In the last few months, entrepreneurialism has taken off in a way that few could have predicted. It is one good thing that has come out of the recent financial crisis that much of the developed world has experienced. As the saying goes, when the going gets tough, the tough get going, and certainly in the world of business and enterprise, the going has been very tough lately.
However, the fact that times are hard tends to sort people out from those who give up and those who start thinking around the problem and finding solutions. Entrepreneurs are those who survive a recession and hard times by being resourceful, and by thinking in ways that often leave others standing. Are you such a person? Do you see problems as being challenges and opportunities, or obstacles and excuses?
If you’re the former, then the chances are you have what it takes to get your feet wet in the world of business, but what does it really take to be an entrepreneur, and can anyone do it when it comes to the crunch?
When the world of business starts to find itself squeezed on all sides, it takes a special someone to think of solutions that can address the problems. The skill required, whether as an individual or as part of a business is to try out new innovative ideas, or at least try old ideas out in new ways.
Of course, there’s no hard and fast way of saying how this should be done. One of the true marks of an entrepreneur is that they generally think of an idea before anybody else does, or they believe in a concept before anybody else does. Self-belief is crucial for anyone wishing to pursue the life of an entrepreneur. If you don’t believe in yourself, then certainly no one else is likely to. If you have that self-belief then that is perhaps one of the most important traits you can possess.
There is a myth, however, that entrepreneurialism is all about taking risks. Granted it may be perceived as risk taking, but in truth, entrepreneurs tend to be amongst the best planners the world of business knows. It’s easy to see why – because when you need to think laterally to work round a problem, you’ve already had to plan far enough ahead to realise that the problem existed. Unless of course the problem has hit your business like a shot from the dark, in which case you’re left reacting rather than responding.
The successful entrepreneur is an expert at being able to predict the future. Not necessarily in the way that a clairvoyant might claim to see the future, but being able to see ahead and anticipate problems is important in being able to adapt and grow the business around those problems. It is also required to have a vision, and be able to see where you want the business to be in a year’s time, two years’ time and 5 years’ time. Ambition and determination are critical in being able to realise this. Having dreams and ambitions is important, but many people have these. The entrepreneur is the one who makes them happen.
Another popular myth is that the successful entrepreneur has to come from the world of business, and must be someone who has a wealth of successful business experience already. Being able to run a business is of secondary importance to being able to drive a business idea forward. As with most things, you can have all the planners in the world telling you how it should be done, how it could be done and how it might be done, but unless someone has the drive and determination to actually get on and do it, it remains nothing more than a fairy tale.
Many entrepreneurs today are those who have witnessed large corporations and businesses crumble under the intense financial strain of recent months, and who have decided that it is better to be small and flexible in order to meet the demands of the dynamic world we now live in than to be part of an almost immovable force driving headlong towards a future over which it has less and less control.
Small businesses, home businesses and solo businesses have all welcomed a growing number of those who have the foresight to perceive problems, the ingenuity to see those problems as challenges or opportunities, and the determination to turn solutions and ideas into positive action. Entrepreneurialism is alive and kicking, and working out of sheds, living rooms and bedrooms the world over, and it is taking a bigger and bigger slice of business from those organisations too unwieldy to cope with the 21st century world.
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