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Becoming an Entrepreneur
Becoming an Entrepreneur
If you are employed now and thinking of starting a business of your own, do so only after you have prepared yourself sufficiently for the new venture. The life of an entrepreneur is very different, compared to the life of an employee.
While you may have the freedom from having a boss to work for in this new project, you may not have the luxury of taking things easy at all when you have your own business. Entrepreneurship is a lot of hard work and perseverance for the business owner if they expect any future success. While you may be working the whole day in your 9-5 job now, your business could entail much longer working hours; especially when you are just starting.
One of the first things you must ensure when you launch your venture is your readiness of knowing what to do in the upcoming business. If what you have in mind as a business will have some similarity to the things you do in your present job, the experience you developed working over the years should be of great help. Do not venture into a business that is completely different from what you already know because you may have no idea at all how it should be operated. You should at least have some knowledge of what needs to be done.
Ensure that when you decide to start out on your own that you have enough resources to fund your needs. The capital needed to start the new business should be a primary concern. Start small so the capitalization needed will not be too much of a problem for you. That will mean also that you will be safe, in case the venture flops. Your loss will not be too huge and you should be able to recover easily if necessary. That’s one of the biggest mistakes that people make; sinking more than they can afford into a business that is uncertain.
Get the agreement of your family in the decision to launch the business. Your working hours will be much longer if it is your own venture and this could cause some problems if you do not have the cooperation of your family. While you may be doing the business from your own home as a start, this could disturb the family atmosphere. Consider that your spouse and kids were used to seeing you a lot of that time before.
When you leave your present job to start your own enterprise, it would be wise to try to discuss with your employer the fact that your home business could be one that will be supportive of his organization. You can always propose that you will concentrate on an area that will support his requirements. You can always be one of his suppliers of the goods he is now selling to his customers and clients and you should not pass up the opportunity to become that person.
Many entrepreneurs started this way, and they succeeded. Your former boss can even be your tutor in your new endeavor. There is nothing more advantageous than having a coach guiding you as you play the new game. Just make sure your former boss is willing to play the role of being that coach before you start calling him/her for advice.
Your former boss will likely be happy with the idea, as long as he/she sees that the arrangement will be advantageous for them as well. This way, you remain friends while helping each other in the days ahead.
The Entrepreneurial Dichotomy
Stereotyping might be considered in some cases to be unfair and in truth, sometimes it is. You can’t assume any one individual is a certain way because they belong to a group that is known to have certain stereotypical characteristics. Rather, there is often a common characteristic that usually defines a certain group of people – the operative word being “usually”. There are always exceptions. Entrepreneurs tend to share common personality attributes that are often double-edged swords.
It is important to distinguish between entrepreneurs and those who are self-employed. The entrepreneur wants to grow companies and the self-employed want to earn their income working for themselves. Not all small business owners are entrepreneurs but all entrepreneurs start out being small business owners. Here are some common characteristics of entrepreneurs with explanations of how one characteristic can be both positive and negative at the same time.
Strong Sense of Urgency
Entrepreneurs thrive on activity and are enthusiastic to develop and implement their ideas. They are creative. But they can also be inpatient, intolerant, tense and uneasy when others don’t share the same sense of urgency or don’t respond as quickly as the entrepreneur wants them to.
High Level of Intelligence
Entrepreneurs are extremely knowledgeable in their area of expertise – they have to be in order to successfully run their business. But sometimes this high level of intelligence does not correlate with other important aspects of running a successful business like effective communication skills and good customer service
Many entrepreneurs do not function well in structured organizations where there are strict company-specific rules and regulations to follow, including having to answer to an authority figure other than themselves. Most believe they can do the job better than anyone else. They have a strong need to do things their own way with the freedom to choose and act according to their own criteria. They are often creative geniuses who have unique and innovative ideas but aren’t always able to communicate these ideas clearly for anyone to be able to effectively execute them. They know exactly what they want and can become extremely intolerant and impatient if their employees are unable to read their minds.
Entrepreneurs are self-confident. They have to be in order to think they can make it in the business world. But when that self-confidence steps over the boundary into arrogance, there could be some negative consequences. Arrogant people don’t consider anyone else’s ideas to have value – they know best. They are difficult to work with and inflexible because it is their way or the highway. Entrepreneurs have to be their own biggest fan because they are often working alone or with only a small group of people. Self confidence can actually be a triple-edged sword.
“Work – work – work” – that is the entrepreneur’s mantra. They are over achievers who never find enough hours in the day to get their work done. Their strong work ethic oftentimes interferes with their personal relationships and their interpersonal skills. Entrepreneurs are single-minded when it comes to their business – they will do whatever they have to do in order to be successful and they expect everyone who works for them to do the same. Needless-to-say, personal relationships often suffer when all one does is work. In addition, many entrepreneurs have lousy people skills and are more concerned with what their employees accomplish rather than how they are feeling. This insensitivity and lack of empathy is not received well by the entrepreneur’s employees.
Need to Control
This is usually a main reason entrepreneurs become entrepreneurs. They are risk-takers whose primary motivation is growth. Coupled with high intelligence levels, strong work ethic, high level of confidence and strong sense of urgency, the entrepreneur’s need to control can be very effective. But, their lack of empathy, inability to delegate (because no one can do it better than they can) and intolerance may have negative consequences. In all fairness to the entrepreneur, before they feel comfortable enough delegating tasks to an employee, they need to have the confidence in that person’s ability to get the job done. But if their interpersonal skills are inadequate, how will the entrepreneur be able to develop a good enough relationship with an employee to be able to ascertain that employee’s competence?
Success is the goal of the entrepreneur – sometimes success at any price. Success is the only acceptable result. Many entrepreneurs don’t have managerial experience and are unable to mentor subordinates effectively in order to foster a team spirit. This can lead to dissatisfaction and frustration on the part of the employee. The entrepreneur doesn’t understand and won’t accept that employees don’t always share the same drive and aren’t willing to live by the “work – work – work” mantra of the entrepreneur. Why should they? They don’t own the company.
Entrepreneurs are highly motivated, goal-oriented, high-energy, super-focused, visionary, driven, self-confident people who set high standards for themselves and for those who work for them. But they can also be intolerant of minor mistakes, have over-inflated egos, unwilling to consider someone else’s point of view, and unable to develop and maintain solid interpersonal relationships. The very characteristics that can lead to the entrepreneur’s success, might also lead to failure.
Attribution: New Horizons123 is a small business Internet marketing consulting company helping small business owners integrate the Internet and social media marketing into their overall marketing strategy.