Why is it that the popular papers paint a picture of successful entrepreneurs as almost smooth operators that have somehow made their money through fast talking and conjuring up sleazy deals?
Is it just because the popular media need to conjure up a story that seems wild and fanciful? You know the kind of story, the one where the entrepreneur is something of a misfit, unable to fit into any company let alone society. The person who bangs at doors trying to get into the business world that keeps getting doors shut in his or her face. The old, familiar story of someone who is rejected and has to find a specialised or overlooked niche to make their mark or even has to leave the country of their birth to find more fertile ground for their entrepreneurial flair.
Stereotypes and myths abound about entrepreneurs. Maybe it’s not only the popular newspapers to blame. Sometimes in family and friend social circles entrepreneurs are seen as the odd person out, the one who is different and who does things differently.
Yet what about the ordinary entrepreneur? Many people who have a idea for a product or service or new venture but can’t necessarily start the venture in a corporation and need to quietly get on with it and start something of their own. Some people whose differences make them unacceptable to the traditional society and way of living rather start a business of their own or buy a second-hand one and rejuvenate it than work in traditional areas where they are not accepted. These are honest, hard-working people who find that a business of their own enables them to live as they want and provides them with the lifestyle that they aspire to. These are the same small business owners who seldom get mentioned in the popular media, especially if they own and run a small industrial business.
If you are have come up with a line of children’s clothing, developed a new smart phone app that retails for $1.99 or opened an art gallery, you won’t be short of coverage in your local city rag.
Somehow the perception is conveyed that the entrepreneur who has been successful made their money through some mysterious process that must be shady in some way or another. This perception may be true for some so-called entrepreneurs but it doesn’t really tally with reality. Entrepreneurs are risk takers, yes, but they are careful to calculate in advance what the risks are and make very sure that they can manage their risks. The smart entrepreneurs are prudent in their financial dealings and border on the boring when it comes to being conservative and consistent in the quality they provide. They live and survive on their integrity which is often their most priceless asset. The same cannot be said of some business leaders who talk up the company’s story, are frugal with the truth and eventually leave investors and shareholders in the lurch.
Myths and stereotypes about entrepreneurs will persist. Yet every day you see start-up owners and small business founders getting on with their goals: to bring value and quality to customers at a fair price.