Entrepreneurs are entrepreneurs but there are differences?
The word entrepreneurs is a pretty broad, and an often abused word. What kind of entrepreneurs am I and what kind of entrepreneurs are you? I don’t necessarily have the answer to this question is something I have struggled with for many years. The only thing I can come up with is an entrepreneur is an entrepreneur, irrespective of the label you put on them.
To simplify all the labels used, we can turn to Wilson Harrell a famous entrepreneur and author. He said, “there are two kinds of entrepreneurs – Buccaneers and farmers. It’s not important which one you are. The transition from Buccaneer to the farmer is a difficult journey – few entrepreneurs make it. It’s better to be a happy buccaneer, than a miserable farmer”.
Many entrepreneurs see the world as their oyster, some are not so ambitious
Well as entrepreneurs, I guess we are not perfect and maybe we all have a little bit of all the types described here inside each of us. Being an entrepreneur means being different things at different times to different people, which makes life very challenging and exciting.
Some days I am a manager or administrator and this is not what I like doing. I like working on the big picture, solving problems along with motivating and inspiring people. I try to balance my life and avoid extremes, after all, I am not a high-risk taker. It’s important you try and establish the type of entrepreneur you are in order to become more focused on what you want to do and become.
However, literature does reveal a number of labels
An inside entrepreneur, or an entrepreneur within a large firm, who uses entrepreneurial skills without incurring the risks associated with those activities. Intrapreneurs are usually employees within a larger company. They are assigned a special idea or project and are instructed to develop the project like an entrepreneur would. Usually, they have the resources and capabilities of the firm at their disposal. The intrapreneur’s main job is to turn that special idea or project into a profitable undertaking for the company.
The celebrity entrepreneur
Some entrepreneurs are in it strictly for the fame that comes with celebrity status. They become more focused on getting a headline than actually running an organisation.
A serial entrepreneur is one who continuously comes up with new ideas and starts new businesses. The serial entrepreneur is represented as possessing a higher propensity for risk, innovation and achievement.
A social entrepreneur is motivated by a desire to help, improve and transform the community we live in. They focus on social, environmental, educational and economic situations. The social entrepreneur is driven by fixing social problems, not by profit.
The Money Entrepreneur
They think of little else but money. This can be a good thing for an entrepreneur but some are obsessed with making money at any cost. Spending your days with a calculator counting your money might be what you do, but is not entrepreneurial?
There is no longer ‘cradle to the grave’ thinking, or building a company for your children and their children. Ultra growth businesses are not built to be passed on they are ‘built to sell’ from their inception.
A lifestyle entrepreneur places passion for living before anything else. When starting an organisation they combine personal interests with the ability to earn the money to have the lifestyle they strive for and the freedom they yearn for. Some people just want to live the life and act the part. They promote themselves as entrepreneurs, have lots of ideas about entrepreneurship but they don’t actually do anything. A bit like a person who builds their own home and sees himself as a property developer.
These entrepreneurs don’t like working alone, they like to work with other entrepreneurs to develop products or build organisations. Beware two entrepreneurs working together may have different skills. But there is the real possibility of conflict as the business grows and they start to share the risks and rewards.
What entrepreneurs are not
Entrepreneurs are not over-optimistic maniacs with a mission, or super sales people who don’t listen, as some would have us believe. Stop and consider the many misconceptions about entrepreneurs that you have experienced.
The Manager Entrepreneur.
This is somewhat of a conflict as the manager generally manages the day-to-day affairs of the business. The only time you find an entrepreneur in this position is while they are waiting for others to come on board, or for an idea to mature, but they may have been a manager for some time.
These people tell themselves that they are just waiting. Waiting for the great idea to become reality, waiting for enough money to stay alive for a few years, waiting for permission from their spouse, or waiting for a guarantee they will make a big profit. This type becomes involved with an organisation as an ‘entrepreneur’ once they have secured enough funding to takes them past the high-risk stage.
They are usually people who are totally frustrated with the company they work for, the boss, the type of customers they have to deal with. Often they recklessly decide to start up a business of their own. Often they call themselves entrepreneurs because they are close to entrepreneurs and have worked at start-ups. It is safe to say these entrepreneurs are more like managers than entrepreneurs and might be very good at it.
The technical entrepreneur.
While there are many great technical entrepreneurs there are others associated with building new products for others or are good trades people. They are involved in all the functions associated with building a product or doing the trade work associated with a builder. They perceive opportunities are there for them to start up their own business as they think they can run a business better than their current boss, but being an outstanding technical person doesn’t make them an outstanding business operator. This doesn’t mean they can’t operate a good business but, they would be well-advised to make sure they have an entrepreneur looking over their shoulder.
The franchise entrepreneur.
Some of these people call themselves an entrepreneur because they buy a franchise. The franchise they buy will already be set up and most of the entrepreneurial parts already done. This is much the same as the person who buys a small business because it is already up and running.
