In my earlier article, I explored the rise of entrepreneurship among women, and what the definition means to employed women and business owners alike. Drawing on my coaching experience with women entrepreneurs I’d like to follow on with the three key characteristics I frequently see amongst this enterprising group.
Three Key Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Women
In my experience working with dozens of entrepreneurial women, the characteristics that set them apart are a willingness to take risks, a high value on flexibility and resolute tenacity. Risk- taking is an element of any working woman’s life, the degree of those risks is what sets entrepreneurial women apart. Deciding to leave paid employment is the first of many risks, and one too great for many women.
Statistically, women’s businesses grow at a slower pace and start with smaller amounts of capital than businesses started by men. Women tend to be more risk-averse and will often use savings or loans secured against their homes to finance a business rather than go to bank or venture capital investors. Starting small is not as problematic for many women who start in consultancy or the service sector, which accounts for nearly half of all businesses in the UK started by women. However, is can be problematic for those in manufacturing or other industries that are capital- intensive. Entrepreneurial women research their options, but still take calculated risks.
Interestingly, the main factor that motivates women business owners is not financial gain, as many would assume, but independence. In my experience this often translates into not just doing things your own way, but also on your own time scale. Most women who start their own businesses know they will work longer hours, but it will be on their schedule. This is vital for working mothers in particular, and is borne out by the evidence that the key years for women to create businesses are in their late 30′s – often childbearing years. Women I work with often cite being able to pick up sick children from school, attend sports days as well as take time off during school holidays. One business woman I know with a 7-figure turnover works relentlessly for her clients throughout the year but takes each and every term break off as well as the entire month of August to be with her children.
Lastly, entrepreneurial women are tenacious. Ignoring naysayers is an early challenge as not everyone will be encouraging. Pessimism, often in the guise of well-meaning advice, can kill a business in its early stages and ignoring this when things are rough is one of the first lessons any successful entrepreneur learns. They show a willingness to keep trying, tweaking products or services until they fit the market perfectly. Tenacity does not mean blind optimism; it means a willingness to change a product or presentations until it is right using both guidance as well as intuition.
Thinking about Entrepreneurship?
1. What do you think are the key characteristics of women who set up their own businesses?
2. Which characteristics do you have?
3. What would you love to do with your life if you could not fail?
TO define who an entrepreneur really is, let us first have a clear understanding of what entrepreneurship is all about. Many facet of definitions have been given as to what entrepreneurship is, but a “common denominator” to all of these definitions is that entrepreneurship is the practice of starting new organizations, particularly new businesses generally in response to identified opportunities. An entrepreneur on the other hand, is a person who undertakes and operates a new enterprise or venture and assumes some accountability for the inherent risks.
Inherent in the life of each and every one of us lays a hidden entrepreneur waiting to be unleashed. You and I are talented in one area or the other which in turn can become our entrepreneurial prowess towards living a better life and developing our economy.
In this 21st century, it is the force of entrepreneurship that can drive forward any nation that desires to achieve a sustainable economic growth. Entrepreneurship is a major contributing factor of economic well-being of a country both in terms of economic growth or job creation. With the seeming job cuts and massive layouts, the only resort will be the force of entrepreneurship. More important, our future rests squarely on entrepreneurial venture founded by creative individuals. They are inspired people, often adventurers, who can at once disrupt a society and instigate progress. They are risk takers who seize opportunities to harness and use resources in unusual ways, and then thrust us into the twenty-first century with a thunderous roar.
According to Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, 2000, “One in ten adults in the United States today is an entrepreneur. This phenomenon is by no means restricted to North America. The leading country for entrepreneurship is Brazil with one in eight adults an entrepreneur. Australia is not far behind the U.S. with one in twelve. These countries – Brazil, the United States and Australia – lead the way. Contrast, for example, Germany (one in 25), the United Kingdom (one in 33), Finland and Sweden (one in 50) and Ireland and Japan (less than one in 100).” The question is: As Nigerians, where do we stand in this paradigm shift to entrepreneurial venture? As a nation, we have so many jobless applicants looking for jobs rather than what they can do by unleashing their potential.
While preparing this article, I was watching a lady on television, who was narrating her testimony on how she spent five solid years looking for a job without a breakthrough until it dawn on her to unleash her entrepreneurial potential. What did she do? She spotted a need when she noticed that during parties, the celebrants are always out looking for ice to chill their drinks. Then she started an Ice Block business, and not long, the business started booming. And today she is a boss of her own, and financially comfortable. Isn’t that wonderful? Some of you may say, well that is not for me.
Let me tell you, you have what it takes to live a better life. Just simply unleash the entrepreneur in you by spotting a need around your environment and then fill the gap. There are untapped hidden talents in you that can be turned into business opportunities. There are people out there with needs looking for solution. All you need is to recognize them and become the solution center that they need.
