By Emma Lewis, Myriad Associates Ireland
Many of us have dreamed of coming up with the next big thing that makes us millions. An incredible, never-seen-before invention that takes the world by storm.
But being an entrepreneur is about so much more than simply coming up with a good idea and shouting about it. It’s all about being a business leader too, running your own company and bringing real value to society in the process.
Entrepreneurship isn’t something that is innate to everyone and the chances are there’s plenty you will have to learn. So we’ve taken a look at just a few of the most important characteristics entrepreneurs tend to have so you can hopefully identify them in yourself (or work on them!)
Often ideas come at you when you least expect them but thinking creatively is a good place to start. Apply your own life experiences – is there something you need in your life to make it easier but that no-one seems to have invented yet? Is there a gap in the market that really needs filling?
A survey by CBInsights that covered employees and founders from 101 start-ups looked at why those companies failed. It found that 42% of start-ups fail because there’s no market need for their services or products. This is well worth bearing in mind – your creative new idea does actually need to be needed.
Thinking creatively isn’t always easy but there are things you can do to get those creative juices flowing. Anything from listening to music or going for a walk can help, allowing your mind to relax and your thoughts to flow more freely.
Having a business strategy that works
It’s easy to get carried away with the thrill of creating something new, but a good entrepreneur will have a watertight business strategy behind them too. They’ll possess a strong business head, and numbers that stack up to attract investors.
By living and breathing all aspects of their business strategy and applying it throughout their business, entrepreneurs will often know it inside out. They will also be quick to adapt their business strategy as an idea progresses, coupling it with their own keen ability to learn. Furthermore, only by having a really sound business strategy can you know where things like extra funding can be gained. R&D Tax Credits is a big one here.
Applying the art of communication
Effective communication is key, and something that many entrepreneurs can struggle with. Whether you’re just starting out as a solo entrepreneur or running a FTSE 100 enterprise, it’s vital that you can effectively communicate to people on all levels. This includes staff, creditors, potential investors, customers, mentors and peers. Listen to their feedback and customers reviews too. Because frankly, if you can’t communicate your idea and the value it will bring both to the company and the wider market, it’s unlikely you’ll be successful long term.
All forms of communication should be mastered in order to be a really good entrepreneur. We’re talking written communication, in-person communication and group communication as well as online message and emails. Spelling and grammar count here too!
Staying extremely self-motivated
Think of some big entrepreneurial names – Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Tim Berners-Lee, Elon Musk – and the one thing you’ll probably notice is they all have is big personalities. They’re go-getters, not wall flowers. Because sitting back and waiting for the world to notice you doesn’t make things happen.
Innovation is a gamble, but successful people go out into the world wanting to make those around them sit up and listen. They desire action and change, thriving on the challenge of being a maverick. These individuals also don’t crumble under pressure or when people don’t instantly accept them, working tirelessly to overcome problems.
Motivating their teams to innovate and using innovation to promote a much happier workforce is also something a good entrepreneur will take seriously. They’re passionate about their ideas and the enthusiasm generated becomes infectious, weaving innovation into every area of the business.
Being open minded (even in the face of failure)
The fact is that being an entrepreneur is not easy and brings a large amount of uncertainty. Recognising useful events and opportunities and embracing them is key, but you need to accept that mistakes will be made and failure along the way is pretty much guaranteed.
Entrepreneurs are determined and should face their losses with a positive attitude rather than simply giving up. Sometimes there will be heavy financial costs to bear too (which again is why things like R&D Tax Credits and R&D grants can make all the difference).
It’s also important to accept that even the best laid plans may well not come off as expected. There will be setbacks and many learning curves, but effective entrepreneurs will maintain a strong mindset. Every situation and mistake can be learned from, strengthening the resolve to succeed. And of course, all new information gleaned is the chance to grow your business from a new perspective.
The take-home message
There’s no escaping the fact that some people are more naturally gifted in the entrepreneurial department than others. But with hard work, self-reflection and experience you’ll hopefully soon have a repertoire of skills at your fingertips that will bring you and your business the success you deserve.