The would-be if they could be an entrepreneur.
Within minutes of meeting a ‘would be if they could be’ entrepreneur they will tell you about their lousy job and how they are going to start their own business. They are usually frustrated and bored waiting to suddenly give their entrepreneurial spirit a run. These people will have been working in other people’s business’s and will probably always work with another business often in exactly the same industry.
Sadly, all they need is a great idea, enough money to stay alive for a few years, permission from the spouse and a guarantee that they will make a big profit. Unfortunately, that isn’t exactly how an entrepreneur thinks and behaves.
Failure is the flip side of success
It’s not until you have had a few failures that you realise you can’t do everything well all the time. Failure is part of life, whether you like it or not and if you don’t fail, you don’t learn and you can’t experience the exhilaration that your successes can bring. Can you become bored with constant failure as well as success?
Over the years I have come to understand failure exists as part of an entrepreneur’s temperament and is a way to manage egos and keep them grounded? Like the sun too much is not good for us. Understanding this has kept me focused on the future as well as given me a life without the regrets most people have.
Why do so many people struggle with the feeling they are failing? On many occasions, I have felt that I wasn’t measuring up, either to our own expectations or those of others. I used to have a complex about being too young to be running the size and sort of business I was in.
Even entrepreneurs can feel inadequate
I used to get scared of all I had taken on and I’ve had many moments where I felt totally inadequate to handle the complexities of handling millions of dollars worth of machinery, dealing with international corporations and having to overcome the vagrancies of the weather. How can you do this when you are only in your middle twenties? Fear can stop us all in our tracks if we let it and at any age. I believe it is our entrepreneurial attributes that pull us through.
I have certainly struggled on many fronts during my career and as a result, have learned to recognise many of the symptoms that lead to failure. For the last 30 years, I have devoted my life to breaking the cycle of failure and bringing success to struggling business people. Failure is in the eyes of the beholder. I have experienced many ways to reconstruct a failure and turn it into a success and I certainly look at failures as stepping stones to where I am heading, not the end of the road.
You may be wondering if your business is a failure. You may be at a loss for how you can save your business. I hope that this eBook will help you to recognise the causes of failure while they are still small enough to do something about it.
Find the people, training courses and resources to help you along the way. More education will certainly help you increase knowledge and develop skills that will improve your chances of recognising and avoiding failures.
Doing it all over again
I have contemplated my failures, traumas and their consequences and wonder what can be done to restart lives. You should never have to restart from scratch again because you have accumulated many important experiences you can build upon. I certainly don’t have all the answers, but here are a few things I try to remember when people are going through a bad time:
- Write your ideas down, keep a file of your good ideas.
- Take time to think, reflect and plan.
- Re-evaluate on what you are doing and where you are going.
- Organise your time and focus on taking actions.
- Set your priorities and don’t sweat the small stuff.
- Turn failures into successes, by learning from them.
- Seek help with things you can’t do well, it’s too hard doing it by yourself.
- Carefully evaluate the values of the people you get involved with.
- Excite the people helping you, how can you help them.
- Keep perspective, don’t lose sight of your passion and your big picture.
- Not everyone will understand, so don’t stress.
Always celebrate, even your small achievements
I have found that trying to work things out on your own, before getting help, can actually produce better results than having assistance from the beginning, because the act of doing your own research can reveal a lot about yourself. The more you struggle and maybe fail while you’re trying to master something new, the more you’ll recall and apply yourself later.
I now know while I might have failed many times, I’m not a failure, but it’s easy to let feelings of inadequacy creep into your life. I know that I am not alone when I let this happen. When we stumble or fall, we have to pull ourselves back up, dust ourselves off and push forward. But remembering we’re all unique and gifted in our own special ways. We also need to realise that we can and are contributing to our communities and society in general. I think everyone falls into the failure trap once in a while. But sometimes the most important question you could ask yourself would be, could I walk away from what I do?
When I fail and I blame others I eventually have an arresting awareness that my problem isn’t the people around me, it’s me. I’m the one in need of help. We simply have to realise that we won’t be perfect at everything we undertake, and it isn’t even wise to try. When we think we have ‘made it’ in life, there are times when life hits back.
Don’t wait for tomorrow, celebrate today.
Celebrating the small successes we have along the way, even in the face of failure, is very important in dealing with the feelings of failure. If you are going through a bad patch, try writing down the successful things you did the previous day, even if it’s just having a beer with an employee having a bad time. It helps keep you feeling good about yourself as we tend to concentrate more on what we didn’t do, rather than what we did do. By the way, I have never found the answers to my problems in the bottom of a bottle.
“Businesses, non-profit organisations and communities thrive when people think entrepreneurially”. Peter Sergeant
“Knowledge comes by taking things apart: analysis. But wisdom comes by putting things together”. John Morrison