So you think you’re an entrepreneur? Do you have a vision? Are you passionate about this vision of yours? Do you believe that you’ve just stumbled upon the next biggest thing since Microsoft? If you do, then we could, at the very least, conclude that you do possess a certain entrepreneurial trait. You, just like all entrepreneurs, think big. But you aren’t a certified entrepreneur just yet. There’s more to an entrepreneur than just a big dream or a grand idea.
If anything, what distinguishes entrepreneurs from the rest is their drive to act and go for that dream. They aren’t just talkers. They are movers. What sets them apart further is how they move.
“ 8 Patterns of Highly Effective Entrepreneurs” dissects the minds and habits of some of today’s remarkable entrepreneurs and gives you an insider on what it takes to be an entrepreneur. If you find these patterns in you, welcome to the club.
First: Entrepreneurs have an aptitude for spotting and seizing opportunities.
If you read the first pattern carefully, you’ll notice that this pattern has two elements in it. First is spotting the opportunity and second, seizing it. These are two entirely different things. The first is seeing an opportunity. The second is acting on the first. Entrepreneurs always do both. They see. They move.
Entrepreneurs have a gift for noticing things. They see the extraordinary in the ordinary. They are able to find opportunities that are hidden in plain sight. To entrepreneurs, there is no such thing as a problem. To them, problems are opportunities just waiting to be unlocked.
It’s not so much about finding a solution that makes one an entrepreneur. Anyone can find a solution to any problem. What defines an entrepreneur is his or her ability to find unconventional solutions to ordinary problems. Being unconventional means he doesn’t have to invent some new technology. He just has to find an innovative and creative way of doing things.
Second: Entrepreneurs have a compulsion to be in charge and, tied to that, they have a gift for leadership.
Entrepreneurs are loyal to one, and only one, boss: themselves. They reject authority. Sure they’ve all been employed at some point in time in their lives and it was most likely at that time that they affirmed their need to run their own show. They just can’t stand taking orders from someone else or work under a system that isn’t theirs.
Entrepreneurs want to be in charge. No, they need to be in charge. This need is not so much of a thirst for power; rather, it’s a cry for freedom. They need to have that flexibility to do things their way and at their pace. They want that freedom in controlling their own lives, ergo, their own businesses.
This need to be in charge without being power hungry highlights entrepreneurs’ ability to lead. Entrepreneurs are born leaders. They lead by example and by action. Their being ethical and honest earns them respect. Moreover, they aren’t respected because of rank: They are respected because of who they are.
Being the natural born leaders that they are, entrepreneurs know how to inspire their colleagues and employees. Entrepreneurs make each person working for them feel important. They hire good people, give them enough breathing room to perform their jobs well, and above all else, treat them with respect. They value loyalty, they listen, they mentor rather than criticize.
The result: good karma. Everything comes back to them two fold. First, because they are such good leaders, people stay with these entrepreneurs. Their companies have very low attrition rates. People work better with and for them. These entrepreneurs have a very productive workforce.
Second, as a result of entrepreneurs being good listeners, they learn a lot and are able to apply these learnings to their businesses.
As gracious as these entrepreneurs are, they do know that they will not tolerate poor performance. It’s always a fair trade. As much as they give to their employees, they expect their employees to do their jobs well.
Third: A history of innovative activities dating back to childhood.
Entrepreneurs aren’t made overnight. Then again, are entrepreneurs even made at all? Can anyone be molded into entrepreneurs or are entrepreneurs born entrepreneurs?
There have been debates left and right about the existence of a hereditary entrepreneurial gene. As entrepreneurs might attest; “it runs in the blood.” The antithesis however is that it’s the environment that one grows up in that turns him or her into a full blooded entrepreneur. Although science claims of no such entrepreneurial gene, it does acknowledge genetic predispositions to certain behaviors that might be considered entrepreneurial. The best example of this hereditary trait for instance is high energy levels.
These hereditary traits alone however do not guarantee one’s becoming as an entrepreneur. And this is where the environment comes into play. Children who grow up with small-business role models, encouraged to pursue creative activities, and are instilled with a risk-taking mentality are most likely to become entrepreneurs.
