The 8 Vital Attributes Of The Successful Entrepreneur

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entrepreneurPost written by Peter G. James Sinclair.

Since the age of 18 I have spent most of my adult life living the life of an entrepreneur, so it is for that reason that I’m excited to share with you what I believe it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. But before we look at the attributes, let’s first take a closer look at the history behind the development and meaning of the word entrepreneur.

The History Behind The Word Entrepreneur

The earliest definition is found in the 13th century, where we learn the word’s root. The origin of the English word entrepreneur comes from the French word entreprendre, which can be translated to mean ‘to do something’ or ‘to undertake’.

Then in the 16th century, we see the first mention of business used in the definitions. An entrepreneur is defined as someone who undertakes a business venture.

Richard Cantillon, in the 18th century ascribed to a definition which added a risk component to the definition. Therefore an entrepreneur was someone who undertakes a business venture with no guarantee of profits, or is rather the bearer of risks inflicted by changes in market demand.

Then during the 19th century, three economists posted views on Entrepreneurship. They were John-Baptiste Say, John Stuart Mill, and Alfred Marshall. This is the first century in which we begin to see the definition include actions and special skills required of entrepreneurs. Jean-Baptiste Say determined that the entrepreneur is someone who earns profits by shifting resources from areas of low productivity to areas of high productivity. He stated that the entrepreneur requires possession of knowledge and judgment so that the entrepreneur is constantly aware of the costs and prices of his goods and can determine how to compare opportunities.

John Stuart Mill described the entrepreneur as someone who assumes not only the risk of a business venture (as a capitalist) but also the management of the business venture. It is this addition of a management component that builds on Say’s judgment requirement. And then there is Alfred Marshall who emphasized the importance of entrepreneurship by tying the resource component (from Say) and management component (from Mill) together. Marshall claimed that four primary factors are necessary for production: land, labour, capital, and organization (which is the key factor to coordinate the other three resources).

And Now For The 8 Vital Attributes:-

1. To Do Something

I remember the feeling, even to this day, after a short period of re-entering the workplace as an employee and being sacked because I was too good at what I did. Yes it sounds back to front doesn’t it? But someone in management was threatened by my success in procuring leads for the company, and so decided to relieve me of my duties.

But in retrospect, I am extremely thankful, because on that day I declared that I would never again work for anyone else. That was the day that I decided ‘to do something’.

And that’s what it takes. An entrepreneur, for what ever trigger that sets them off to enter the world of entrepreneurialism, takes charge and does something.

I did it for freedom. I did it for family. I did it for income. I did it for something.

And the very fact that within a few short weeks I was making more money than I had ever made working for someone else, by working less hours in my own business – confirmed to me that by deciding to do something, and then doing it, was definitely the pathway I was going to travel on for the rest of my working life.

2. To Undertake

If you’re going to be an entrepreneur you’re going to have to undertake. That doesn’t mean you’re going into the funeral business, although I’ve heard that it’s very profitable and that it will never die out.

No I mean that apart from wanting to work for yourself, you have a product or a service that you believe in, and you want to sell that to your customers.

No matter whether it was a cleaning business, publishing company, a web design business or a hair and beauty salon, I undertook to provide a professional service, establish my unique selling position so that I stood out from the crowd and provided impeccable customer service.

I undertook to do things with a spirit of excellence, and while doing this made it my mission to learn as much about not just being the technician in my business – but rather being the owner of the business that was working not only in the business, but on the business.

3. To Risk

I have risked, and at times I have failed. That is why it is called risk. In the early days I took risks that literally cost me everything.

With more experience and wisdom under my belt, I learnt the power of operating from a position of calculated risk rather than all out ‘red-blooded’ risk where I had a chance of crashing and burning.

The risks that I take today generally have an exit strategy in place before I enter the venture or at least a boiler fund of finance on hand if things don’t go to plan. I also endeavour to create a range of income generating sources in the process, just in case one doesn’t produce as anticipated.

I no longer enter business transactions with rosy-tinted glasses on. I do my research. I put all the correct legals in place. I seek advice from a range of professionals and mentors, but at the same time listen to my ‘gut’.

4. To Profit

If a venture is not profitable within a reasonable timeframe of expended effort, I am not afraid of closing it down.

However, timeframes may vary. For example, low cost online ventures might only require a month or two of testing to see whether they are going to produce. However, a venture that requires a much larger investment of staff, stock and leases may require a year or two.

But if they are not profitable in the proposed time frame, then I am not afraid to kill projects. The facts are, some ideas will never work, and are better off dead before they kill you.

I have learnt to never allow my identity be so caught up in a project that I am afraid to cut the lifeline.

The end of any business doesn’t necessarily mean the end of you – especially if you cut off the life supply long before it cuts off yours.

5. To Know

Even after being involved in a number of businesses for many years I realised that there was still much that I didn’t know. That’s when I hired a business coach.

I quickly developed a love/hate relationship with my coach. I hated my business coach because he asked me the hard questions when we met every week. But on the other hand I loved my business coach because we doubled our income in the next twelve months of operation.

Nowadays, I surround myself with mentors from a range of industries to keep me primed – and from time to time pull in coaches who are experts in an area I am exploring so I can learn more.

To be successful as an entrepreneur you must know you, know your business, know where you’re going, know how your business is running, know whether your business is sick or healthy, and know where the next trend is coming from so that you can be a leader and not just a follower.

To know, and to then apply what you know, is power indeed for the successful entrepreneur.

6. To Judge

There are two judgments that you can make as an entrepreneur: wise judgments and unwise judgments.

Wise judgments will provide you with positive results that will grow your business.

Unwise judgements will provide you with negative results that will impact your business, and if you are willing to learn from your mistakes they can actually become the building blocks for future success as an entrepreneur.

The important thing is that you don’t sit on the fence. You must pass judgment and make judgments. There is an element of risk involved in this, but if you surround yourself with wise counsel – either coaches or mentors – you will minimise the impact, if for some reason you make a mistake.

7. To Manage

When it comes to being successful as an entrepreneur, the first one whom you need to manage is you.

Time management is an important key (though someone once told me that you can never manage time – it should rather be termed as ‘you’ management) and I have found that if you can manage you, then you will be in a better position to manage others and your business affairs.

Here are the two best time management strategies that I have used:

Mary Kay, who created a cosmetic empire, managed her time by making her list of 6 every day: the 6 most important things that needed doing. Whatever wasn’t completed was transferred to the next day and so on.

Giorgio Armani works on 8 projects simultaneously. One hour per project. That means 8 projects per day. When the hour’s up one project is put aside and another is commenced.

8. To Produce

Alfred Marshall, back in the 19th Century, proposed that this included land, labour, capital and organization, but in the 21st Century it now includes such things as technology plus more, and who knows what the years ahead will add to that list.

Entrepreneurs are the producers of this century and are bringing wonderful changes designed to create better lives for all of us.

To be a successful entrepreneur, we produce products and services for our clients to make their lives better, but the spin-off from this is that we lift the lid on our own earning capacity so that we can bless our families from our efforts.

Apart from the money, one of the positive outcomes that has come from me bringing my children up in the world of entrepreneurialism is that they are now owning and operating their own businesses, and they realise that no matter where they could find themselves in the world they have possession of the skills and the abilities to start something profitable from nothing, let’s say a business, not reliant on governments, employers, nor the state of the economy. They, as responsible entrepreneurs are responsible for their own success and their own future.

Now that’s what I call success, and the attributes of a successful entrepreneur.

Source for Historical Information: http://www.entrepreneurialprocess.com/history.htm

photo source: telegraph.co.uk

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