Who are entrepreneurs? Sometimes they are the people who leave the corporate world to pursue their own dreams. In many cases, they may be individuals who have found themselves dislocated or “downsized” from a previous job. One characteristic is common to both groups, however: Entrepreneurs are self-made.
Most people aren’t born entrepreneurs; they develop into them. One prerequisite appears to be an individual decision that now is the time to take charge of one’s life. The experience may be difficult at times and the entrepreneur may even return to corporate life. Just as often, however, a difficult experience may serve to make the entrepreneur even more determined to succeed.
The Will to Succeed
Perhaps the most significant characteristic of entrepreneurs is their passionate attachment to their product or enterprise. They find it relatively easy to work long hours, often for less than they might earn in the corporate world. Corporations that have lost these individuals have lost the value of their successes, as well as the value of their failures, which often drives the individual to work even harder.
Against the Odds
Another significant characteristic of entrepreneurs is the way they perceive risk. An entrepreneur does not view risk quantitatively or statistically, as those less passionate tend to view it. Entrepreneurs believe the odds are directly affected by their own skills and efforts. Consequently, while entrepreneurs take initiatives that others would view as risks, entrepreneurs see these initiatives as moving one step at a time toward their goals. This does not mean they are unaware of the risks; to be in touch with reality entails accepting responsibility for failure. Entrepreneurs know they have no one to blame but themselves if they fail.
Persevering through Trial and Error
Entrepreneurs, like other managers, make financial errors and miscalculations, but they often correct most of them before anyone notices—and learn from the error. The process of correcting an error, and of reacting to the consequences of a bad decision, builds fiber in managerial character. It makes the entrepreneur a stronger force in the economy, as well as a more confident leader in the marketplace. True entrepreneurial courage grows through taking control of your future, and experiencing the survival of a vision through both successful and not so successful decision making.
Is it possible for someone without these basic characteristics to develop entrepreneurial qualities? These characteristics can be developed by those who find themselves in an entrepreneurial situation, particularly if their early efforts are successful. Individuals soon learn they are in control of their own financial and employment destiny as they observe peers engaged in the entrepreneurial process and come to believe that they can do as well themselves!