What is an entrepreneur? Dictionaries describe an entrepreneur as someone who starts and runs a business venture. However, every entrepreneur may vary from one to another, depending on their capability, preferences and work style. Still, business owners need certain qualities to help them through the stumbling blocks and challenges that the entrepreneurial journey poses to them.
Let’s spell out the makings of an entrepreneur and see how each quality can help a business owner grow and develop. These are characteristics that you can learn to cultivate in yourself or your team members. Other entrepreneurs who have been on the journey for quite some time have exhibited these qualities or have cited them as among the important tools for the survival and longevity of one’s career in business.
E – Energy. The journey can be quite exhausting with all its ups and downs. Business owners are human beings, too, and they also feel tired and burnt out at times. All the responsibilities can sometimes put you under so much stress and pressure. There may be days when you have to work for very long hours. That is why a good dose of energy is constantly needed to fuel the drive. Where can you draw energy to keep your vigour and strength going? Look at your source of joy – it may be your family, loved ones, friends, interests, hobbies, places or achievements – and take time to be with people and things that you love the most. That can bring inspiration and motivation to move ahead in your journey.
N – Newness. There are times when you feel you’re stuck in a rut, and things have become a routine. You neither advance nor regress, and you end up experiencing a plateau. It’s good to introduce something novel and fresh, whether as a personal experience or as a business concept. It could be a new product or service, some addition to your workspace, a different strategy, or another passion that can make your mind more creative. Travel to new places, talk to more people and expose yourself to new things that can add value to yourself and your venture. Who knows? You might come up with fresh ideas that can rejuvenate your soul and rekindle the passion for your work.
T – Tenacity. Persistence and determination are key ingredients in the business journey. There are moments when nothing seems to happen, and the end of the tunnel looks too far. When things turn south and frustrations set in, the tenacity to move forward is often helpful for that needed boost. The resolution to not give up despite the lack of positive signs can enable one to reach the goal and produce good results. Sometimes it takes time for things to bear fruit, which is why the drive and steadfastness to move forward is important in the entrepreneurial path.
R – Risk-taking. They say, “no guts, no glory” and “no pain, no gain”. One cannot dive into entrepreneurial waters and wade through the terrifying waves without the courage to take the risk. It may look scary at the onset because you can either win big or lose big. Business owners invest their money, time, effort and resources even when they run the danger of not succeeding. Ideas may not fly as expected or there may be circumstances beyond one’s control that can adversely affect the business. But failure only happens when an entrepreneur does not bounce back from missteps and attempt to do things right. He braves the unknown and sets up a plan to turn things to his favour.
E – Excitement. The entrepreneurial journey has highs and lows, peaks and valleys, and incline and decline. But most of the time, it is one fun adventure. For some, it is like a roller-coaster ride. Challenges, sacrifices and problems are never absent. But whatever experience it brings, the important thing is for a business owner to have the positive outlook to enjoy the journey. He exudes with so much enthusiasm and excitement that he infects people around him – his partners, staff, suppliers, clients and stakeholders – with such delight and enjoyment that work is no longer work but more of a pleasurable thing to do. He loves the thrill of creating and solving problems, knowing there’s a wonderful scenario waiting at the end of the journey.
P – Productiveness. You feel exhausted working long hours, mulling over an idea or problem. But things are not in order, and your mind is wandering. Despite all your efforts, you still feel you haven’t accomplished anything. There’s no point in working too hard and spending too much time doing various things when the outcome is not productive. The key is to be strategic in utilising time and keeping the cost low to produce the needed results. What is important is to be efficient in propelling the business to greater heights. An entrepreneur works with the end goal in mind, and he plots his direction and set up systems to get to that goal faster and with efficiency.
R – Resourcefulness. What would you do when you don’t have the raw materials or when things you expect go wrong? That’s when resourcefulness comes in. A business owner is inventive enough to find solutions to various problems. When a wall keeps one from going ahead, an entrepreneur makes a way to get to his end goal through positive means. He can’t take no for an answer. He uses whatever is available to turn things to his favour. There are no dead ends, only detours to another route that will lead him to success.
E – Enhancement. A business owner never settles with what is the usual and strives for continuous progress. He spots opportunities for improvement to better himself, his business and his people. Sometimes, entrepreneurs also experience a slump in their venture, whether they are internal or external challenges. But they learn from their mistakes, recover from their fall, and strengthen themselves. On the other hand, even though things look bright and steady, entrepreneurs take steps to upgrade their capabilities, increase their yield and enrich themselves.
N – Nosiness. Curiosity may kill a cat, but it can save an entrepreneur. He always wonders, showing interest in people around him and in things that can affect his business directly and indirectly. Socrates once said, “The only true wisdom is in knowing you know nothing.” A wise business owner acknowledges that he doesn’t hold the answer to everything. Because of that, he constantly questions and learns from the people around him. He looks at the bigger picture and gets into the details to fully understand any situation.
E – Encouraging. Leadership is a quality that entrepreneurs possess. They lead their staff, set the vision and goals, and make decisions and strategies that are advantageous to the business. Entrepreneurs, with all their mistakes, learnings and wins, inspire others when they endeavour to overcome any obstacle thrown in front of them. They encourage their team, provide hope to their clients, and support others who are also along the entrepreneurial track.
U – Unpretentiousness. Humility is a significant quality that can help entrepreneurs build relations with other people. Despite all the achievements and recognition, an entrepreneur stays humble and unassuming, recognising that there are always other people better and smarter than him. He acknowledges the efforts of his team and treats his staff and clients as partners in the journey. He surrounds himself with individuals who can add value to his character and his business. An example of this is by joining professional groups like EO Melbourne, where he can learn from others.
R – Revolution. Along with innovation and risk-taking, an entrepreneur is brave enough to disrupt the status quo by creating alterations in the industry. He is not afraid to modernise and reform society through his business. He welcomes change and utilises it to build opportunities. Thus, he revolutionises ideas and turns things around. In areas where there are still no clear paths to take, he creates a road for others to trudge after him.
These are what make up an entrepreneur. He may not acquire all these qualities in one go. However, because the business journey is an ongoing process, he can develop many, if not all, of these over time. He is like a precious stone that gets polished through the years. Still, there are countless facets of an entrepreneur that we need to uncover. How about you? How do you spell out ENTREPRENEUR? Share your thoughts below.