Entrepreneurship, the dream and new success mantra of professional graduates and existing CEOs alike. However, for every entrepreneur that succeeds, there is a larger number that don’t. So what does it take to become a successful entrepreneur? One thing that clearly emerged from my research in this area is that the skills necessary to run a business aren’t always the same skills that are needed to start one. I’ve met brilliant CEOs who grew and built businesses for others and were very good at what they did. But not all of them did as well when they decided to strike out on their own and I know of quite a few eminent examples who returned (wisely) back to running businesses for someone else.
As I listed down the attributes that I felt were necessary for every entrepreneur, interestingly they came together to form the word ADVENTURE. So here is an easy to remember list of what you need, may be in different proportions, to be an effective entrepreneur. They come naturally to some, but make sure you focus on building the one’s that aren’t your strong points as you embark on the entrepreneurial journey.
- Ability to Inspire People – You know where you want to go with an idea but you need to articulate that dream and inspire people – customers, investors, partners and employees to believe in you and your idea to shape it into a successful business. Most of the successful entrepreneurs I have seen have the ability to energize people.
- Discipline – An essential quality, especially in the early days of a start up. Drawing up the business plan is now an automatic step, but the planning, rigour and discipline required to make it a reality is equally important though often downplayed.
- Vision – A vision of where (s)he wants to go as well as the flair of showing a bright vision of the future to the people (s)he has to take along – this differentiates the truly inspired and successful entrepreneur from the one hit wonder.
- Execution Skills – Taking the idea to the successful business stage requires superior execution capability. This is often considered less important due to the common myth that a visionary and implementer have different personality traits that rarely co-exist and the belief that implementers can be hired. A study of the facts clearly demonstrates that that the ability to envision is what helps with superior execution. To even bring the business to a stage where you can hire the right talent you would need to possess execution skills yourself.
- Networking Ability – Yes, this is true, the ability to network effectively is an important skill and can speed up the pace at which your idea turns to reality. Effective Networking stays away from in-your-face networking and self-promotion as it can be a turn-off for some. More subtle but effective networking where you share knowledge, add value to people and build a positioning for yourself results in people not only wanting to connect with you themselves but also recommending you to other people thus expanding your network.
- Talent of spotting the right opportunity and the right people – A thing that truly sets apart entrepreneurs is their ability to sniff the opportunity and see the potential in situations that a lot people miss. This also often extends to an uncanny knack of finding people with potential. Till your business is the size that you can afford people with a track record, the ability to identify the people who can reach the next level and deliver superior results, is an important contributor to your success.
- Unequivocal commitment to results – The never-say-die attitude of successful entrepreneurs is legendary. These are people who are focussed on their goal and results and are always working to surmount the next challenge on their way. Come what may, you can count on their commitment to keep going.
- Risk-handling ability – Please note the choice of the ‘risk-handling’ Vs‘risk-taking’ ability. The entrepreneur needs not only the ability to take risks but also handle risks effectively. The ability to use risks to advantage and manage them effectively has created and saved many an empire.
- Energy & Passion – are two essential ingredients that give the entrepreneur the vigour to convert his idea, make it grow, build the discipline mentioned earlier and remain committed in the face of adversity. The entrepreneurs I have met are energized by their vision and seem to draw energy from the very work they do. You can often see the passion light up their eyes as they talk about the plans for their business.
While each entrepreneur has his own special talent that sets him apart but the above are attributes that are required if you really want to succeed and take you business to the next level. So here’s wishing you luck as you set out on your (ad)venture.
For Coaching, Training & Leadership Development solutions contact the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
The author is a transformation expert, certified executive coach, trainer, change management consultant and the CEO of a 32-year-old small business group
An adaptation of this post has been published in The Financial Express as part of Shweta Handa-Gupta’s guest column
Copyright ©2012 Shweta Handa-Gupta. All rights reserved.