Entrepreneurs are Everywhere and Possess Similar Traits

June 19th, 2016


There’s a great little breakfast joint near downtown where I meet a friend every few months to catch up. At our last breakfast he was fuming. No, they didn’t burn his bacon, he ordered it nearly burnt anyway. He was burning about something else — his job. His previous employer had been acquired by another company a year ago and the resulting bad taste in his mouth had been increasing over time. Salaries had been cut, clunky management decisions kept coming and employees who came on board through the acquisition were at the bottom of the list for potential promotions and plum projects. ENTREPRENEUR breakfast

Like the new kid on the block whose name is called last when dodge ball teams are picked, it was unpleasant and professionally demoralizing for my friend and his colleagues who were caught up in the corporate chaos. He was seriously thinking of getting out. Not finding another job but another company – his own. Yup, he had been bitten by the entrepreneur bug and was trying to decide his next move. Our conversation then took a sharp turn into what’s needed to become an entrepreneur. Correction – “successful” entrepreneur. What does it take? You’ve heard the numbers: 80% of small companies fail. What traits make the impresarios who survive stand out? What makes them able to play small business dodge ball better than most, dodge the failure bullet and sustain and grow their enterprise for the long haul?ENTREPRENEUR dodgeball

Entrepreneurs have a passion for what they do and unbridled energy for getting things done. A willingness to work extremely hard is also a genetic requirement. As we started talking through these powerful prerequisites I realized I saw an example of this when I was on vacation earlier this year in Vietnam and Cambodia. In Ho Chi Minh City (formerly Saigon,) entrepreneurial energy is everywhere from small vendors along busy, motorcycle clogged streets to the modern and bustling heart of the city. I later learned new money and new companies are widespread since the country leaders changed course around the time the Soviet Union collapsed and began embracing the market economy (Capitalist Soul Rises as Ho Chi Minh City Sheds its Past, New York Times, by Thomas Fuller, July 20, 2015). They began looking for opportunities and fulfilling market needs which contributed to the voracious vitality now in the air.

It turns out whether in another hemisphere or right in our own backyard, entrepreneurial traits are strikingly similar as those my friend was beginning to identify and bring into full throttle – passion, energy, willingness to work hard. I was hungry to know more. What else did he need as part of his capitalistic DNA to be prosperous? Among the many factors that come into play, Fast Company provided a concise list in their article: Six Traits Successful Entrepreneurs All Share (fastcompany.com, by Khatera Sahibzada and Rob Bueschen, July 23, 2015). We’ll dive into these in my next installment.

In the meantime, does this initial peek, pique your interest in becoming an entrepreneur? Do you have what it takes? Drop me a line and let me know your thoughts and enthusiasm — or trepidation — associated with striking out on your own. See you next time when we begin to take on the six traits which foretell a likely future of entrepreneurial success.*

*excerpted in part and reprinted from Mary Elston management column with permission from Soundings Publications, LLC.

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