Do Entrepreneurs Really Think Differently?

Barbara Siegel

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Are they risk takers?  Is an entrepreneur a non-conformist, creative thinker or leader?  If you answered “all of the above and more” you have an appreciation for the tremendous confidence, talent and resources that it takes to be a successful contemporary entrepreneur.

In a volatile global economy while most professionals are heading to the safety and opportunities of large corporations better able to weather fiscal adversities, the intrepid entrepreneur creates independent opportunity.  It is a high risk career path but for many, it is both rewarding and stimulating not just for the entrepreneur but also for the domestic economy.

Despite fewer investment resources and cooperative lending available for entrepreneurs, new businesses or home based enterprises represented 69% of new business development in the United States in 2012, according to an article published in Forbes “U.S. Entrepreneurship Hits Record High” [May 2013].  A survey at the time revealed that more than 43% of Americans felt that they had the skills and motivation to start a small business.

What is the skillset and personality composition of the average entrepreneur?  What makes them succeed (or keep trying) where others are not willing to attempt owning and managing a private business venture?

A Penchant for Risk and Adversity

One of the key components about the personality of an entrepreneur (according to researchers) appears to be an embrace of and taste for risk and adversity.   Many entrepreneurs leave stable, full time employment to attempt to be partially or fully self-employed.  It is a high stakes game (particularly if the entrepreneur has obligations and family responsibilities) but the payoff is worth the concern and risk.   And they do it fully intending to succeed.

Nimble Strategic Thinking Skills

Have you ever been stuck on an idea or convinced you were right?  It is human nature to stand behind the ideas and champion concepts that we are comfortable with.  The difference is that entrepreneurs are not necessarily committed to all their ideas in the same manner.  While they may have passion and ambition for their business concept, if they are ‘wrong’ they are able to quickly change direction strategically and improvise a new resolution.   That ability allows the typical entrepreneur to troubleshoot and move through obstacles more efficiently.

Conquering the Fear of Failure

According to Carol Tice, the co-author of “How They Started: How 25 Good Ideas Became Great Companies” one key characteristic that most successful entrepreneurs share is a lack of fear when it comes to failure.   Coined by many successful business leaders including Coca-Cola CEO Neville Isdell, the term “fail faster” applies.  When it becomes clear that the decision or direction is wrong, an entrepreneur will plot a new course looking for the correct one.  They also eagerly adopt a healthy attitude of learning through trial, error and mistakes.

What we can learn from all entrepreneurs (whether they are fast rising or attempting to launch) is that creative thinking and confidence go a long way to supporting success in any endeavor.  Adopt those critical strategic learning and management skills through the expertise of our faculty of recognized business leaders.

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