening. This can be very costly, when a quick decision is what it takes.

FAITH

An unshakeable belief in oneself, in ones abilities in a chosen area, is another very important ingredient in the entrepreneur. This faith will sustain him in the rough times that are to be expected in all valuable human endeavours. It will help him stick it out, when events and situations do not turn out as expected. It will help him keep a cool head in adverse situations. Instead of panicking he will be able to look for a solution

 

INDEPENDENCE

This is more a characteristic than a requirement in the entrepreneur. It is this quality that causes an individual to quit his job and venture into the unknown of starting his own business. It is a thirst for freedom, a quest for adventure, a test of courage to abandon the relative security of a job and start a business.

POSSESSIVENESS

There is a joke that goes something like this: "What is yours is worth one dollar to me, what is mine is worth ten dollars to you."

This is the kind of possessiveness that we are talking about in business. It is better to overvalue my products and undervalue yours, so we can negotiate and come to an agreement on the true value my product has for you and the true value your product has for me. It is the practical application of the saying "Buy low, sell high."

                                        ENTHUSIASM

This is the quality that is essential, more than all the others, because it makes all the other qualities work at peak efficiency. It is this quality that differentiates "good"from "excellent". It is the quality that carries one through difficulties and reverses. It is the state of mind that makes everything possible, regardless of problemsand obstacles.For all these reasons,
enthusiasm is vital to the entrepreneur.

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