Young: Harnessing the spirit of business innovators

One elusive characteristic that distinguishes an entrepreneur from the crowd is their natural willingness to assume risk.

Is the entrepreneurial spirit innate or can you cultivate it?

That question often appears central to economic development since entrepreneurs, in fact, create most of the new jobs, invest and create the newest product and service technologies and build successful ventures.

When cultivating my thoughts for my column today, I came across an interesting piece of trivia I’d like to share with you.

Joseph Schumpeter, a noted economist and widely considered the father of the entrepreneurship theory, coined the German term “Unternehmergeist,” meaning  “ the entrepreneurial spirit.”

Deep down inside each of us has an entrepreneurial spirit.

The term entrepreneurship doesn’t apply strictly to our careers and the way we go about making money; it applies, I espouse, to every part of our life.

“What?” you ask. Did someone change the definition of the term entrepreneurship and forget to tell us?

Not really. Strictly speaking, entrepreneurship still refers to starting and operating one’s own entrepreneurial venture, a professional endeavour that requires independence, creativity, innovation, individuality and  risk.

But honestly, you can apply to your personal life the same skills that make you a successful entrepreneur.

In the traditional business sense, an entrepreneur is a person who doesn’t wish to be locked into a job.

He or she is someone who possesses many skills. An entrepreneur generally is not a 9-to-5 person who collects a paycheque every week or two.

Entrepreneurs all over the world, have a true and innate pioneering spirit.

They don’t just have a dream; they follow through to make it happen.

Successful entrepreneurs have their heads in the clouds and their feet on the ground.

For example, being an entrepreneur is similar to sitting in a kayak with the waves breaking over your head.

The force of the water is much greater than the force of you trying to paddle. But if you make the right moves by focusing your concentration and being diligent and careful, you can get to where you want to go.

As a serial entrepreneur myself, I’ve learned that you must paddle as fast as the current itself.

If you don’t, that current will push you sideways and take you off course. Then you become vulnerable to the waves that will flip you over.

Successful entrepreneurs feel that a life without risk is a life without living. Who wants to live a life without risks?

You will never achieve any success or happiness in life without taking risks —no matter what the subject of your focus may be.

Another key to the successful entrepreneurial spirit powering is doing something with your life that you love.

The people who are successful in business and  industry and in their personal lives are truly doing something they love to do.

You surely need to be flexible when harnessing your entrepreneurial spirit.

Sometimes, you have to follow your heart and know when to change course and investigate something new.

I often subscribe to this credo “what you may perceive to be an entrepreneurial opportunity, may not be an entrepreneurial opportunity for you, but may, in truth be —for others.”

Changing careers is difficult. You wonder if you’re throwing something away for which you studied long and hard.

It’s not smart to change merely if you don’t have a good reason.

Consider the change only if you can clearly see that it will improve your life, the lives of those you love and it makes you happy.

Harnessing the entrepreneurial spirit also means wanting to run your venture the way you may run your life.

To run a successful venture, you will want to increase the number of clients. To run a successful life, you will want to increase the number of successful friendships you may have.

The parallels are endless between an entrepreneurial venture and one’s personal life journey.

For every example of the entrepreneurial spirit in life, there is a parallel in business.

Unleashing the power of the entrepreneurial spirit means recognizing that you cannot separate the two parallels.

Being an entrepreneur is a way of life. All you need to do is get yourself into the entrepreneurial mindset, and you’ll find the “power” to make things happen.

Look around you, my friends, would the success of identifiable corporations or social organizations have come to be without the evolution of an entrepreneurial credo  to guide them?

I think not. More importantly, would they have ever come into existence without the spirit of entrepreneurship?

So, go for the gold.  Ignite and preserve the power of the entrepreneurial spirit, but  try to put in place what your company, your organization and your dream will need to grow.

You really can have your cake and eat it too, but it takes some courage and faith—and I know you have it.

In keeping with the entrepreneurial spirit, let me invite you to explore seven characteristics that will aid you to foster your entrepreneurial spirit.

Before I offer these seven pearls of wisdom,  may I also offer these words to close for this week’s column— the unusual character traits of an entrepreneur often define success or failure.

One elusive characteristic that distinguishes an entrepreneur from the crowd is their natural willingness to assume risk in order to develop their entrepreneurial dream.

The other sweeping characteristic across the globe is an extreme confidence level.

Finally, here are the seven distinguishing characteristics that will aid you to be in this exclusive entrepreneurial category:

• Fervent faith that you can change things for the better; an unshakable belief that you can devise better, quicker, cheaper ways of presenting products or services needed in the marketplace

• Always having a solution in sight for any complexities and ability to overcome challenges effortlessly

• Optimistic about the prospects of your venture and each venture you become associated with in your entrepreneurial life

• Independent mindset

• High energy levels, unwavering mental stamina and internal motivation

• Willingness to live for and invest in the future

• Willingness to experiment and a joyous penchant for innovative and creative thinking.