Posts Tagged ‘perseverance’

On Being an Entrepreneur

Sunday, June 13th, 2010

Over the years I’ve done several entrepreneurship programs for universities and colleges. I find it very interesting the academic perspective on entrepreneurship. Often they are missing key elements. It’s one thing to read case studies and talk about serial entrepreneurs, but it is quite another to actually go out and do it. Here are my top ten things I’ve noticed and experienced being a serial entrepreneur for almost 50 years (my first gig was selling donuts door-to-door in my neighborhood when I was 7.)

1) Entrepreneurs are more concerned with how the business works than working in the business. They understand the processes and find employees to carry them out.

2) There’s a big difference between being a business owner and being self empolyeed. Those who have worked for others and start a business based on what they love to do often get trapped in a well paying “job” they’ve created for themselves. Over the years I’ve even found myself trapped this way. The test of a business vs self employement is if you went away for a week or a month, would your business be bigger and still healthy when you came back. The second test is whether you have a driving need to get a paycheck every other week. The security of a paycheck isn’t what drives entrepreneurs.

3) Entrepreneurs aren’t concerned with what other people think about their plans. They may get 70% of the planning done according to textbook lessons, but the remaining 30% is sheer gut reaction that this is going to work.

4) They are ACTION oriented versus being overly concerned with defining every possible contingency. It’s very common for those with corporate, academic, or government experience to become trapped in paralysis by analysis. They lose the opportunity because they took too long to launch and someone else beat them to it.

5) Entrepeneurs aren’t afraid to fail. In fact, failing fast is one of the main objectives. They get most of it right and then fix what isn’t working as quickly as possible. They recognize that you can’t wait around to get everything right. Get it mostly right and pull the trigger. They know what the KPI (Key Performance Indicators) are for their business and what’s necessary for them to be successful. They have defined success in advance and what the indicators are for success.

6) They know that success isn’t an overnight, flash-in-the-pan. Sure it’s possible to hit one out of the park occasionally, but most businesses require steady improvement. They know what the milestones are and the time associated to get there is.

7) There are no 8-5 hours. Entrepreneurs are focused and all in. There is an adrenaline rush with working 16 - 18 hr days during start-up and growth. It becomes much more manageable when the initial rollout has taken place. This is alot like a Product Launch, but on a much grander scale. This is what drives the serial entrepreneur, the excitement and rush of the rollout. Hard work and long hours define the entrepreneur.

8) They recognize that the success of the venture depends on having people smarter than themselves running the key elements of the team. They concentrate on orchestration and coaching while they keep an eye on meeting the key objectives.

9) They recognize there are going to be set-backs and disappointments along the way, but it doesn’t matter. It’s part of the process. They also know what will be the deal killers and avoid those at all costs.

10) Most of all, they are persistent and tenacious. Perseverance and tenacity combined with gut instinct will win out almost every time. Even well funded, more experienced competitors will lose out when dealing with pit bull determination.