Hear this, you are a created creator! Look inward and take a personal inventory of your life. What have you to offer to someone? You are not an accident or a mistake. You are created to continue in creation. The ultimate creator, God, stopped creation in six days and left you to continue from where he stopped. No wonder, He did not make a chair but He created trees so that out of the tree a chair can be produced. He created mango, not mango juice. If all the unemployed in our society today begin to look inward to discover what they possess, they will be amazed of what they can do. In other words, they will become job creators rather than job seekers. Is anything wrong in looking for a job? Absolutely not! The problem is – not everyone will get the desired job they want because competition is fierce.
A lot of applicants keep updating their resume in order to secure a place in the job market but all to no avail. The number of applicants on the street out-numbers the available job in the market. That means the odds against an applicant getting a job is high. And in most cases, some of these job seekers settle for jobs far below their personal worth as a result of frustration. This is not to discourage anyone seeking for a white-collar job but that so many have sacrificed their great potentials in seeking for jobs all their life.
That reminds me of the inaugural speech made by President John F. Kennedy, at the U.S Capitol in Washington DC, 1961. His profound speech on that day brought a mental revolution to the American people. In his speech, he said, “In your hands, my fellow citizens, more than mine, will rest the final success or failure of our course. Ask not what your country can do for you. Ask what you can do for your country”. He challenged their status quo, thus motivating them to unleash their potential. Rather than fighting their government to provide all their needs for them, the American people became challenged to do something that will add to their national GDP. That move of unleashing their potential gave way to great entrepreneurs including the likes of Bill Gates, who turned his talent and passion for computer into business. At the young age of nineteen, in 1974, Bill Gates has incorporated Microsoft computers. Bill Clinton, the former American President said, “Meeting then President John F. Kennedy when he was just 16-years-old led him to decide to pursue a life in politics.” Clinton’s leadership potential was unleashed when he had a handshake with President John Kennedy. As a young boy, Clinton became so determined with a mission to become an American President. Some of the leadership and entrepreneurial success in the lives of the American people were unleashed as a result of the magnetic effect of a profound statement made by John F. Kennedy.
Majority of times, some of us need a push to wake up from our slumber to the true reality of who we really are. We are all endowed with magnificent potential to create the beautiful world that we desire to live. Right now, if what you are doing is draining you, you cannot find any passion or fulfillment, and you feel you are working completely outside your area of purpose and potential, then you should begin to ask yourself some real personal questions.
Peak Performance Leadership & Business Development Expert – Elvis Ukpaka – provides impact-FULL Leadership, Self-Improvement and Business Development training and coaching solutions to high profile individuals and organisations. His reputation for helping people achieve peak performance at work, and in life, derives from a burning passion to deliver unparralleled value, by empowering his audience to actualise their potentials to become successful leaders and high performers.
As you have learned by now the entrepreneurial mindset is a combination of core beliefs and approaches to business which can breed success at an enormous level. Examine most successful businesses and they will probably give credit to this progressive and inventive form of thinking. It is no wonder it is so highly sought after.
Survival instincts are simply second nature to great entrepreneurs. The realm of business can offer a cutthroat experience and you would be hard pressed to last without these valuable skills. It cannot only help lead to the formation of a successful business but it can ensure that you are also capable of maintaining that level of accomplishment. Geared with intense mental toughness it would take an enormous effort to topple such a height of success.
Every year a host of new inventions and marketing techniques seem to present themselves to the leaders of the business world. Great entrepreneurs however are most likely to embark on a venture with untried and unproven devices – It is in their blood to experiment with change. They thrive on the chance to stand face-to-face with such a business risk. After all, the entrepreneurial mindset will remind you that success without challenges, doubts or misgivings is no fun at all.
Much like risks, persistence is another factor that is part of the make-up of the entrepreneurial mindset. In this instance persistence pays off, even during times of failure. Business leaders you must learn to continue and carry on even when things are bleak. Persistence does not allow you the opportunity to quit.
Stay True to Your Beliefs
Most important of all, in order to maintain a high level of success one must always stay connected to their core belief system. If you find instead that your heart no longer holds the passion for business a great entrepreneurial mindset will recognize that fact. There is no faking the drive for success and without it the business is virtually meaningless. What good is success if it is coupled with an overwhelming sense of indifference? It won’t be long before your clients recognize your apathy and when they do your business venture is as good as dead.
Jesse Rawstorne is a business coach and mentor that assists serious entrepreneurs in building a profitable online business with multiple incomes streams. Jesse and her top producing team have assisted hundreds of people to reclaim their lives and write their own paychecks from the comfort of their own homes.
So, how important is an entrepreneurial mindset and what are theses 7 magical keys or skills that you will need to acquire or adopt?
1. Attitude With Passion
I believe that this must be the starting point on any quest of this magnitude. When moving from the mindset of an employee to that of an entrepreneur, you need to crack this specific key. If you fail to understand the significance of a passionate attitude, the remainder of your quest may possibly be out of your reach.
To me, attitude with passion is everything, when it comes down to it, with the correct attitude, you either complete an action or not. By adopting the right attitude you either stay on track and keep moving in the direction of success or you fall by the wayside.
