In the last lecture, we defined what an entrepreneur is focusing on the characteristics they have. In this post, we will go in depth into the 10 traits that an entrepreneur should possess.
There are ten traits I have noticed about entrepreneurs, which I will briefly share with you.
1) Entrepreneurs challenge the conventional
They always want to do things differently and are not satisfied with the status quo. In fact, it is for this reason that entrepreneurs are able to compete with and defeat the incumbents who may have been operating in their comfort zone of the conventional approach.
Looking at it from their point of view, entrepreneurs are always moving, they can never sit idle and they LOVE to solve problems. They see things differently, a world without boundaries. This helps them to see issues from different angles, bringing new light to things.
An example would be Mr Inderjit’s company BuyItTogether. The conventional way of purchasing products in bulk would be for a wholesaler or distributor to make a large order and to get a better rate for the item. The team saw that if customers came together and became one big buyer, they would be able to command a better buying rate from suppliers. Companies such as Groupon have capitalized on that fact and are now billion dollar companies. They have changed the conventional way of buying in today’s world. Now smaller players and even end customers can purchase directly from manufacturers. (Note: BuyItTogether was a good idea but was 10 years too early for the market.)
2) Entrepreneurs have a low level of fear
Their fear level is typically very low. They are willing to test the limits and the OB (out of bound) markers, and they are willing to question people of higher authority; they may not even fear that they may be testing the limits of the law. Of course, they may never have any criminal intentions or fraud in mind, except that they sometimes may make a judgment and do things without thoroughly checking on the law first. Accidentally, they may then break the law.
Low fear does not mean No Fear. Entrepreneurs just like everyone else have fears and worries, especially when they embark on new projects. But by the time they begin their new ventures, they have done so by fully researching the matter and taking calculated risks. The power of this knowledge helps to calm many concerns they have.
Also, since they are usually not affected by the stigma of failure, and they know that they will persevere, to solve any problems or obstacles that come along the way, they are more confident of taking the step forward.
3) Entrepreneurs do things first, and assess later
They will do what they need to do first, and only after will they check whether what they did was right or wrong, and even if they are not sure, they will just go ahead and do it first rather than spend too much time trying to figure out whether they should get started on something. They will just do it and then prepare to fight the battle later when they discover something is wrong. (For example, drawing up a business plan and talking to people to raise money while still working for a company can be considered unethical, but entrepreneurs who believe in what they are doing will take the risk of their employer finding out about their actions, and dealing with it when and if it happens.)
Gut feel is a very big part of an entrepreneur’s thought process. Even though it may seem illogical to take a step, if they feel it is right, they will take it anyways. Overthinking and analyzing sometimes holds people back and people tend not to move forward when they overthink.
Entrepreneurs are also problem solvers, they understand that whatever they may want to achieve, they will face problems along the way. They also know that problems can be solved. It is with this mindset that they move forward with their ideas, even though they may not seem ready as yet.
4) Entrepreneurs are mistaken as dreamers
They dream of and envision the outcome of their venture. They see it going in a particular direction, which may not necessarily be static all the time. For them, it can change with time as conditions change. Sparks of inspiration come to them from time to time about how they should make their next steps. People sometimes think they are not thinking right.
Entrepreneurs have a habit of seeing things differently; they test boundaries and like to defy convention. Conventional society rules, do not allow for people to waver from the common path, or disrupt current trends. So going against this wave can be very difficult for many to understand.
5) Entrepreneurs are impatient
They are mostly impatient and wish they could do everything quickly instead of doing things at other people’s pace. Their energy levels are typically very high, and this enables them to move fast and think fast, often a few steps ahead of others. Many find it difficult to keep up with their pace.
For this you have to understand that entrepreneurs are very passionate and excitable people. Once they get excited about an idea, they will not let it go and they will love to work on it as much as possible. The adrenaline rush they get once a project is on the way pushes them to want to achieve more things faster.
It is good to do things at a faster pace, as you do not want your project getting stagnant. All said and done, it is also very important to plan and execute everything properly. Take some time to make sure all the finer details are properly placed and that you cover all your bases properly.
