YOU AN ENTREPRENEUR?
is the creation of a new economic activity centred on a novel product or
service, or at the very least, one which differs significantly from products or
services offered elsewhere in the market”
(Stanworth and Curran
is the dynamic process of creating incremental wealth.
This wealth is created by individuals who assume the major risks in terms
of equity, time, and/or career commitment or provide value for some product or
service. The product or
service may or may not be new or unique but value must somehow be infused by the
entrepreneur by securing and allocating the necessary skills and resources”
The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor 1999 defined entrepreneurship as "any attempt at new business or new venture creation, such as self-employment, a new business organization, or the expansion of an existing business, by an individual, a team of individuals, or an established business."
Entrepreneurs act in
a manner that:
|Is out of the ordinary.|
|Involves a number of business
|Fulfils psychological needs.|
|Results in wealth creation.|
|Requires leadership ability.|
ACTIVITY - AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
Entrepreneurship is a major contributing factor to the economic well-being of a country both in terms of economic growth and job creation. Traditionally, entrepreneurial ability tended to focus
on the following four attributes:
=> Initiative - the entrepreneur takes the initiative to bring together the economic resources of land, labor and capital to produce a commodity (whether a good or a service) with the hope that such production will create a profitable business venture.
=> Decision-making - the entrepreneur makes the basic business policy decisions for the business, thereby setting the course of the enterprise.
=> Innovation - the entrepreneur is an innovator, attempting to introduce new products and new ways of doing things.
=> Risk-taker - the entrepreneur risks his or her time, effort, business reputation and invested funds in the entrepreneurial venture.
ACTIVITY - AN HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE
THE MODERN ENTREPRENEUR
Until recently, the above attributes, especially innovation and risk-taking, were the dominant factors that defined the characteristics of those who chose to become entrepreneurs.
Now, however, with corporate downsizing being a fact of life, many entrepreneurs find themselves thrust into the role by default.
The question for anyone either finding themselves in this position involuntarily or thinking about leaving corporate life for the heady world of entrepreneurship is whether you have what it takes to be successful ... the "right stuff" in other words. Some people do, in spades. Others simply don't. If you're one of the ones who just doesn't, either resign yourself to working for someone else or cultivate in yourself the qualities that successful entrepreneurs share. Believe it or not, entrepreneurs are not just "born". Well, some, of course, seem to be natural-born entrepreneurs, but for the rest of us, the qualities of entrepreneurship can definitely be acquired by hard work and application.
The "common denominator" issues facing all entrepreneurs are planning, finance and implementation.
All entrepreneurs face the challenge of starting a new business, be it through innovation (inventing something new or doing something a different way), finding the right opportunity to get into, or buying a franchise. Whichever road you choose, it will involve serious planning.
Unless you have ready funds at your disposal, getting finance is the next major challenge and cannot be attempted until your business plan is in place. You will need to prepare funding proposals and applications for loans, venture capital, and funds from angel investors.
This is make or break time. Many people think just getting started is the hard part - and it is hard. But where many businesses stumble is not in the planning and financing stages but in implementing their business plan. Why this is so is not certain. There are various hypotheses including the idea that ideas people and implementation people are two very different breeds and it is highly unusual to find one person who can do both. More likely though, is the simple fact that implementation requires such a broad range of skills that no one person can possibly be adept at all of them.
The real challenge and skill of the entrepreneur, then, is to recognize what you do well and then appoint employees or subcontractors to do the rest. Of course, if you're running a business on a shoestring, this simply may not be possible! So be brutally honest and objective in assessing your particular strengths and weaknesses BEFORE you cash in your day job.
The areas to think about in terms of implementation are the same as those encompassed by a broad definition of management: promotion (marketing and advertising), public relations, sales, employees, communications, legal issues, plant and equipment, risk management, disaster planning, crisis management, insurance, technology, computer systems, taxes, bookkeeping, finance, and the internet.
