Definition and characteristics
In one of my recent posts the question of entrepreneurship was discussed from a standpoint of definition; and although the definition may differ slightly from person to person, entrepreneurship is about a set of principles and values that are seldom found in other areas of life. The way an individual approaches his/her own livelihood and the support of family and lifestyle provides the answer to whether or not that individual is an entrepreneur capable of operating an entrepreneurship.
Entrepreneurship is the process of creating or seizing an opportunity, and pursuing it regardless of the resources currently in one’s control. According to Wikipedia entrepreneurship is defined as “the act of being an entrepreneur, which can be defined as ‘one who undertakes innovations, finance and business acumen in an effort to transform innovations into economic goods’. This may result in new organizations or may be part of revitalizing mature organizations in response to a perceived opportunity”.
Dictionary.com defines entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”.
Must you be the rebel–mouthy and opinionated? Do you like the thrill of change, always eager for the next new venture? Is your idea of security to never be the victim of a corporation’s downsizing or reengineering? Are you a fiercely independent risk-taker who can comfortably handle the uncertainty of being responsible for your own paycheck? Do you have to possess these characteristics to be an entrepreneur?
Answering “yes” to these questions (except the last one) can put you firmly at the helm of your own entrepreneurship; But the answer to that last question need not be yes for you to qualify to run your own entrepreneurship because you can be, for example, less “mouthy and opinionated” and still be a successful entrepreneur, live a happy, rich life and be in control of your life and career.
Bare essentials & the research
If you start your entrepreneurship on the Web, you could begin operatiing with as little as $100 in seed money and your experience in your position at your current job and/or past experience. It is reasonable to assume that you’re putting in the required hours, if not more, at your current job, so you may have to work part-time from your home computer for a period of time before your business gains enough momentum that you could quit your day job. And obviously you can continue to work from home until your business income reaches levels of success that affords you some time to relax or do what other successful people do.
All this can be done if you have the passion, commitment and intuitive vision for running your own entrepreneurship. But somewhere along your road to successful entrepreneurship, you’re going to need a secret formula or USP (Unique Sales Proposal). Yes you need a passion for the thrill and independence of being an entrepreneur, but you also must have the commitment to follow through on that passion. Here’s are a few ideas which you can use as your success formula to help you get on your way.
First you have to know where you’re going, so research your chosen industry. Identify types of businesses that match your passionate vision and aptitude. Explore areas that show growth potential and, using your experience and insight, look for a need not presently being filled.
Find a successful company similar to the one you envision owning, and study how it started and how it grew. Learn as much as possible about the entrepreneur behind it. Devour books and publications related to your business concept. Talk to other entrepreneurs to discover their best practices.
Vision and action
As an entrepreneur-in-training, you’ll need to build basic and advanced leadership skills. A successful entrepreneur is a bold visionary, seeing what others cannot and willing to follow that vision despite naysayers. Many entrepreneurs never finished college, but that hasn’t stopped them from owning large companies like Dell Computer and small companies like neighborhood restaurants and consulting firms. They relied heavily on their visions, not on MBA programs.
Entrepreneurs handle ambiguity with ease. They get a thrill out of leading the way into unfamiliar territory and thumb their noses at failure. Fearless pacesetters, they are usually mystified to find they’re weak at operations and management.
That’s okay. Other people can manage for you, but you must be the guiding force that inspires your managers and staff to follow your vision. You’ll shoulder responsibility and hold yourself personally accountable for the outcome. As a leader you have to focus on the big picture and trust others to focus on the details. People who do it all are self-employed but not entrepreneurial.
You must also be an actor. You act and get things done by delegating, subcontracting and leveraging other people’s talents. You’re innovative and unwaveringly determined, willing to put in fast-moving 16-hour days to reap the rewards of independence, creative freedom and unlimited financial gain.
Learn to be a marketing genius. Everything is marketing, from the way you say “good morning” to the contacts you make. You sell ideas, products and services to potential purchasers by getting inside their minds and creatively communicating benefits.
Above all you must grow your enterprise and make a profit. People who say, “I love it so much I’d do it for free,” are not entrepreneurs–they’re volunteers. Most entrepreneurs are willing to start small and grow slowly, but they fully expect to make money. There is nothing noble about being poor or failing financially.
When you know where you’re going and have the courage to act, the only thing missing is the strategy for getting you there – but this is no small thing. Jumping into business without a strategic plan is like jumping in the ocean without knowing how to swim. To create the strategic plan, envision your enterprise exactly as you want it to be. Then write down your goals and objectives for achieving that vision. For each goal, create a strategy and a target date for achieving it.
Assess your strengths. You already possess knowledge, skills and experience your enterprise will draw on. List all your strengths that apply to your enterprise. Then appraise your challenges. They might involve market penetration, profitability, expertise, competition or location. Challenges change as your enterprise changes. How will your challenges impact your goals?
Act the part
Finally, act like a CEO. Create an income and spending plan. Know where your money is going, question every expenditure and keep the cash flow positive. That means taking in more money than you pay out, plain and simple. Make a budget and stick to it. A CEO gets things done through delegation, so create a framework of people who can help you achieve your entrepreneurial vision. Even if you work solo, you can benefit from a myriad of talented consultants, vendors and subcontractors.
If you stick to it and don’t quit on your dream, you’ll look back years from when you started with that small investment and a vision fro your own entrepreneurship, and you’ll probably smile. But whether the smile comes or not you’ll feel a burst of pride within you. That comes as a result of all your hard work, long hours and sheer determination that was necessary to make it happen. You might utter these words: “I did it”!