This is part of my presentation that I like to give to high school and college level students. I’m sharing it with you so you can see the qualities and experience that went into the business you have built.
Must be educated
OK now you’re thinking, “she’s nuts.” “I didn’t have to go to school to get an MBA to run my successful business.” True, but you did have to have some type of education; whether it was training, apprenticeship, experience, or a traditional education you definitely did not come into your business without skills and knowledge.
In the book, “The Secrets of the Millionaire Mind,” T. Harv Eker talks about failing over and over again at his jobs, but as the book eludes, he does become very wealthy. His first big idea took a few thousand dollar investment to open a fitness store, which he grew into a chain in 2.5 years and sold for over a million dollars. He attributes his skills and education to the jobs he had. He explains how he viewed each job as a paid education to owning his own business.
Must see something where others do not
There are so many opportunities out there. The best ideas are usually fairly simple in concept and sometimes very hard to implement but it is the idea to do something in a way that no one else does it that allows a business to stand out and become successful.
Yesterday I had the privilege of being at an expo where Amanda Lang of CBC News was talking to Peter Aceto, the CEO of ING Direct Canada. When ING Direct Canada opened in 1997 people could not believe that there was a bank that had no physical presences. The founders of this bank knew there was a better way to ensure people could “save their money” and that was to cut out all the overhead. “How do you build a bank without a bank”, was the question they had to answer. As we know, it has become a very successful business model, started in Netherlands in 1991 and now in over 40 countries. It even has competitors, like Presidents Choice Financial launched in 1996. Someone saw the need and then looked for a solution that was not what everyone else was looking for.
Must be willing to Act
This is the key component of an entrepreneur. We have all heard someone say, “I could have done that,” or “my 10 year old could have done that better”, and yet they do not act on it. The entrepreneur can see the opportunity and does something about it to make the change. They are willing to take a chance, to struggle, to build, to create, to manage and to succeed or to fail.
Yesterday I also had the privilege hearing Amanda Lang of CBC News interview Sir Richard Branson. She asked him why he did what he did even after his businesses were successful. He explained that in the beginning of a business the owner need to be the figurehead or brand. The business, if built correctly, would become the brand as it grows. To do that he likes to “exercise his creativity” and he has acted on many of those creative moments. In his company Virgin there are over 300 branded companies. He explains that he does what he does so that “at the end of the year you hope to have enough money to pay the bills so you can go on creating.” Like many entrepreneurs he works to be able to create more and his simple answer to “why?” was “Nothing ventured, nothing gained”.
Must be willing to risk their own…
We all know of the very successful entrepreneurs like, Gates, Jobs, Brin & Page, Trump, etc. Our society holds entrepreneurs in high-esteem because what they do seems unreachable to the average person. But when these people started out they were just average people. They were scoffed at. They worked out of their homes or garages. They enlisted friends to help. They risked their own money to make things happen and they risked being known as a dreamer or unrealistic. The entrepreneur must risk a lot to find their path to success.
Must have unshakeable vision and dedication
It is very uncommon for a business to be instantly successful. It took Google many years to even make their first commercial product. Their vision was so clear they were able to get funding for their development even when they did not know how it was going to become commercially viable. They answered a need with their authentic passion and it paid off.
Must be willing to learn, grow, and change
An entrepreneur must be familiar with every position within their start-up, from bookkeeping to sales. To be able to understand how to communicate to suppliers, prospects, clients and past clients as well as your peers and competitors the entrepreneur has to take on a bigger role.
There is so much to learn about being an entrepreneur that as you go through the process of implementing you will be inundated with tonnes of new information, ways of thinking, and ideas. If you do not accept the opportunities to change, your business will not be able to make the changes it needs to grow and become successful.
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