Many readers have asked me to write about what constitutes a successful entrepreneur in this column.
So that I don’t mislead you, the reference presented for success embodies the actual launch of an entrepreneurial new venture, not necessarily earning mountains of money as a benchmark.
That said, let me offer you a sketch of Mr Okanagan Entrepreneur.
In past columns, I have invited readers to embrace the notion that an entrepreneur is a person who looks at the world the same as you and I, but thinks differently about how to grasp a perceived business opportunity.
What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur? How does an entrepreneur think? Is your personal profile similar to that of a successful entrepreneur?
The simple truth the literature tells us is that the majority of us are not born leaders, but become entrepreneurial leaders by who we are and the actions we take.
So be willing to open your mind, your heart and your sense of reasoning as you consider whether these characteristics are part of your driving force. If they’re not yet ingrained in you in some fashion, I would recommend that you give them greater serious thought.
Let’s now take a brief look at the distinguishing characteristics of effective leadership including those entrepreneurial in nature.
• a global perspective —appreciates differences across cultures, learns from and finds a common ground
• an entrepreneurial spirit—not afraid to try new ideas and puts a combinations of ideas together to make things happen
• an enterprise design capability—able to put deals together, structure alliances and relationships and build organizations
• a teacher—people in any organization need to learn new things by those leading them
• a fundamental value system—integrity, honesty, respect for the dignity of others, and responsibility .
I will now give you the shorter version of entrepreneurial characteristics that are quite worth rating yourself on as you consider an entrepreneurial pursuit:
Am I an entrepreneur?
Drive and energy—the ability to work long hours for sustained periods with less than the normal amount of sleep.
Self-confidence—a genuine belief in yourself and your ability to achieve your determined goals as an aspiring entrepreneur.
Setting challenging but realistic goals—the ability to set clear goals and objectives that are challenging, yet realistic and feasible are worthwhile attributes in any manner of behaviour.
Long term involvement—a strong commitment to projects and initiatives that may reach completion in multi-year targets.
Use money as a performance measurement—money, in the form of salaries, profits or capital gain ought to be viewed as a measure of how your enterprise is performing rather than as an end in itself.
Persistent problem-solving—must possess an intense and determined desire to solve problems toward completion of tasks; the core essence of entrepreneurial creation is seeking problems and finding solutions.
Taking moderate risks—success is generally the result of calculated risk-taking that provides a reasonable and challenging chance of success.
Learning from failure—understanding your role in a failure can be very beneficial in avoiding similar situations in the future and establish a clarity for your personal growth.
Using criticism—you will need to be able to seek and use criticism of the style and substance of your performance At times a bitter pill but acceptance of constructive criticism is acceptance of your willingness to grow and become a true entrepreneurial leader.
I would like to conclude by saying that successful entrepreneurs never give up. It is not in their vocabulary.
There may be days when an existing or aspiring entrepreneur feels discouraged or disappointed, but giving up is not an option.
Having faith, trust, confidence and determination with some love thrown in the mix are the qualities needed.
To keep their focus on track, they will often seek out the support of those who know them, encourage them and bring out their natural enthusiasm.
I believe we have shared a pretty solid recipe for personal growth and change, and hopefully the beginnings of unleashing your “entrepreneurial spirit.”