Probably one of the most exciting career choices is the field of entrepreneurship. Some people are born entrepreneurs and begin young, displaying creative business skills and innovative ideas from the moment they leave school or college. They are rarely satisfied with stable, repetitive work, or moving up career ladders to positions of importance.
Being an entrepreneur doesn’t necessarily mean running a small business – that requires sustained focus and a steady, long-term hand. An entrepreneur on the other hand, will venture more, risk more, set up and delegate to management, generate many businesses or offshoot ideas from a central business.
In short, an entrepreneur can be defined as a person who devises, sets up and runs a new business or businesses. Entrepreneurs rely less on qualifications and skills or personal circumstances, and are rather driven by the market opportunities they consider hugely viable and exciting.
However, while all entrepreneurs require an inventive mind in order to identify trends and possibilities, they often need an inventor to produce the product they have imagined, or a qualified professional to map out the service they have envisaged. These people or other professionals may be required to help market the product or service once the opportunity has been brought to fruition and is ready to be introduced.
Qualities entrepreneurs need to have
- Taking risks: confidence to take calculated risks that may only deliver in the long term.
- Innovative and flexible mindset: vision to see a better way of doing things, and to move quickly on gaps in the market.
- Resilience: able to withstand and come back from disappointments with tenacity and vigour.
- Passionate: driven by enthusiasm and real dedication to customer satisfaction.
- Resourceful: the ability to bring a range of solutions to the fore, and create new opportunities.
- Results-orientated: to achieve, and achieve again – constantly raising the bar, moving the targets ever more ambitiously forwards.
- Visionary: entrepreneurs dream big, but they need enough savvy to pursue those dreams practically. They must be keenly able to identify business opportunities that carry the potential to evolve well in the future.
Abilities entrepreneurs need to have
An entrepreneur should not allow time for dithering. Gather information, gather evidence, weigh up consequences. Once you have availed yourself with the necessary knowledge, make your decision with authority and confidence. Don’t second guess yourself.
This is vital. You need to be able to communicate your vision to people, to motivate staff, to sell your idea to a range of people, such as investors and potential clients.
Active listening is another crucial ability. You need to be able to hear and absorb other people’s advice and opinions with clarity and intelligence. You may not agree, but very often others have valuable experience and foresight which is worth considering.
Leadership and motivation:
Motivating people to their best performance is a highly persuasive skill. Driving teamwork and co-operation is vital. You will need to delegate responsibility and action to others with clarity and high expectation. As an entrepreneur your mind is often on the next big idea.
Developing personal relationships:
Emotional intelligence is never more important than when introducing new ideas, new business ventures, and developing teams for sales and marketing. Manage your own emotions first, be self-aware, and learn to respond positively to feedback and/or criticism.
Agility in negotiation:
Negotiating sales, prices, staff problems, and interactions with a host of people in various situations is critical to success for any entrepreneur.
Planning and organising:
Can you implement plans and strategies? If you are disorganised in approach, you are never going to get things done in an orderly and progressive manner. You need to set goals and take your company forward using a well-constructed business plan, building carefully on each step to fulfil your vision.
Skills entrepreneurs need to have
Creative thinking: This is probably the little furnace that drives an entrepreneur….the skills to analyse the market, test a variety of perspectives against possibility, and generate truly original ideas.
Problem-solving: The analytical skills to work through problems and find solutions.
Trendspotting: This is very important – to always be ahead of the curve on changes in society and in the market. And to take advantage of opportunities you see on the horizon.
Business know-how: A solid learned knowledge of business operations, a track record of business experience of the main functional areas of business, including: sales, marketing, and finance. You need to understand how it all works if you want to hire the right people and manage your ventures competently.
If entrepreneurship appeals to you, and you feel you have enough optimism, initiative, drive and persistence, then put your aspirations into action by market researching your ideas; networking; engaging with industry leaders; and making every effort to meet with like-minded people.