To be highly competitive in this current climate, I believe that separating attitude and passion, is a big mistake. So, can you have a winner’s mentality and exclude being passionate about what you do? I do not think that you can prise these two apart and win.
Your passionate attitude says all there is about you and your future. It will seep into absolutely everything that you do moving forward.
The only question at this stage would be to ask, ‘Are attitude and passion enough, on their own?’ I will let you answer that vital question.
2. Clarity Of Action
Clarity of action is an immense skill set to establish and the power of taking action is driven by clarity.
The important points here are knowing exactly where you are going and being prepared to take the necessary steps to make the dream or ambition turn into a reality. It is of the utmost importance that an entrepreneur has to accept that failure along the way is a part of the success trail and that he or she will learn from failure as well as success. An entrepreneur has to roll with the punches, like a boxer and not be too concerned when things go wrong.
As Tony Robbins states, ‘Clarity is power.’ and I agree, but ‘clarity is simplicity’. The combination of these two jewels cannot be underestimated.
So, in other words what entrepreneurs seek is to know their outcome before they embark on a new project, because this keeps their target clearly in focus. On the other side of the coin it also suggests to us not to over complicate things. An entrepreneur’s reasons are also key in developing the correct mindset on an ongoing basis but we will not be covering this subject in this article.
Once clarity is organised or known, entrepreneurs can just get on with the job in hand and develop and implement a massive action plan. If the entrepreneur adds persistency and consistency to the mix of clarity and simplicity, they will be well on the way to grabbing the prize.
Entrepreneurs are clear and concise on what they want and pro-activity will be moved onto the fast track and must be.
3. The Quest For Knowledge (personal development)
To continue the move towards gaining an entrepreneurial mindset the budding or seasoned entrepreneur will have to develop a thirst for continual knowledge and training. They must never stop their quest to find out more.
The successful entrepreneur will know that you never stop learning and although developing leadership is a key ingredient, he or she will be prepared to listen to people as well as lead his team.
This is definitely one of the areas which will assist you in developing a magnetic personality and charisma. Also your internal focus and monkey chatter have to be self monitored, you know, how you relax and also what you say to yourself on a consistent basis. Remember you will become what you focus on the most.
4. Innovation and Creativity
During the quest for that elusive complete mindset, a student should be flexible with everything that they attempt and always be on the lookout for new, fresh and creative ways of reaching their goals. They should always innovate, adapt and overcome challenges, problems and obstacles in any way that they can. Being prepared to take on necessary risks when required, is also an important factor to be considered.
Being open-minded and a free-thinker are also keys in assisting creativity and confidence. These skills will duplicate and cascade down into any team setting or group environment.
5. Honesty and Integrity
If you take any one of these pieces of the jigsaw out of the equation, you would reduce your ability to reach the lofty heights that you have tasked yourself with. So, being honest and using integrity become a way of life and they have to become daily habits and a part of who you become as a person.
When implementing a plan or communicating with others, ethics and morality pay a huge part in building the correct entrepreneurial mindset. Although effective decision-making is a an art and a critical component on the success trail, those decisions have to be ethical and moral. In this day and age anything less probably will not be tolerated by people in your drive for excellence.
6. Progressive Problem Solving
Any person wishing to be considered to be a top entrepreneur will need to become a progressive problem solver. If they learn to solve a person’s problem, they will be an attractive person to work with because they just became valuable to the marketplace.
How does an entrepreneur become great at progressive problem solving? It starts by asking the right questions, understanding the problems that are being faced and reducing the problems to its simplest terms.
Having identified the problem or challenge, never talk about the problem again, only talk about the solution. Then an entrepreneur would go to work on finding the answers with a winning attitude and act as if the problem was already solved.
7. Your Philosophy Of Belief
This is all about your total philosophy, about who you are and what you believe in as a person. I think this ties everything together and completes the package. Your philosophies are personal, but I feel that you must have philosophies which allow entrepreneurs to flourish, if you are yearning to complete your education in relation to achieving the correct entrepreneurial mindset.
I think that the first thing you have to believe in is yourself, because without that you are just going to plain struggle. You must know that you are already very good at what you do, but without adopting an inflated ego and continue to keep that belief in yourself no matter what happens.
Secondly you must have belief in what you are doing, so if you are training to be a marathon runner, business owner or guitarist, then belief in the activity is a major key. There is a big link between passion and belief here, that cannot be severed or parted.
Lastly if you are in a home business you should have total belief in your product(s). If not, consider promoting something different.
Philosophy and belief although combined here, can be separate subjects and discussed in-depth elsewhere.
I hope this has assisted you in some way to understanding the subject of developing the entrepreneurial mindset and also what I believe to be the 7 magical keys to work towards or consider when implementing on your quest.
Paul Bursey was a police officer/detective in London for 33 years and is now an entrepreneur, successful network marketer, internet marketer and publisher.