AM I AN ENTREPRENEUR?
In Chapter 2, I have been able to outline my ideas for a
The next step is to take a hard look at myself and my
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.
An entrepreneur taken in the context of business is one
bold, an achiever, an adventurer and, unflatteringly, akin
modern pirate. The main attributes of an entrepreneur in the modern sense
An outstanding sense of observation
average persistence, some call it
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
An outstanding ability to obtain loyalty
decision making ability
The mental ability to keep issues simple,
especially in relation to his own
Faith in himself
An above average sense of possession
AN ABOVE AVERAGE SENSE OF
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
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
This is the main difference
and the rest of the people, is
that they look for
solutions not for problems.
SALES ABILITY (not necessarily
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
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 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
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, 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.
The entrepreneur is an
business, more intent on winning than on
following rules. of all the
trades, microbusiness, is the field where
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.
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.
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
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
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
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."
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
enthusiasm is vital to the entrepreneur.