Separating truth from fiction can be difficult, but here are eight essential truths extracted from entrepreneurial encounters and experiences.
There are a host of competency studies, research into the characteristics and personalities of entrepreneurs, plus a steady stream of books analysing the careers of successful entrepreneurs. Separating truth from fiction can be difficult, but here are eight essential truths extracted from my entrepreneurial encounters and experiences:
1. Not everyone who says they are an entrepreneur is one.
Over the years I have talked with hundreds of would-be and practising entrepreneurs. I have started businesses and closed them. I have ideas for still more businesses on a daily basis. Am I an entrepreneur? I think not. Being an entrepreneur is not an occasional indulgence or distraction. It is more fundamental – something in your bloodstream. For this reason, I am always slightly wary of people who introduce themselves as entrepreneurs. To real entrepreneurs, being an entrepreneur is something they are, rather than something they merely do.
2. Entrepreneurs are turned on by businesses that work – they’re not slaves to a big idea.
We all have ideas for new businesses. What separates entrepreneurs from the millions of people with bright ideas is their willingness to make the idea a reality. They are driven and practical. So much so that, as John Mullins’ work suggests, they are quite willing to ditch their brilliant idea and business plan if they think that Plan B has a better chance of success. They are pragmatists who are, above everything else, interested in creating a business that works. That’s the real entrepreneurial buzz. Ideas are cheap; turning them into something viable and robust is much more demanding.
3. Entrepreneurs exhibit pure ambition.
The ambition of entrepreneurs sounds and feels purer. Usually, it is like comparing tap water to melted mountain snow water. Entrepreneurs see success in terms of changing the world or altering the marketplace. They want to make the world a better place and tend not to talk about money as a motivator. Instead it is a necessary commercial lubricant rather than a vital life force.