Hello dear reader, this week we would be reviewing certain questions you can use to evaluate your readiness as a budding or intending entrepreneur. We would be reviewing a book by Jack & Suzy Welch – Winning: The Answers. (Chapter 54).
AM I AN ENTREPRENEUR?
I am currently a consultant with a small organizational development firm, but I dream about starting my own business. How do I know if I have what it takes to be an entrepreneur? I always experience such conflicting emotions when it comes to this issue. —JOHANNESBURG, SOUTH AFRICA
“Your conflicting emotions concern you; they concern us too—a lot. Being an entrepreneur without ambivalence is a tough road. It’s got to be twice as tough with it!
Still, the idea intrigues you enough to ask what it takes to be an entrepreneur. Your question alone proves you understand a fundamental truth about business: entrepreneurs really are a breed apart from company types. Incidentally, there’s no value judgment in that statement. Both kinds of lives can be totally fulfilling. But they’re different. So, here are four questions. If you answer yes to them all, forget your mixed emotions and get out there on your own. You’ve got the makings of an entrepreneur.
1. Do you have a great new idea that makes your product or service compelling to customers in a way no competitor can match?
Sometimes people are attracted to the “lifestyle” of entrepreneurs—control, autonomy, the possibility of huge wealth, and all that— but they don’t really have the blockbuster idea to make it actually occur. Real entrepreneurs not only have a unique value proposition for the marketplace, they are madly in love with it. They passionately believe they have discovered the greatest thing since gravity, and now all they have to do is sell it to the whole wide waiting world.
2. Do you have the stamina to hear “no” over and over again and keep smiling?
Entrepreneurs spend a lot of their time asking (and sometimes even begging) venture capitalists, banks, and other investors for money. Often they get a stick in the eye. Now, no one likes getting rejected, but entrepreneurs have the resilience not to be daunted by it. The best of the lot even get energized by the experience; hearing no only makes them get out there and sell their idea even harder.
3. Do you hate uncertainty?
If so, stop reading here. Entrepreneurs spend more time in blind alleys than stray cats, if not chasing dollars, chasing new technology or service concepts, not to mention everything else they need to build a business. If not in blind alleys, they’re aboard a leaky boat on choppy seas—or put more plainly, they are often running out of money while betting on the unknown. If you’re an entrepreneur, that actually sounds like, well, fun.
4. Do you have the personality to attract bright people to chase your dream with you?
Early on as an entrepreneur, of course, you may work alone. But with any kind of success, you are going to need to hire great people whom you can’t pay very much. To do that, you need the special talent of making people love your dream as much as you do. You need the ability to convert employees into true believers.
We certainly don’t want to discourage anyone from starting his or her own business. The free markets depend on entrepreneurs; they’re the lifeblood of healthy economies everywhere. Just know, however, that going out on your own is a radical departure from any company job you’ve ever had.
Stay put if that worries you—and get going if it excites you to no end”
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