Are you longing to be an entrepreneur but worry you don’t have the skills, traits or ideas to make it in the world of business? Neither did I when I started my first business. Now I help others develop enterprise skills because I discovered that enterprise is a set of skills and abilities which if you want to you can develop over time. Let’s take a more in-depth look at enterprise and being an entrepreneur
What do we mean by enterprise?
We often use the word “enterprise” to describe a business. In its original form, it comes from the French word entreprendre, meaning to undertake or take in hand. In this instance, enterprise is used to describe a new project or idea that requires energy and enthusiasm to drive it forward.
For me, enterprise is about being ready to take on a challenge that may be difficult to find a solution to, but doing so with imaginativeness and willingness to embrace it and to give it a try. I refer to enterprise as an activity or project that can be for the benefit of an individual (an entrepreneur) or a group or community (a social entrepreneur).
What makes you an entrepreneur?
An entrepreneur is someone who is in effective overall control of an enterprise and they usually do this as a commercial undertaking. Therefore, they accept that it is at their own risk. Any profit or indeed debt will be their own.
On the whole, being enterprising is just about being willing to give something a try. As Amelia Earhart once said, “The most effective way to do it, is to do it”. It is possible that with being enterprising, it similarly is about just doing it. In my experience of working with both entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, there does seem to be some a spark that sets them apart. However, sometimes I find that if someone has something about them but isn’t seemingly enterprising, it is possible for me to switch them on to the concept of being enterprising. Often, they have what I call the “red thread of enterprise” in them—it just needs pulling and encouraging.
I believe that within each of us is this red thread of enterprise ability and if it is encouraged and pulled, it will ignite the spark of enterprise. However, it is not just about one person within an organisation being enterprising. Indeed, there is a need to encourage a red thread of enterprise throughout the whole organisation. By doing this, everyone in the organisation will be aware of the need to consider enterprise.
The thread of enterprise is about being aware of the environment in which you work and live. That you are constantly aware of ideas, opportunities and possibilities, this I call enterprise agility or enterprise scanning. Someone who is scanning the environment in which they work and live. Someone who sees opportunities and benefits where others see risk and hard work. That’s an entrepreneur.
Do I have the skills and traits of an entrepreneur?
There are many traits I look for when identifying an entrepreneur. Here are some of the key traits you can keep an eye out for: –
- Ability to create something new
- Willingness to make ideas a reality
- Able to build relationships
- Interested in providing customer satisfaction
- Have a need to achieve
- Strong networking skills
- Be willing and able to enthuse others
- have good communication skills
- have an enquiring mind
- strong project management skills
- have personal commitment
As well as being opportunistic, persistent, problem solver, proactive, flexible, self-confidence, dynamic, innovative, ambitious, Enthusiastic, self-reliant, Determined, motivated, independent, engaging, imaginative, persistent, personable, self-motivation, self-belief, resourcefulness.
It is difficult to say which of these traits is the most important. It is easier to say that you need a mix of skills and traits to be an entrepreneur. By looking at the list, it is easy to see how so many people could have a selection of these skills and therefore possibly be enterprising.
What next I really want to be an entrepreneur?
Wow! Slow down. Being an entrepreneur is often something which happens over time. Many people start a business in the evening or weekend while they are still employed. This gives them a chance to learn the skills of running a business while still having a stable income stream. You need to know how you will live until your ideas start making you money. This can often take many months and even in some cases years.
If you are really interested, take a look at some of the great books on the market about starting up a business. Such as The Small Business Start-Up Workbook: A step-by-step guide to starting the business you’ve dreamed of or my own book aimed at women Business Start-Up Your Own Way: Women: How to Create, Setup and Run Your Own Business. Also, I would start attending events and training aimed at new business owners. Take a look to see if your local college or university offer any or contact the chamber of trade in your area. Keep an eye out for business owner meet ups in your area via social media. The more you mix with other entrepreneurs the more you will discover what you need to learn and develop and how you can take your idea and make it into a successful business.
This week is Global enterprise week and there are loads of events happening all over the country. Take a look at some of the events here – http://uk.gew.co I will be at several events around the UK this week including one at Stafford University if this is local to you do pop along and meet me there. To book on to the event and for more details visit – http://www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/professor-jon-fairburn-11836827822
Good luck on your business journey and let me know how it goes.