Ever wondered what an entrepreneur is, and if you are one?
If I asked you to name an inspirational entrepreneur what would your answer be?
I have a massive interest in the food and drink industry so my answers may not be the same as yours:
- Anthony Fletcher – Graze
- Jamie Oliver – Jamie’s Kitchen / Personality
- Henrietta Morrison – Lily’s Kitchen
- Oh okay, and I grew up reading the autobiographies of Richard Branson, Duncan Bannatyne, Steve Jobs and Alan Sugar too.
Consider how well you can relate to your chosen entrepreneur and what makes you different.
One of my clients runs a chain of restaurants in Newcastle and I used to consider him an ‘entrepreneur in progress.’ Over the years we have also become friends. A while ago he was going through a low point in his life and asked if I fancied meeting up for a coffee.
Ever willing to cheer up a friend I agreed. During our conversation he said something that has stayed with me ever since.
We were talking about resilience and how some things were out of his control. And how he wasn’t to blame for circumstance or random chance. After much thoughts he asked:
“Do you suppose that if Richard Branson found himself in my exact same position in life and was trying to achieve the same thing with the constraints that I have, that he would look at it in the same way? Do you think he’d still succeed?”
It set me thinking there and then about how important the entrepreneur’s mindset actually is -because, I absolutely believe that you can place an entrepreneur in any situation and they will come out on top.
The world is filled with people who will quite happily live life as though they were a leaf blowing on a breeze, never really having any control or responsibility. After all, if you don’t define yourself, then life WILL define you.
Okay, let’s think of those inspirational figures that you grew up admiring and figure out what makes them tick.
Firstly, a succinct definition.
The power of a definition is: It can say very briefly – in one sentence – what it is that you are trying to achieve. One is unlikely to hit a target if they don’t know what it is that they are aiming for.
From researching my entrepreneurial heroes and linking exactly what it is that they have in common I’d like to posit the following meaning:
“An entrepreneur is a person who spots an opportunity and makes it a commercial success.”
I highlighted the word ‘Spots’ because it is such an integral part of what an entrepreneur is.
If a factory worker goes into work every day, packs the same food, minute after minute watching as it trundles toward them on a conveyer belt. They keep doing this till its time for a comfort break or time to go home. They may have very basic maintenance skills in the event of a malfunction but otherwise that’s their day.
That’s their very limited view of the company in which they work.
Now take the person who started this particular food manufacturing firm:
He spots a particular gap in the market and identifies an unfulfilled demand for a certain type of food. After deciding that he has a sound idea, he then askes himself exactly ‘how’ this is to be achieved and what steps must he take (And when) for this to work.
Then he sets out a plan and does it with room for reflection.
He has a solid grasp of finances, the economy and is very grounded listening to what problems people have and how he can provide the solution.
When hiring staff, he has a definite idea of what people’s capabilities are and knows how to treat them so they can add strength and vigour to his business idea.
Some people will hire people who aren’t as skilled as THEY are in a particular area.
Surely that is counterproductive if your aim is to give your company the very best chance of thriving?
Many entrepreneurs are less concerned with ego in this regard, they are willing to accept help and advice whenever it is offered.
“Be curious, and hire curious people.”
Anthony Fletcher – Graze
The entrepreneurs I have been lucky enough to work with find it essential to know that every person that works for them understands the company’s ethic and aim, right down to the cleaners. By doing this, employees feel like members of a family whose opinion matters and they are not divided or misguided in their aims and objectives.
Entrepreneurs are driven
I don’t mean they take a lot of taxi trips (Obviously, I hope). I mean they are relentlessly compelled by the power to achieve. They are very hard working and won’t stop and switch off simply because it has struck 5 o clock and time for tea.
I’ve worked in so many offices where this is the case:
End of the work day = end of obligation till 9.30 tomorrow.
Though I will say that I have also worked in environments, where the power, energy and enthusiasm of the person in charge flows like a steady stream of electricity throughout the whole organisation.
In these situations, the employees feel valued, empowered and are willing put in the hours to do the best job they can.
Can a manager be an entrepreneur?
This is where my opinion differs from some of the other ‘experts’ out there.
They may not have started the company, and they might not be off starting their own businesses worldwide but their job offers them the chance to put their entrepreneurial skills to the test. They treat the employees in the right way and seek out opportunities for the company in new and innovative ways.
The entrepreneur is thick skinned.
Life begins outside the comfort zone (I’m very philosophical today).
When seeking out unchartered avenues and experimenting - you are bound to make mistakes. The entrepreneur learns from them then gets up to try again.
The easy way out is always to give up when a customer says no.
Maybe you put out a huge campaign and see nothing but tumbleweed before you. The road less travelled is to dust yourself off and try again.
Thomas Edison was once asked, after his 279th epic failure at achieving something:
“What is it like to fail 279 times?”
He said “I did not fail 279 times. I succeeded in discovering 279 ways in which my experiment would not work.”
This to me typifies the positive thick-skinned optimism that every entrepreneur needs to succeed.
The entrepreneur is never too attached to an idea
Albert Einstein defined insanity as:
Performing the same actions and expecting a different result.
If you have the mindset of an entrepreneur you will know enough to be able to see if market conditions indicate whether or not your idea will work. If it does not you stop and move onto something that will.
I’ve seen so many people try and fail because they are simply too close to an idea or concept and blindly push the same buttons hoping for a different result even though they are presented with compelling evidence that their idea is not one that can work.
Entrepreneurs are awake
Compelling evidence had prompted me to put this penultimate section in.
Every entrepreneur I have studied and met has always been a ‘Morning person.’
I would in the past have challenged this, mainly because I work very well at night. But, is it a remarkable coincidence all entrepreneurs seem to be ‘up at the crack of dawn,’ ready to see what the world has to offer.
Entrepreneurs make time for family and social pursuits.
“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”
Can’t believe I managed to get a Stephen King quote in there.
If you delegate properly and enjoy your work then you can be miraculously blessed with both wealth and the time to spend with your loved ones, knowing that your company is in safe hands.
Well, that’s about it for now.
I hope you have found this post helpful.
Till next time…