What Is Entrepreneurship?
The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as
1. A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk; 2. An employer of productive labor; contractor.
Most of us can come up with the names of famous entrepreneurs who have made tremendous impacts to our society and the world at large: Henry Ford, Ray Kroc, Michael Dell, Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey and of course, Steve Jobs, to mention only a few. It’s hard to imagine what our lives would be like if they had never accomplished what they did. When compared to such legends, our own work and business value may seem downright puny, but take a look at that definition again. You may not have thought of it in these terms before, but if you’re managing a business venture you can and should regard yourself as an entrepreneur. And if you start thinking more like an entrepreneur then you will act like one, and that will lead to positive changes in your business.
Here are eight key principles held by all successful entrepreneurs:
1. Have a positive passion.
The one common link among successful entrepreneurs is an unyielding passion for what they do. You absolutely must know the reasons why you’re doing what you do; write them down and keep them foremost in your mind. Your passion and desire is the rock you will come back to when times are tough and you’ve slammed into those inevitable bumps along the way.
2. Develop and empower your team.
Behind every great name listed above stands a whole lot of people dedicated to their cause. Not one of these individuals made it without solid support from their teams. It doesn’t matter whether your team is two or two hundred; you’re going to need others to help you reach your goals. Delegate tasks to your team – tell them what needs to be done and by when, be sure they have the tools to get the job done and then let them do their work. Don’t hover.
3. Ask for suggestions and then listen.
You won’t develop a team willing to run through brick walls with you by hurling orders at them and slamming doors in the face of their input. Listen to what they have to say and suggest. They may actually have a better way of doing something.
4. Develop specific goals.
Things can get overlooked in the heat of business. Develop a list of goals for the team and for yourself, write them down and track their progress. Make sure these are reasonable goals; unrealistic expectations can only lead to poor morale.
5. Recognize a job well done.
Forget the tired annual review and give feedback and praise on a regular basis. Don’t for a moment think it’s silly. Not everyone will admit it but positive encouragement makes people feel better. Let your team know how you’re all doing and recognize those who did their part. This isn’t about elaborate gifts – a simple “thank you” in a group meeting can mean a lot.
6. Give constructive criticism and guidance.
The Best Ways to Praise Your Employees (Funny Video)
If someone is struggling or is not keeping up with their assignment, you cannot ignore the problem and hope it goes away. You need to address the issue in a private meeting – public humiliation is just plain wrong and will create resentment. Give praise for other things done well and then point out areas where you have concerns. Listen to find out why they’re having a challenge. Together, develop a list of steps to follow to rectify the situation and get their buy-in. Ignore this principle and good people can founder or will just leave you without notice.
7. Network with others.
You’re not an island. Build relationships with others who are doing what you’re doing; join groups and organizations that promote your business and offer tips and resources on how to succeed. At the very least, read books written by or about successful business entrepreneurs.
8. Keep your life in balance.
Don’t neglect your family and friends as you’re building and running your business. Take time to enjoy a ball game or a dinner out with the important people in your life other than your business associates. Indulge in your hobby – go play a round of golf; spend a few hours each week bowling, singing or quilting – whatever it is. Don’t neglect your health, either. Try to maintain healthy eating habits and get some exercise in whenever you can, even if it’s just a 20-minute walk around your office building every day.
Make a commitment to entrepreneurial thinking today and you’ll be pleased with the results.