Unlike most managers in large, stable organizations, entrepreneurs often must exercise many roles while exploring and launching their entrepreneurial venture.
Roughly speaking, in the following sequential order, such roles are played out almost daily by existing and aspiring entrepreneurs on their journey to personal change—visualizer, planner, resource gatherer, resource organizer, sales/marketing guru and administrator.
So how does he or she entrepreneur do it? By working heroic hours? By delegating tasks to others? By being an inexplicable genius? Often, the answer to all those questions is yes.
The visualizer role is central. An entrepreneur is someone who can look at products and services and visualize what others don’t see, opportunities to create a new value product or service.
As I have said many times before in this column, it’s looking at the world the same as everyone else, but thinking, acting and behaving differently.
The planner aspect requires drive to bring the perceived entrepreneurial opportunity toward reality. The budding entrepreneur plans each move and generally works by themselves initially, but uses acquaintances and self-developed networks to gather information, advice, emotional and intellectual support.
As the resource gatherer, this role is often seen as ambiguous. Tasks and resources have to be identified, divided, co-ordinated and delegated. The entrepreneur decides which tasks will be accomplished through his or her own abilities and by others.
Inevitably along the entrepreneurial journey comes the role of sales and marketing. How is this product or service going to generate revenue?
Amusing but often true, it is often said at this stage, the entrepreneur is the product or service offered.
Then comes the role of the administrator—you create something, you grow it, you search for your competitive advantage, then you tie it down tightly, making it as efficient as possible.
The entrepreneur needs to find that new value, which, as stated earlier, requires looking at things differently.
Most companies with new ideas, I have often observed, fail because they could not work from the idea through to the opportunity, launch and growth stages.
The windows of opportunity for any entrepreneur to launch a new business may be limited—the product, the customer or the financial investment.
While the roles an entrepreneur will be diverse in the journey to make a vision into a reality.
The sheer joy of creativity and innovation excites; to go from a new-found idea to a living, breathing organization is a feat of creativity which to an entrepreneur rivals anything in arts and sciences.
From seemingly nothing, the entrepreneur has willed something special into existence, a business art form that provides a lifetime of gratification.
To watch a creation grow and prosper is as rewarding as the pot of gold at the end of the entrepreneurial journey rainbow.
So please always remember, entrepreneurship is not for the faint-hearted; there is no magic formula.
But for those willing to work hard, avoid the perilous pitfalls and take a chance, dreams can come true.