Entrepreneur. It’s a buzzword and one of the must-have self-descriptors for anyone in business. If you want to succeed, you need to possess that special entrepreneurial ethos.
But is it something you are born with? Is it down to luck? Or can you simply learn to be a giant in business? More importantly, what steps do you need to take to get you there?
Before you think that the following template is going to help, you may want to bear in mind what Richard Branson, who left school at the age of 16, says about entrepreneurship:
“No two successful entrepreneurs are the same. In fact, it’s their individuality and different ways of thinking that make them successful.”
While there may be no set rules for eventual success, you can put in place the right building blocks to begin with. You’ll have a better chance of getting there and making a go of your business.
Branson points to 5 attributes that all successful entrepreneurs possess, despite their differences in character. You need to be able and willing to take calculated risks for one; learn from your mistakes and generally be able to see the big picture and where you fit into it are two others. Great entrepreneurs are also pretty good communicators and have an uncanny ability to pick the right people to work with. Finally, they delegate effectively.
Here are some other key personal attributes (and there’s more here) that you’ll need if you’re going to be successful:
- Enthusiasm: Whatever your project, it must set a fire inside you. If you can’t be positive and enthusiastic about your business, how can you expect other people to follow?
- Learning: You have to learn to walk before you can run. The biggest thing that plays a part in failure is that budding entrepreneurs often expect to achieve their success all at once. This rarely happens.
- Resilience: Be prepared to get it wrong. It’s going to happen. Even highly successful entrepreneurs like Bill Gates and Elon Musk have got it badly wrong. You learn from your mistakes and you have to be able to pick yourself up, dust yourself down and get on with it.
- Communication: You must be able to put your ideas across in an exciting and informative way. You have to be able to convince people to take the journey with you.
Of course, it’s great to sit and dream about building your own business. Succeeding is not a downhill glide, it’s an uphill struggle.
Most new businesses fail within the first two to three years. Is this stark statistic down to the individual or the business they’ve chosen to go into? According to research in Australia, one of the major reasons that businesses fail is that they have started with a bad idea in the first place. That’s generally because they fail to look at their project beyond the veil of their own enthusiasm.
Can You Learn Entrepreneurship?
One other reason why entrepreneurs fail when they first start out is that they just haven’t learned the right skills. Some gather these vital parts of the jigsaw as they go along – famously learning from their mistakes and adjusting their approach accordingly. Some, unfortunately, dive headlong into their new endeavor and then lose heart once they’ve hit a brick wall.
Education comes in many forms. You might, for example, choose a specific course like an MBA, which sets you up for a career in entrepreneurship and business generally. Becoming an entrepreneur involves learning some serious business skills. So going to business school could be the right place to start for you before you start working towards a specific goal.
Another way to learn how to be a good entrepreneur is to take advice from the best. You can build your skills and knowledge by getting involved in networks either locally or online that can give you access to some of the best in the business. Many entrepreneurs are willing to pass on advice and guidance and this is a valuable resource you don’t want to miss out on.
The key is to understand what you need to learn and how it will benefit you both now and in the future. If your communication skills need work, then you can find a course to improve. Perhaps you want to add basic accounting skills or understand how marketing works for your business. You can learn a various aspect of running a business online or through a structured course. The important point is this: successful entrepreneurs are always, always learning even when they’ve finally made a success of things.
Success: Luck or Hard Work?
That old adage that success is 10% hard work and 90% luck is not entirely true. The truth is that successful entrepreneurs get where they want to be through hard work. Yes, there’s luck involved but you need to make your own. More importantly, if you believe everything is down to the roll of a dice then you are less likely to put in the effort when your business project encounters difficulties.
Luck may play a part in life but spotting that perfect opportunity is still vital when it comes to entrepreneurial success. That’s what the best and most successful business men and women are good at. Once a chance has been recognized, it’s a matter of taking that calculated risk. It’s all about not being afraid to take that chance.
In other words, great entrepreneurs make their own luck.
Being Prepared to Fail
None of us like to get it wrong and none of us really likes to fail. The difference between everyday people and successful entrepreneurs is that the latter thrives on failure. That doesn’t mean they don’t get hurt. Getting a business venture wrong can be damaging to your confidence as well as your bank balance. That doesn’t stop the dedicated entrepreneur from getting up off their backside and starting again.
As Biz Stone, co-creator of Twitter once said:
“Timing, perseverance, and ten years of trying will eventually make you look like an overnight success.”
There are a lot of elements involved in becoming a successful entrepreneur and people get to the end destination in a million of different ways. You might be content with forging ahead, making your mistakes and starting again until you get it right. You may need to back yourself with some heavy duty education and work experience before you start. Whichever route you choose, perseverance is the one personal quality you are definitely going to require.
In the end, entrepreneurs are the people who don’t give up. They may crash and burn once in a while, but they always get up and return to the fight. That’s really what sets them apart.