6) Entrepreneurs do not mind being small
To them, size does not matter. It is all right for them to be in a small organisation or a big company, and they don’t mind starting very small because they are prepared to go the whole mile, from ground zero before moving upwards, thinking they will become big one day (and the definition of big can be very different for different people). For example, the person who started McDonalds did not grow it into the giant it is today. This person who started McDonalds might have had the passion to run the type of business he had, but the passion was not necessarily to become that big. Becoming big was someone else’s passion.
To entrepreneurs, it does not matter where they work. They are not concerned with huge named companies or fancy plush offices. They want to change the world and benefit the people. There is more concern with getting their product right and shipping it to the people better. You will understand that to entrepreneurs, their projects are like babies to them. They are so passionate in growing their ideas that they will go the full mile to achieve it, starting from the ground up.
There have been many start up stories about big time bankers and lawyers giving up great careers to start their own businesses. In many of the cases, you will see that from their plush offices and sea of assistants, they will go down and get their hands dirty on their start up.
7) Entrepreneurs seldom expect to become huge
They seldom would have expected what they had started to become so big. Many of the successful entrepreneurs around the world did plan to grow their companies from a small start-up into a big company, but most never expected their companies would become as big as the company eventually turned out to be. Very few would actually have thought about the ultimate size of the company they had started.
Passion fuels entrepreneurs. When they get great ideas, they can be engulfed in it. In their mind, they are looking for ways to make a change to other’s lives, then to theirs. Making money is a byproduct of business; passion for change may come first, but it is not wrong to have it as one of your aims.
When starting a new project, entrepreneurs will be very concerned with launching and running things smoothly. Over time, it is by focusing on the product; making it better for the consumers and working on spreading its reach to more people (marketing), that will help the company to grow bigger.
While it is good to have plans on how to grow the company or in which direction to take it, many entrepreneurs do not have the end goal in mind. Reason being, is that they love what they do and are enjoying every moment of the process, that they do not really want to end or retire.
8 ) Entrepreneurs like working with people
For entrepreneurs, having people who understand them and people who want to work with them is very important. Trust is an important factor, and betrayals can be very painful for them.
It is very important to understand that business is all about people. Your customers are people (whether its B2B or B2C), your staffs are people, your business partners and competitors are also people. Whatever product/service you offer, will always be about helping others.
Whether it’s software to help businesses work more efficiently, or a product that would help your end customers, there will always be a human element involved.
Work on creating products that are human centric, making it easier for them to do something. By working on understanding their customers better, Apple has made their products and customer pitches extremely user friendly, hitting the right nerve with everyone they pitch too. The understanding that it all involves around people, has helped them become one of the largest companies in the world.
9) Entrepreneurs are contrarians
They will do things in the contrary if they feel it is right. In fact, they enjoy being contrarians – doing things differently and being unconventional. Sometimes, their plans may look unrealistic to others, even to their team members who may be close to them. Despite others not completely believing in their plans, they will still try to push for their way of doing things. This may, at times, create some discomfort among team members.
If you follow conventional rules, a Group Buying concept is not the right way to go. The rules would be that a wholesaler/distributor will buy from the manufacturer, and will sell it down to the retailers. To get a good discount, you would have to buy in bulk.
Going directly to the supplier was always frowned upon. Firstly, because the middleman was being cut out. Secondly, the supplier would not be interested in dealing with very small orders.
So people realized that if they got together and made purchases, they would be able to get better prices because they were purchasing larger quantities, and they would be able to bypass the middlemen, and go directly to the suppliers.
As it was unconventional, it took a while for people to grasp this concept. But it is now the new norm in purchasing. It takes an entrepreneurial mind, to understand the dynamics in business and to do something about it, that could change the world.
10) Entrepreneurs create unintended enemies
Due to their contrarian nature, they can make enemies because of their way of doing things, and can become a threat to others, especially their competitors. Sometimes, investors may not like how the entrepreneur does things, and sometimes some team members may be unhappy about the way things are moving.
It can be difficult to get everyone on board with your idea. There will be people who will not understand what you are doing and may not agree, as it is contrary to what others’ do or believe in.
One good way of getting people on your side is to explain the reasoning of the steps you are taking. If you break your explanation down and explain your idea logically, people will understand you better. This will help you to win them over.
Remember business is all about people, your investors and teammates are also people. If you are able to convince them about your idea, then it will be easier to invest in you.
We have opened up a discussion on ‘How to develop these traits?’ at our Coursekit Classroom, do Signup and join in the discussion. Follow the Instructions Here to Sign Up.