by: Apostle Buddy Crum of Life Center Ministries
Entrepreneurs can be found in many vocations: business, civil, scientific, and even political. While ambition may be considered a key attribute, I believe true entrepreneurship goes much deeper.
In recent years, bioengineers have discovered or uncovered some amazing facts about infants. These little humans are preloaded with lots of information-processing software that allows them to use surprisingly specific strategies to learn quickly and preserve into adulthood. Prior to this discovery, it was thought that babies learned only by interaction with their environments, primarily with adults. It was discovered that babies are born with a deep desire to understand the world around them. Their incessant curiosity compels them to aggressively explore it. They test their environments, make sensory observations, form hypotheses, and then they draw conclusions from their findings. This progression has been observed in babies less than a day old. I believe this process works the same way with the entrepreneurial spirit.
The entrepreneur’s curiosity observes or senses that something in their environment is missing or needs changing. They form a hypothesis of what it would take to make the change or correct a defect or wrong, and then draw a conclusion from their findings. Once they develop a strategy, they then look for the way to put it into practical application.
Martin Luther King was a prime example of a quintessential social entrepreneur. His obvious observation was that the inequities of the black man were not changing rapidly enough. King had the strong sense that it was the right time to make a difference. His hypothesis led him to draw the conclusion that by leveraging the civil laws already in existence, this could be changed. The strategy combined with an eternal commitment was made, and the rest is history.
The curiosity and passion of the entrepreneur sees what a thing could be like or the pay off, and then it becomes the driving force. As we know, it does not always work, but then, sometimes it does.
Some of the pitfalls of entrepreneurs
As a matter of interest, I personally believe it is a prerequisite of success for a founder to fail at least once in order to be able to succeed. While we cannot identify stereotypical personalities of entrepreneurs, there are some characteristics that seem to be consistent with the reason they usually fail. Having worked with these personalities for years, here are some of the reasons I have observed why entrepreneurs fail or quit.
Lose focus: When things become routine and are not growing at a rapid rate, the entrepreneur seems to lose focus. Most entrepreneurs do not
want to do routine work. They look to find someone to replace the task they are doing so they can move to the next thing. When their curiosity begins to wane, they want to focus on something new and challenging. This is usually a characteristic different from the small business owner who desires to grow, but is more patient to work with the details.
Run out of capital: I have observed that entrepreneurs are not usually good at managing money or capital, but they are very good at moving or adjusting it–I would use the word manipulating–to get what they want, but “manipulating” sounds negative. They understand leverage, but are not often as solid on estimating the true amount of time or capital needed to complete a venture. However, they are overly optimistic by nature and are sure they are only inches away from breakthrough.
Hire the wrong people: Real problem. They depend upon loyalty above all else from their associates and employees. If you are considered disloyal, this is an offense. For this reason, they will hire friends, family and other relatives at the wrong time or wrong positions because they believe they can be trusted. Doing the “convenient thing” leads to problems that will have to be dealt with in time.
Cannot say no: Personal gratification is a trait of the entrepreneurial personality. The desire to be liked and respected, especially by peers, causes them to have difficulty saying no to what they consider an opportunity for recognition. While this is often premature and can take time, they rationalize it, rather than a firm no or a “not at this time” response.
Two components that are the secret sauce for entrepreneurial success
Number one is to have a strategic plan that can act as a roadmap and guidepost for progress and a common point of reference for the team. This allows for consistent communication.
The second component is to have a competent person whose loyalty and priority desires to see the entrepreneur succeed. The other qualification for this number two person is they are strong enough and dedicated enough to ask the needed questions and challenge the answers, if necessary.
These are just a few of the reasons for delayed success or failure. There are many more. While the entrepreneur will learn from these experiences, do not expect full transformation. They must learn to test their environments, draw the conclusions from their findings, and work hard to institute their strategies.
To learn more about entrepreneurship pick up Dr. Crum’s book: Click Here