Whatever the case, entrepreneurs are definitely molded by experience. And their turning into entrepreneurs often always begins with their acquaintance to sales. All entrepreneurs will have done some selling during their youth. They loved it then and continue to love it now. Entrepreneurs will always have that passion for marking up prices beyond all reason.
Entrepreneurs are nimble. They can instantaneously adapt to any given situation at any given point in time. That is their competitive advantage. Their being quick on their feet, their tolerance for ambiguity and willingness to just go for it, coupled with the absence of a higher authority, allows for split-second business decisions. Since ‘no’ or ‘can’t’ is never an option for entrepreneurs, anything is possible with them; and that’s what gets them their clients.
Entrepreneurs show single-mindedness and open-mindedness at the same time. They have their eyes dead-set on their targets, their goals, but are also ready to change course in a moment’s notice should the facts prove this to be the better alternative.
Their innate agility however nests a paradox in itself. While in the start-up stages of their business, this flexibility in running their businesses is what keeps these companies ahead of the game. But as the businesses grow, they become more structured, more bureaucratic and slower to react to changes and to the needs of their consumers. At this point, entrepreneurs must figure out a way to either stay nimble or get the best offer for what they’ve started, bail out, and start a new venture altogether.
Entrepreneurs are go-getters. They are energetic, indefatigable, patient, persistent, and persevering in reaching their goals. They never give up-- they just keep on charging along, full speed ahead.
There is no such thing as time off for an entrepreneur. The moment an idea (and they’re always looking for one) hits them, their off to work. Entrepreneurs just can’t sit still, they quickly get bored and impatient with inactivity and the slightest resemblance to a routine.
Being focused is far from being stubborn. Entrepreneurs know where to draw the line between faith in their product and mere obsession to a lost cause.
Sixth: Enthusiasm that borders on the delusional for a product.
Entrepreneurs believe in their products, ardently. They talk about them as if they were their children. They have faith that this idea of theirs, this product, this service, will take the world by storm.
The only thing that will limit just how big a product can be seemingly lies in the entrepreneur’s own estimation. Entrepreneurs never ask themselves if their brainchild will make it big. Big is already a given to them. But are they thinking big enough? That’s the million dollar question.
It may seem that entrepreneurs have their head in the clouds when it comes to how highly they think of their products. But make no mistake, they still have their feet firmly planted on the ground. True they may be a wee bit delusional in thinking their companies will someday make it to the Fortune 500 but that’s just really part of it: you can’t reach the stars if you don’t even fantasize about reaching it. Behind all this dreaming and big talk, entrepreneurs will always have done their research for their products and studies of their markets. This justifies all their dreams of grandeur.
This may sound contradictory to entrepreneurs being ever so optimistic about their product, but as a check and balance to their big dreams, entrepreneurs are pragmatic. They constantly are their own devil’s advocate. And just as much as they say “this is going to be big” they also keep asking themselves “is this really going to work?”
Entrepreneurs are practical. Their solutions, inventions and innovations may always be unique and surprising but are, more than anything else, practical nonetheless. That’s why they are such big hits.
Some might contest that pragmatism goes against the idea of entrepreneur’s being risk takers. Actually, their being calculating risk takers supports their being pragmatic. Entrepreneurs do gamble but never do they go on reckless gambles. This is where their being pragmatic kicks in: by the time they take the plunge and give it all they got, entrepreneurs would have evaluated the risks, the probabilities, the opportunity costs a hundred times over.
Eighth: A knack for viewing setbacks as opportunities.
Failure is essential to the success of entrepreneurs. That’s because to them, failing is just another opportunity for learning. Entrepreneurs know how to step back and analyze what went wrong. They then get back on their feet and charge back into the game with a better appreciation for things, ready to take on the next challenge.
Entrepreneurs take pride in their failures. Well not the exact failure itself, rather they rise back from the deepest recesses of their blunders. The harder the fall, the better the story: It’s more icing on the cake to just recount how well managed such a setback.
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