Entrepreneurs aren’t normal

If you are normal, this isn’t for you.

Many people who run businesses – even their own business – are not entrepreneurs.
And not all entrepreneurs run businesses.

Do you have to be a natural born entrepreneur to run a small business successfully?  Can an entrepreneur work in a corporation?

What makes a person an entrepreneur?

Entrepreneurial spirit

Entrepreneurial spirit is what sets the true entrepreneur apart from ‘normal’ people.  Entrepreneurial spirit  is the attitude that makes the difference.

So what type of person are you?  How do you know whether you are an entrepreneur or normal?  Do you think and function like an entrepreneur?

very few are truly entrepreneurs
Very few people are truly entrepreneurs

If you answer yes to most of the following questions then you probably have entrepreneurial spirit:

  • Are you confident in yourself, do you believe in yourself, do you believe that you can succeed at what you do?
  • Can you make important decisions – under pressure and on the spot?  Can you ask: Is this the ‘right’ thing to do?
  • Can you accept and solve problems innovatively and effectively?
  • How good is your time-management, are you organised and focused?  Can you prioritise and implement?  Are you focused and not easily distracted?
  • Are you confident with people, do you work well with people?  Can you network?
  • Do you work smarter not harder?  It’s hard enough just being an entrepreneur, can you find innovative ways to do the job better?
  • Are you happy to keep learning new ideas?
  • Not everybody is a natural entrepreneur, are you willing to work on your entrepreneurial weaknesses?

By the way, did you notice, we didn’t once ask: Do you want to make lots of money?  That’s because that is not one of the characteristics that defines a successful entrepreneur.

Goal oriented

Successful entrepreneurs tend to be goal oriented.  They turn their ideas into reality:  They don’t just dream them, they make them happen!

Entrepreneurs know that its not so much about what you are (eg sales manager), but what you can do (I really do get people to want my products).

Its not so much about your job but about the business opportunities that you can identify or create and exploit.

And its not so much about doing it all yourself, its about collaborating with others who have the money, the expertise, the network that you need to get it done done.  A wise African proverb goes: It takes a village to raise a child.  It’s just as true for a business.

Making decisions

Being entrepreneurial has more to do with how you make decisions, especially how you address challenges.  If you have a business and enough customers that your cashflow ticks over comfortably each month, that’s OK.  What do you do when a competitor moves into your market and takes away some of your turnover?  The entrepreneur will come up with an innovative solution to this problem.  Could you?

And you will never retire.  Its not because of an inadequate pension, your entrepreneurial spirit won’t let you.  When you reach ‘retirement age’, there will always be one more challenge that you will want to – need to – conquer.  The challenge may not be in business; you may go into politics or sport, maybe you will help a charity or an NGO.

Where does it come from?

Where does this entrepreneurial spirit come from?  A part of your brain, the amygdala, has evolved to protect you from danger.  It is responsible for ensuring fear of, and resistance to, change.  It helps make sure that the things that you do are boring and safe.  The entrepreneur in you has to overcome this natural resistance.  Because most people accept the fear of change as normal, that opens opportunities for people who have the courage to rise to meet challenges, for people who know that there has to be another way, a better way.

Which of them is you?

Characteristics of Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Make informed decisions

Successful entrepreneurs don’t just take reckless gambles, they have the courage to make informed decisions, they take calculated risks.  They know that if they fail, there is no-one to fall back on, there is no plan B.

Having entrepreneurial spirit is not enough though.  Standard Bank BizConnect says that around 80% of businesses will be gone within five years of starting.  Why?  The main weakness of an entrepreneur: lack of business knowledge & experience.  Ask yourself the hard question: is your business succeeding because of, or in spite of you?

Click here if you want to discuss what it means to be an entrepreneur

First posted: 2015/01/19  Updated: 2021/11/23
Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0
Creative Commons: Attribution-ShareAlike

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