What is Entrepreneurship?
The definition of entrepreneurship varies depending on the perspective used. It may be a field in business or it may be an activity in which people engage in. Describing the processes involved within it defines what entrepreneurship is. Understanding and seeking innovations, like improving an existing product line, is one of the processes in entrepreneurship. But is not merely innovating, this process should be taken a step further for it to be considered as part of entrepreneurship.
When we think of entrepreneurship, what immediately comes to mind are businessmen, and small-scale enterprise or businesses.
The definition of entrepreneurship lies in a single but most important concept:
The Keys to Successful Entrepreneurship
Here are 12 keys (according to Peter Drucker) to consider as you think about entrepreneurship.
Key 1: Those who perform love what they’re doing.
Yes — you need to love what you do. It’s called passion. Find your passion because it’s the place to start on your road to success as an entrepreneur. Plus, according to Drucker, your performance depends on it.
Key 2: Successful entrepreneurs do not wait until “the Muse kisses them” and gives them a bright idea; they go to work.”
Passion without action is no good. The reality is those who take action win the race every time over those who don’t. Stop putting off what you know needs done; listen to Drucker and ‘go to work’. Today please.
Key 3: What is our business?
Think hard — what is the purpose and mission of your business? Drucker was a firm believer in the power of ‘purpose’. Jobs at Apple lived it. Are you clear on your purpose as a business? It’s your North Star. So if you haven’t identified it — you’re lost in the dark and primed to walk off a cliff. Please don’t do that.
Key 4: Who is the customer?
Of course it all starts and ends here. Your customer. You know, the reason you’re in business. Pack well because your journey to really know your customer lasts the lifetime of your business. Plan to walk 1,000 miles in their shoes. Not 10.
How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur?
Key 5: Neither studies nor market research nor computer modeling is a substitute for the test of reality.”
Drucker called it “the test of reality”. The hyper speed world of communication, social media, and the Internet has turned the race to innovate product/market from a marathon to a sprint. Do you come from a culture of testing and experimentation? Or do you over indulge in the ‘study of the market’? A new breed of smart entrepreneurs choose option number one.
Key 6: Measure innovations by what they contribute to market and customer.
Drucker drilled home that the life blood of a company is rooted in management and innovation. Take his advice in key #5; and combine it with an understanding that to simply ‘test’ is futile without the important marriage partner of ‘measurement’.
Key 7: Often a prescription drug designed for a specific ailment ends up being used for some other quite different ailment.”
Be ready to pivot. Go with the market. Don’t worry if it’s not the way you ‘planned’. Nothing ever is. As Drucker alludes to here, some of the greatest success stories in business are the result of a change in direction based on market response or product surprise
Key 8:Innovative ideas are like frogs’ eggs: of a thousand hatched, only one or two survive to maturity.”
Drucker drives home the point well in his frogs’ eggs metaphor. Every idea you have will not be a winner. In fact, most ideas will be lousy based on market response. But it’s okay. True entrepreneurs understand this is part of the game and are willing to search through a thousand hatched ideas to find the ones worthy of nurturing to maturity.
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Key 9: All one has to do is learn to say ‘no’ if an activity contributes nothing.”
As you may know from reading previous posts, I am a huge believer in the power of the word ‘no’. And although I’ve taken some hits from some of my peers on this stance; Drucker backs me here. Yes — you have to learn how to say ‘no’. Those who understand their purpose and mission as a company, and therefore have steely eyed focus, should have clear boundaries around their time and resources. Do you?
Key 10: In the Next Society’s corporation, top management will be the company. Everything else can be outsourced.”
Although I’m not sure of the timeframe Drucker spoke of with his ‘Next Society’, I would argue we are there. Virtual Assistants in the Philippines, manufacturing plants in Shanghai and software coders in Croatia. Yes — outsourcing has officially arrived and wise entrepreneurs make it part of their strategy.
Key 11: Most of the people who persist in the wilderness leave nothing behind but bleached bones.”
Entrepreneurship is about knowing when to let go. Venture capitalist Dino Vendetti said: “The worst ventures are the ones which just linger. They neither discover the key to their success nor do they fail fast either. Drifting in no man’s land is the worst possible outcome.” If you find yourself adrift, it might be time to let go.
Key 12: Finding and realizing the potential of a business is psychologically difficult.”
Is it ever. According to Bloomberg, 8 out of 10 entrepreneurs fail in their business within 18 months of startup. Only 2 make it to the top. Why? Because Drucker is right; it’s just plain difficult.
Entrepreneurship according to Drucker. Learn it. Live it.
Some of the qualities you need to have or develop in order to be an entrepreneur or to set up your own business are as follow:
It is important for the individual to be comfortable with taking risks. This does not mean taking unnecessary risks – it is the ability to evaluate risk and decide which ones are worth taking and which ones are not, this is the key to understanding this process.
An entrepreneur needs to be relatively independent. You need to be able to think on your own, make judgments on your own and be comfortable to a large extent with your own judgment. This does mean however that you have enough faith in your own judgment to evaluate other people’s advice and opinions before deciding whether they valid or not.
An entrepreneur needs to be able to negotiate with people. This is key whether your are negotiating in a formal sense around a legal contract of some sort, funding either from a bank or a business start-up advice center or an angel, in any event you need to be able to negotiate well. This is a skill that can be learned by virtually anyone.
An entrepreneur needs to be creative. This again is a skill that people think they either have or they haven’t. You certainly have creative skills. You may have blocked as a result of self-doubt or self-judgment. The ability to think in terms of process about a situation rather than black-and-white thinking that is a creative thinking.
Finally you need to have some sort of support network in place. This is largely because of the pressures involved. Having a support network can be invaluable in terms of encouragement and in terms of being an outlet for pent-up emotions, or simply as a form of escapism from the reality of what running a business involves.
A support network can be a formal or informal process, simply family, friends, work colleagues possibly. It may be a more formal process by way of some type of trade association or professional gathering where common problems can be resolved.
Part of 2010 Conference on Entrepreneurship.
A panel of seasoned entrepreneurs, angels, venture capitalists, and board members discuss the common pitfalls most new entrepreneurs encounter when building their businesses.