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Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur?

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Having been an active entrepreneur since 1979, I can look back and reflect on the driving forces that keep my internal GPS calibrated to live this roller coaster ride without a map or track. I can compare my entrepreneurial life with traditional work environments, as I spent 18 years with a major corporation prior to serving worldwide businesses with my skills and competencies as an entrepreneur. Naturally, I tend to hang out with other entrepreneurs like me, the “birds of a feather flock together” syndrome. I hope that my experience, insights and Ideas will nudge new entrepreneurs to launch into this crazy and wonderful field of endeavor.

Being an entrepreneur is not for everyone and certainly not for the faint hearted. It’s definitely not an easy, guaranteed path to success. The word “entrepreneur” makes me wonder if the “neur” (neuron) part deals with using your brainpower to form new enterprises. True entrepreneurs create products, services and businesses, characterized by something new, better, different or having higher value. By definition, the entrepreneur’s pathway is an experiment because the concepts, ideas and outcomes are unproven. The territory and domain of entrepreneurs is the unknown. They must have fortitude, faith and vision to follow this life pathway. True entrepreneurs know and understand the magnetism and exhilaration of exploration and discovery. They experience disappointment, setbacks, loss, risk and the full spectrum of human emotion, perhaps more than anyone else does. They can rarely explain to others why they do what they do; they just know they were born to be on this path.

Being a “me too,” or replicating what someone else has accomplished with a sustainable profit, is not, in my mind, being a true entrepreneur. I enthusiastically encourage and support launching small businesses using established and proven business models; franchises are a good example. Adding more locations or factories to meet market demand is also an example of replication. Small business is the true core and catalyst for economic growth and job opportunities. At one time, however, every successful small business began as the entrepreneurial dream and pursuit of someone wanting to break out of the norm and do something different. There are opportunities to use the “entrepreneurial spirit” to make continuous improvement in businesses of all sizes.

The following is a short list of characteristics of true entrepreneurs that I have observed in fellow compatriots and myself.

  • Passion to do something that they are unable to do working for someone else
  • Vision and “gut feel” for creating something new that has enduring value
  • Knowledge of their personal strengths and limitations without allowing limitations to limit them
  • Resiliency and determination in the face of adversity and failure
  • “Never, ever give up” attitude (A Winston Churchill quote)
  • Instinct for what to do and who to go to for help
  • “Ready, Fire, Aim” may be a way of life with increasingly better outcomes over time

In conclusion, entrepreneurs make the world a better place to live, learn, grow and prosper. They spawn small businesses that become the larger businesses that power our world economic engine. Entrepreneurs are the leading edge for change. Let’s honor, respect and support these brave men and women, who may appear foolish at times, but have a dream and dare to live it.

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Being an entrepreneur is a courageous thing. It’s easier to succeed and avoid the pitfalls when you are working with your strengths, rather than working against them. When you know your strengths, you can leverage them for maximum effect and fill-in the gaps with the strengths of your support people. Performing work that isn’t aligned with your strengths is more difficult, frustrating, stressful, not to mention, no fun at all! Besides, you know how important it is to use your available time wisely. Your personalized Brain PathWays report gives you practical neuroscience tools, based on your brain strengths to “be the best you can be.” Click to purchase your Brain PathWays online self-assessment and download your report today.

10 comments on “Do You Have What It Takes To Be An Entrepreneur?

  1. J Fox
    October 19, 2011

    You said that replicating an already successful business model is not being a true entrepreneur, and I agree. When I think of an entrepreneur I think of someone who wants to change the world with their idea. Replicating businesses are for businessmen – not entrepreneurs. Most people get business owners and entrepreneurs confused, but it looks like you understand the differentiation.

    • brainpathways
      October 19, 2011

      Thanks Jakie for your kind and thoughful comments. I hope I haven’t offended the millions of courageous, hard working people who took the plunge to start a small business. I was merely trying to make a differentiation, as you so aptly said. There will be 2 more articles on entrepreneurs over the next two weeks. I hope you read them and give me your feedback. I love “sandbox honesty” and will always approve and post alternative thinking.

      Stephen Hager
      The Hadron Group
      Creators of neuroscience based human development products since 1994

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  8. stacie
    December 16, 2011

    Successful entrepreneurs like Donald Trump, Yury Mintskovsky or Mike Mann also have in common those characteristics mentioned above. You’re absolutely right, these businessmen really are the leading edge for change. I personally respect and admire these brave men because they really succeeded in their careers! great article! I enjoyed reading it!

    • brainpathways
      December 16, 2011

      Thanks Stacy. I sense you have the “entrepreneurial spirit;” takes one to know one. The Brain PathWays blog has other articles on entrepreneurs.
      I appreciate your comment and hope you return.

      Best regards,
      Stephen Hager
      The Hadron Group
      Creators of brain based human development products since 1992

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