What makes an entrepreneur?

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Photo by Chesney Bradshaw. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.
Photo by Chesney Bradshaw. Copyright 2016. All rights reserved.

A few weeks ago I attended an awards function for entrepreneurs and was highly impressed with what they had achieved without any support from the sponsors of the event. The entrepreneurs were being acknowledged for their innovation and excellence despite not receiving funding, technology or initial encouragement from various public and private institutions.

These entrepreneurs had pulled themselves up by their own boot straps. They had done it by themselves. Only after they had achieved success did private and public institutions rush in to celebrate the achievement. Yes, it’s a long and lonely road as an entrepreneur.

The one thing that did come across was that entrepreneurs have a different mindset. They see opportunities that others don’t. They were not confined by their geography. These entrepreneurs had the same opportunity consciousness that entrepreneurs have all over the world.

Those who been studying entrepreneurs for many years show that entrepreneurs can calculate and take risks, are self sufficient, tenacious even to the point of being stubborn and can identify and exploit an opportunity. These are just a few things that are part of the entrepreneurial mindset. Other factors that are important includes being sensitive to changing circumstances and environments. When others are fearful about the economy, entrepreneurs look around and see how the changing circumstances and environments can benefit them. They thus scan the environment for gaps, areas that have been overlooked and even acquire assets when the prices have dropped substantially because of economic times.

There’s an old saying about being able to turn on a dime. In the new “lean thinking” approach to start-ups and entrepreneurship this is known as being able to “pivot”. Many start-ups which started out with a vision and were suddenly caught in difficult economic times, pivoted their business to be better positioned for the present economic circumstances. It’s not that entrepreneurs chop and change but they know when change is inevitable and they have to move fast.

Yet if you take all the characteristics of the successful entrepreneur there is something on a higher level, you could say a meta-level that characterises successful entrepreneurs. They seem to be consumed by their dream and will make sacrifices in pursuit of their dream. This doesn’t this mean some wild and foolish scheme that entrepreneurs chase after. They have carefully you via evaluated the risks and move forward knowing that they have the capacity to do what they have set out to do. As Goethe said, commitment is essential. This quote is so relevant to that moment of choice:

“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness concerning all acts of initiative and creation. There is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision raising in one’s favour all manner of unforeseen events, meetings and material assistance to which no one could have dream would have come their way. I have learned that whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it. Begin it now!” This quote atttributed to Goethe comes from WH Murry.

When you have committed yourself to taking your business idea from the realm of dream and into reality, you can find support from my new book, “Breakthrough Ideas”. You’ll find the link on my website.

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