I HATE the term “entrepreneur”. Yes, it perfectly describes what I do for a living. But, it’s so over-used and misapplied to people that are little more than unemployed enthusiasts.
To understand what really makes a start-up grow and thrive, I think we should lay some ground rules for what entrepreneurship is, and how you can use this definition to propel your business forward.
Entrepreneurs have laser-like focus.
There are two levels of focus for a true entrepreneur: high and extreme. A highly-focused entrepreneur may still have a 9-5 or part-time gig in order to pay the bills. Employer-provided healthcare is a beautiful thing when you’re just starting out. The goal of the highly-focused entrepreneur is to break away from the 9-5 and become an extremely-focused entrepreneur.
The extremely-focused entrepreneur is like a machine. Literally, they eat, sleep and breathe their business. If they’re awake, they’re on the clock. They’re figuring out solutions to problems and finding new ways to monetize those solutions.An entrepreneur is not someone that says they’re an entrepreneur. Click To Tweet
An entrepreneur is not someone that says they’re an entrepreneur.
If you have to ask them, and you’ve met them more than once or twice, they’re full of it. An entrepreneur is easy to spot, because they are always pre-occupied. Their business is everything, and they never leave that business behind at their desk. It travels with them, for all to see.
They’ve raised capital, developed a product available on the market, or spend every ounce of their time chasing these goals.
I once received a message from an individual that was looking for a business partner. We had attended college together, and he thought I was the perfect match for his open position as Chief Operating Officer. I scheduled a phone call and asked him to send over a copy of his business plan. His response:
Oh, we’re working on that. We hope to have the plan finalized by next month. I was hoping you could assist on that.
Every answer to my questions revolved around me taking that part of the project on. There are only so many pieces to the start-up puzzle. It became readily apparent that he wanted to bring me on as a “partner” so that I would launch the business for him. He hadn’t even pitched to VC’s yet (How could he without a business plan?).
Successful teams are built on a foundation of teamwork. Sure, there’s a hierarchy for making decisions, but everyone is in the trenches building the business, shoulder-to-shoulder. An entrepreneur is not a delegator, a task-master or a figurehead.
Keys to business growth
- Success or failure always lies with the equity partners of the business. Their bandwidth should be maxed out before delegating.
- A passion is something you love. A business is something that solves a problem and generates an income. The two can be the same thing, but a passion with an income or investors is just a hobby.
- Follow the solution. Your customers will tell you how you can help them. Be the solution. Don’t let an old plan get in the way of capitalizing on new market opportunities.
If you’re willing to embrace the entrepreneur lifestyle, then success is only one or two failures away. You’re going to fall down, but keep getting back up. Every failure is a lesson, and your next venture will benefit from the lessons learned.
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