From my own ventures, I've learnt valuable lessons about being an entrepreneur. By Wandia Chiuri (Social Media Enterprise Architect, Wandia.info)
As a female founder, I have learnt a lot of things. When I started my first company, Vfirefly.com, a women's network designed to inspire, empower and connect women across nations, I thought it was going to be a breeze. If anyone could do it, I could!
Having worked in the sales divisions of two Fortune 500 companies I had plenty of training on how to communicate well, had lots of leadership training and strongly believed in what I was doing. Yet I still wasn't prepared.
Building my second company - which was more successful - taught me a lot about creating an idea (launch it lean or pitch it first), meeting with investors, building a team (developers, biz dev, sales, marketing), doing deals with partners, marketing and social media. More importantly I learnt valuable lessons - from my mentors and experience - about being an entrepreneur.
If you've considered the possibility of becoming an entrepreneur, here are 12 traits that are important in describing an entrepreneur.
- Risk Taker - Entrepreneurs understand that in order to make a profit, they will need to assume a certain level of financial risk. They are not afraid to take risks or make mistakes. Often they will push themselves beyond what most people find comfortable and recognize that they will make mistakes born from risk.
- Confident - Entrepreneurs are often pioneers who see opportunities long before most people. They have confidence in themselves and in their vision. They can show people what they know - and articulate what they don't. Having the confidence to say "I don't know" is also a powerful skill most of the top entrepreneurs possess. Then they are willing to take the next step and find out what they don't know.
- Focused - Great entrepreneurs know where they're going and have a strong stated mission to lead people on. They are passionate about their purpose, have strong focus and stay the course. They are really, really clear about what they want and what they seek to achieve. Some entrepreneurs fail when they try to become all things to all people, or try to do too much out of their area of excellence. Focus helps you say "yes" to the right things - and "no" to others.
- Organizer - Entrepreneurs are well equipped in the area of organizing all aspects of the business for current and long-term growth.
- Marketing Expert - Entrepreneurs are capable of understanding and implementing marketing strategies both online as well as offline. In today's world this calls for being resourceful, spotting and capitalizing on opportunities to sell a product.
- People Person - Entrepreneurs love to interact with people. They are proficient in customer service and have never met a customer they didn't like. This does not necessarily mean they are extroverts. It may mean they are willing to listen, pay attention to little details that separate them from the pack, and create a differentiation in the customer's mind that keeps buyers coming back for the entrepreneurs product or service over and over. They treat people well and they care.
- Self Starter - Entrepreneurs understand that if something is going to be done right they need to be the one to do it. They are never lazy and are easily motivated.
- Knowledgeable - Entrepreneurs understand the products and services they sell and have no problem explaining every facet of their business to interested clients or affiliates.
- Supportive - Successful entrepreneurs foster a positive environment that allows their teams to flourish. They recognize they cannot single handedly accomplish everything they need to. They are quick to see other's strengths, align the reward and recognition systems that best match their teams profile and deliver results.
- Initiator - Entrepreneurs are ready, willing, and able to take the lead on projects and assemble all the plans needed to move forward with any project. They always get more work done than anyone expects. They can share their vision or strategy with those around them, and inspire others to get things done.
- Constantly Curious - Entrepreneurs are fast learners. They have an active mind and recognize as the business manager they have to have a keen understanding of many aspects of the business from finance to marketing to strategy, engineering, design, people and business development. They are constantly curious, constantly learning.
- Genuine - Great entrepreneurs are clear on what their values are and are consistent in applying them. They have the courage to hold true to them without losing sight of reality. Entrepreneurs understand their strengths and recognize what complementary strengths they need from others. They surround themselves with people who are better than them, seek diverse teams and are genuine about their values, while recognizing not everyone is like them. They embrace the differences recognizing that "Group think" can blindside them and cause failure.
The truth is there are relatively few entrepreneurs that have all the skills listed above, yet their businesses are not only surviving, but their ideas are flourishing.
How do they do it?
Sometimes the best tool an entrepreneur can have is to pull together the right team. Very few people are gifted in all areas of business, so it just makes sense to find individuals that are a compliment to your business objectives. If you are strong in one area search out individuals who are strong in the areas where strength is required.
Chances are good that you will learn something from your employees while you work together to capture your vision for business success.
The World's Most Perfect Entrepreneur is one that knows how to manage resources. Sometimes that means knowing when to call in reinforcements and not being embarrassed to acknowledge your areas of weakness.
In essence, a weakness in an area of entrepreneurialism does not have to mean an end to a dream. It simply means finding the right running mates to give you a fighting chance at making it to the finish line.
Editor’s note: Got a question for our guest blogger? Leave a message in the comments below. About the guest blogger: Wandia Chiuri is a digital, mobile and social media aficionado. She has designed a career that combines an avid interest in global emerging markets with enthusiasm for adventure, fascination with science and passion for people. With a track record of leadership, she has worked in the sales divisions of two Fortune 500 corporations, Medtronic Inc. and Eli Lilly and Company and serves on the boards of two non-profit organizations. Follow her on Twitter at @Wandia_Info.