Equally important as the common issues shared by all entrepreneurs are the personal qualities of the entrepreneur him or herself. To start you thinking about whether you have the right stuff to make a success of an entrepreneurial venture, here's a list of character traits and work ethics common to successful entrepreneurs. Although it is not necessary that you possess all of them, you should possess most:
=> Passion - entrepreneurs have a strong passion for their idea or concept, so much so that their work is their play. If you don't like what you do, you won't stick it out when challenges come along, as they inevitably will.
=> Curiosity - entrepreneurs need to understand how things work. They ask a lot of questions. Curiosity therefore triggers innovation.
=> Sponges - entrepreneurs are sponges. They devour information about their industry and are always current on new and emerging trends and technologies, not only in their specific industry but in closely related industries. This habit of scanning their environment is a rich source of discovery of new opportunities. Entrepreneurs are ALWAYS looking for new markets, applications, products or twists on an old concept.
=> Optimism - entrepreneurs think of problems as opportunities for improvements and new ideas.
=> Forward looking - entrepreneurs are never satisfied with the status quo and are always proactively carving out their future.
=> Careful about money - entrepreneurs are careful with money and have a firm grasp on what things cost and their value to the business. This allows them to recognize a true bargain when they
=> Started earning at a young age - entrepreneurs
commonly displayed entrepreneurial leanings as a teenager seeking out
entrepreneurial activities such as babysitting, lawnmowing and lemonade stands.
=> Competitive - entrepreneurs are naturally competitive and don't let the grass grow under their feet.
=> Time conscious - entrepreneurs know the value of time and how to make the best use of it. You won't find entrepreneurs spending much time on nonproductive activities. That said, entrepreneurs typically also recognize the value of downtime and time with family and will factor these activities into their schedule.
=> Risk takers - entrepreneurs are not afraid of taking calculated risks. They typically trust their hunches and act on them.
=> Usually loners - entrepreneurs generally prefer a solitary work environment as opposed to teamwork.
=> Professional - entrepreneurs are professional in their approach to work. They operate as they would in a corporate environment and don't allow themselves to be distracted by outside influences.
=> High energy - entrepreneurs have a plan and a vision and they work it. Entrepreneurs are often health-conscious too, recognizing that the fitter they are, the better their minds work. So
entrepreneurs will take time from their schedule to work out and eat well.
=> Flexible - entrepreneurs are nothing if not responsive to change. Although they appreciate the importance of having a plan and working that plan, they allow themselves room to react and respond to opportunities that may suddenly reveal themselves.
=> Nurture entrepreneurial spirit - entrepreneurs seek out and nurture the entrepreneurial spirit in their employees and reward them accordingly.
=> Confident goal-setters - entrepreneurs are confident and set long-term goals, both for themselves personally and their businesses. They view money and financial security as a measure of accomplishment and a source of peace of mind.
=> Persistent - entrepreneurs never give up. They persist until they succeed.
=> Learn from failure - entrepreneurs learn from their failures and those of others. Failure to an entrepreneur is nothing more than an opportunity waiting to be discovered.
=> Self responsibility - entrepreneurs take the initiative and personal responsibility for their success or failure (which is always a merely temporary state).
=> Resource utilization - entrepreneurs utilize ALL of their available resources.
=> Internal locus of control - entrepreneurs don't believe in luck. They firmly believe that success and failure lies within their personal control or influence.
persistence, decisiveness, willingness for personal sacrifice.
starter with high standards, ability to aspire others, superior learner and
teacher, not a loner, reliable and possessing high integrity.
customer needs, market driven, obsessed with value creation and enhancement.
risk taker, risk minimiser, tolerance of uncertainty and lack of structure,
tolerance of stress and conflict, ability to solve problems and integrate
open-minded, lateral thinker, dissatisfied with status-quo, ability to adapt and
change, creative problem solver, lack of fear of failure.
and results orientation, drive to achieve and grow, low need for status and
power, aware of strengths and weaknesses.
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