Until recently, Entrepreneurs were not well thought of. As recent as the 80’s we looked on them as un-educated business men involved in shady dealings. There was a general lack of knowledge and information about what makes them successful.
Big business was the place to be, now that’s all changed. Our generation and the ones after us expect so much more from our career/work than our parents did. We want money, satisfaction, self expression and flexible hours such as a 4 day work week and tele-commuting. We have more small business than ever before in our U.S. history. In addition, smaller businesses are now attracting great employees and competing with the corporate world by offering those employees exactly what they want.
Today we have books, courses and business coaches in abundance. Some universities now offer courses and degrees in entrepreneurship. Business professionals have vast resources and as a whole we have learned a lot about what it takes to become a successful entrepreneur. I realize there is probably no such thing as the perfect entrepreneurial profile, I have noticed that there are many characteristics that seem to show up repeatedly in my work as a business coach. So from my work with hundreds of entrepreneurs as a coach and trainer, this is my summary.
Successful Entrepreneurs are, have or do
Available-In small business, where there is no depth of management, the owner must be present to win. They can’t afford a support staff to cover all business roles, and therefore need to either work long hours; have very talented people or both.
Self-Motivated-Entrepreneurs do not function well in structred organizations and do not like someone having authority over them. Rules, bureaucracy and politics frustrate them. This is often what leads them to start their own business. They ejoy creating business strategies and thrive on the process of achieving their goals. Once they obtain a goal, they quickly move to a greater goal. They constantly look to the future vision of the business. They have a compelling drive to do their own thing in their own way. The value freedom over money.
Well-Being-Successful Entrepreneurs are physically sound and in good health. They can work for extended periods of time as needed. They understand the relationship between a healthy body and a sharp mind.
Practical-Pragmatic-Entrepreneurs can accept what is and what is not and deal with issues accordingly. They may or may not be idealistic, but they are rarely unrealistic. They want to know the facts and condition of a given situation at all times. They may be too trusting (because they are often idealist) and may not be sufficiently skeptical in their business dealings with other people.
Embrace Ambiguity-Entrepreneurs identify problems and begin working on their solution faster than other people. Uncertainty does not bother them because their Healthy Ego feels challenged and likes to solve problems. They are the natural “go to” person in the group or business.
Intelligence-Successful Entrepreneurs think fast on their feet. They can comprehend complex problems and circumstances that may require planning, strategy, or working on multiple business ideas at once. They have vision and are aware of important factors to conside. They are open minded and will consider different perspectives. They seem flexible and are not afraid to change direction when failing.
Healthy Ego-Entrepreneurs are confident when they feel in control of what they’re doing and often like to work alone. They tackle problems head on and quickly with confidence. They are persistent in problem solving and are not afraid of smart risks. They do well with adversity, because they thrive on their own level of confidence. Someone saying or thinking they can’t pull it off doesn’t bother them at all.
Urgency-Entrepreneurs have a sense of urgency. They havedrive and high energy levels, they are achievement-oriented, and they are tireless in the pursuit of their goals. Idleness makes them impatient, on edge, and anxious. They thrive on activity and are not likely to be found at the nail salon or golf corse. When they are in the entrepreneurial mode, they are more likely to be found getting things done instead of all the other “to-do’s”.
Emotional Stability-Successful Entrepreneurs can handle stress and are even having fun! They are challenged rather than discouraged by setbacks or failures. Entrepreneurs are surprisingly uncomfortable when things are going well. This is when thewill probay find a new project on which to focus their creative energy.
Ability to let go-Entrepreneurs are not always the best “people” people. They are often impatient and drive themselves and everyone around them. They also resist delegating key decisions or responsibilities. My favorite coaching question for the Entrepreneur is “who can help you with this?” It shakes them up every time. It is not uncommon for the Entrepreneur to do the books, drive business development and buy the office supplies.
As the business grows and becomes an organization, Entrepreneurs go through a classic crisis (this is usually when they call us). They have become the bottle neck: their want for control has made it hard for them to hand over authority i the way that a growing business demands. Their strong direct approach makes them more likely to seek information directly from the source, bypassing the structured chains of authority and resposibility. Their interpersonal skills, which were adequate during the start-up phase, will cause them problems as they try to adjust and free themelves from the day to day operations. Cash flow, retention and low morale are symptoms of this issue.
Do you recognize yourself? Did you locate your likely strengths as an Entrepreneur? Did you identify potential barriers to your success? Awareness matters here. Focus on your strengths, be aware of your weaknesses and go for it!