What Makes an Entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurs - the fastest growing area of our economy. What makes these strange people, risk takers and wealth generators tick? Why do entrepreneurs take risks, endure pain, fatigue, and embarrassment? What makes them run? Is it money, fame, rock and roll or sex?
None of the above!
Entrepreneurs might want and enjoy those rewards but what drives them and what distinguishes them from an overachieving employee or salesperson is the desire to create. That's it. Are you an entrepreneur? Do you pass the test? Many overachievers are not entrepreneurs.
Leonardo Da Vinci, Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers were entrepreneurs. They had dreams to create new horizons for humanity. A vision, inspiration and most importantly the belief that, "I can do that", is the defining image of an entrepreneur.
How do you motivate an entrepreneur? Tell them, "It can't be done". Entrepreneurs love an impossible challenge. They will prove you wrong. It took Edison 10,000 attempts to create a light bulb that burned for several seconds. That persistence is the essence of an entrepreneur.
Not everyone who starts a business is an entrepreneur. Some do it out of desperation, or until they get a real job. They might become entrepreneurs one day, but they must move their mind set from 'I can't do that' to one of 'can do'.
What does it take to succeed as an entrepreneur?
The ability to learn what is needed to make your dream come true - and to acquire and apply those lessons and skills. Successful entrepreneurs go past the dream stage. Many have the potential to be successful. They have dreams, great ideas and they may even be right. But imagine if Edison quit after 1,000 attempts. He could rightly rationalize that it couldn't be done. After all who would expect him to try 1,000, 2,000 or even 5,000 times? It took 10,000. Nobody cares about the failures. The results count. We now have light bulbs.
George Cohon, senior Chairman of McDonalds Canada & McDonalds Russia, endured 14 years of negotiation and posturing to open the first McDonalds restaurant in Russia. It was the most successful grand opening they ever had. They served over 30,000 customers that first day. But it took 14 years of running around, being nice to Soviet bureaucrats and pleading with his board to get there. Cohon had no idea it would take so long but he knew he could do it. I suspect that Bill Gates was not motivated by money. The power of effecting change and growth is more intoxicating. Money is only a wonderful by-product. That is what sets entrepreneurs apart.
Entrepreneurs are dreamers. They see things that others can not. They want to create change and growth. They believe in themselves. They want to control their destiny. Successful entrepreneurs seek out, acquire and practise the skills they need to succeed. Successful entrepreneurs do what they have to, to get to where they want to be.