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Sunday, 22 October 2017

Entrepreneurship, Nature or Nurture? It Certainly Needs a Dream!

There is no question in my mind that entrepreneurs who create and sustain successful businesses combine great ideas with their own blend of passion, commitment, personal values and strengths.

Indeed they often exhibit a huge level of emotional attachment to the business that is almost like having surrogate children.  In fact if that commitment and dedication is not there then I can't see how it would work.

Success comes about through a combination of innate curiosity, a strong belief in one’s own abilities and a desire to create something new for a market that may be
well. There is a magic blend of positive personal characteristics and an eminently marketable idea.

Unsurprisingly then I always tend to look for this combination of talents in people whom I am mentoring. It is never just about making money.  Most of them look upon material rewards as the effect or symptom of the cause and it is that which delivers the greater satisfaction.

Indeed the acquisition of material possessions can often be viewed, perhaps subconsciously, as a reward for effort that can only be given personally.  

They feel that the act of creation, whether overt or hidden, is exciting, is enjoyable and delivers a strong sense of achievement.

They also exhibit a dogged persistence, a sort of bloody minded intention to succeed whatever obstacles are in the way together with a strong conviction that what they are doing is right.

It is said that Thomas Edison tried 1,000 experiments before the final successful incandescent light bulb emerged.  When asked how he could live with all that perceived constant failure he said that they weren't failure, they were 1,000 lessons that had to be learnt.

The question to ask then is whether entrepreneurs are born or made? Is it a matter of nature or nurture?

In my somewhat chequered past I ran a Government sponsored training course for unemployed executives called "Start and Manage Your Own Business" and it really opened my eyes.

Many of the participants had been in the public sector or had been in middle management in the private sector.  It rapidly became evident that for many the lure of Government grants and loans were far lore a driver than the prospect of having to build a business with all the attendant problems.

It has been suggested that 80% of start-up businesses fail in the first year through underfunding, a lack of marketing expertise, lack of financial expertise and overall lack of good commercial common sense. Moreover the lack of a vision of what success looks like is even more significant.

In fact all of the operational skills can be taught and developed which removes a multiplicity of excuses for failure.  The factors for success are much more in the way of feelings and emotion.

Of course that depends eventually on both the skills and the emotional attachment being present in any entrepreneurial business. If the leader doesn't have allot indeed any of the skills then the clever thing to do is to bring them in and make sure that the team is well aware of here the business is going; that they know what success looks like.

An entrepreneur who can build a team of all the talents with the requisite skills and overlay a layer of commitment, dedication and above all, passion will have constructed a sustainable enterprise.

The key is to accept that nobody knows everything so the ball must be passed to the right person in the right job and that takes humility on the part of the leader.   Not easy to achieve but dramatic in subsequent results. 

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