Are you cut out to be an Entrepreneur?
Are you tired of working for someone else? Do you feel that you have a great idea that can be the start of a great business? Do you see opportunities everywhere you look? Well, then, you might just be an entrepreneur.
Before you can know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur, however, you have to understand just what an entrepreneur is. That is not quite as simple as it sounds since the definition has been changing for nearly 100 years!
The first definition was simply someone who invented something. Eventually it turned into someone who owned a business. Neither one of these definitions really got to the heart of entrepreneurship. The best definition I have found, and the one used most often today is this:
Someone who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks for a business or enterprise.
This description shows that not only does a person “invent” something, but that they see the opportunity and build a business around it. An entrepreneur has a vision and builds around this vision.
Debunking Entrepreneurial Myths
Not only have definitions been changing, many myths have been flying! There are many myths associated with what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Let’s examine of few of these and see if we can’t put things into a better perspective.
Myth #1: Entrepreneurs are born, not made
Is it true that you are either born an entrepreneur or you are not? Are you doomed to forever work for someone else simply because of your genetic makeup? It is true that entrepreneurs typically have a flair for the creative and a lot of energy. These are things that we are born with. However, just having these characteristics certainly does not make you into an entrepreneur.
These talents by themselves are like unmolded clay or an unpainted canvas. A true entrepreneur takes these characteristics and gathers the right skills, experience, and contacts. They are also constantly searching themselves to make improvements. You are quite likely to find an entrepreneur in the “self help” aisle of a bookstore!
So, the answer to the question? Yes and no. Yes, there are talents that most entrepreneurs are born with. And no, you have to actually use and continue to improve these talents!
Myth #2: Anyone can start a business
Although it is true that anyone can acquire a business license and open shop, there is far more to “starting a business” than starting up. The easiest part is starting up. The hardest part is surviving, sustaining, and building. It takes work to overcome, to build, to persevere, to create, and succeed. To be a champion it takes focus, creativity, diligence, time, and resources.
Can anyone start a business? Yes, they can. Can anyone succeed? Yes, if they put their heart and soul into it, along with the right resources!
Myth #3: Entrepreneurs are their own bosses and completely independent
The dream of being “your own boss” often captures the attention of those working for someone else. There is this notion that the boss makes up the rules and only has fun. This is far from true! Entrepreneurs, though independent, have to serve many masters including customers, employees, families, and those involved in social and community obligations. Entrepreneurs, however, can make free choices of whether, when, and what they care to respond to.
Myth #4: Entrepreneurs are motivated by the quest for money
A sense of personal achievement and accomplishment, feeling in control of their own destinies, and realizing their vision and dreams are the most powerful motivators for entrepreneurs. Money is viewed as a tool and way of keeping score.
Eight Entrepreneurial Characteristics
Remember that entrepreneurs are always striving to improve themselves. So, in reality, if you want to be an entrepreneur and you are willing to work on it, you can eventually be one!
Over the years, people have studied entrepreneurs to determine what makes them successful. Certain characteristics seem to show up over and over again. Here are the 8 characteristics that you will want to have and improve upon if you wish to be a successful entrepreneur:
2. High Energy
3. Self Confident
6. Prepared to Work Hard
7. Risk Taker
8. Good Communicator
Take a good hard look at the list. Do you have these qualities? Do you have all of them? If not, which ones do you lack and what can you do about it?
For instance, are you lacking in organizational skills? There are certainly a large number of books and websites devoted entirely to this subject. So, read a good book and then follow the advice! Organization can be a learned trait, not just one you are born with.
What about communication? Do you have trouble expressing yourself and your ideas? The best way to get over this is to communicate more! Try joining Toastmasters so you can speak at every opportunity. Or take a course in speaking or writing.
There is nothing on this list that can’t be learned. There is also nothing on this list that entrepreneurs can live without. So, if you want to be an entrepreneur, be honest with yourself and then get to work!
Five Entrepreneurial Resources
In addition to characteristics, entrepreneurs must have certain resources at their fingertips:
1. Enough money to see the project through: Most business ventures fail, not due to poor ideas, but due to lack of money! You will need to have a plan of action and know what start up money you need.
2. Good health: Being an entrepreneur requires long hours of hard work. Being in poor physical shape will not help you be successful in your new venture! Consider some new habits, like exercising, quitting smoking, or even taking a stress management class.
3. Unique product or service: You can’t sell something that everyone else is already selling. It doesn’t have to be brand new, but it does have to have a new twist!
4. Family/friend support: Since being an entrepreneur takes a lot of time, you will want to have family support.
5. Experience: You need to have an interest and at least some experience in your chosen field.
Just as with the talents, these resources can also be acquired. The point here is that you can’t be an entrepreneur without them!
So now you know what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Do you have the skills? Do you have the resources? Are you willing to sacrifice and change to get them? If you can answer yes to these questions, then you are well on your way! Good luck!
Reference: Teri B. Clark
Courtesy of the Young Entrepreneurs Association of Jamaica
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