Don’t be fooled, Entrepreneurship isn’t Personality

abex_img1The prevailing notion of the entrepreneur is the go-getter, fast-talking, outgoing, people-person who shrewdly cuts deals. This person is usually an extrovert, hardly an introvert. For many, they’re unable to describe the art of entrepreneurship beyond this personality trait.

This is a costly misconception.

At the core of entrepreneurship are principles and policies that will help anyone build business systems. I repeat: anyone – quiet, loud, calm, or in-between personality – anyone.

Fortunately, we have enough proof in the corporate world to confirm that successful entrepreneurs come in every personality trait imaginable. They all thrive because each one, personality irrespective, found the principles that make business work.

Every pilot knows that they have to comply with the laws of aerodynamics to enable them fly. Likewise, entrepreneurs have to adhere to the principles of entrepreneurship and the laws of money in order to succeed.

The principles make the professional. That’s the real deal, not personality. No doubt, it helps to have certain personal qualities to help you; however, professional endeavors are built on laws and principles.

As you refine your personality, find the laws that govern entrepreneurship, apply them and success won’t discriminate.

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Say it: “I Was Wrong”

contemporary-artworkIn certain communities, getting older means that you’re supposed to know ‘everything’- it’s an unwritten rule, a common notion.

It’s worse if you’re an elder or a leader, folks get shocked if you show that you don’t know – you’re expected to know. It’s shameful not to know.

Sadly, the ‘know-all’ attitude doesn’t work well with people today. Folks are smarter, more sophisticated and exposed than you think – and can easily call you out on your bullshit. It’s hard to manipulate people these days; they see right through your act.

Hence, if for some reason you were wrong, made a poor judgment, messed up or missed it in anyway, your best bet would be to own up and admit you were out of line.

As a CEO, it’s now harder to lord it over your management team. In the 21st century, effective leadership entails that you get comfortable with admitting your mistakes and then seeking ways to make amends.

You don’t know it all – not even with Google at your disposal. On that note, you’ll make mistakes; we all know that you will – and that’s OK!

Dear Entrepreneur, It’s OK to Get a Job

GetJobTwo, maybe three camps exist on the subject of entrepreneurship.

We have the group of employed folks who think that entrepreneurs are losers who stupidly live on the edge for no good reason.

The other crowd is the entrepreneurs who believe that the employed simply have no balls to pursue a conviction.

Then, there’s the middle – who try to combine both endeavors.

But who is right?

None!

The entrepreneurial journey is not a straight line. We have folks who have never worked for another and guys who worked awhile before starting a business. Others move in and out – balancing employment and entrepreneurship.

We all go about the journey differently. No one should be trapped by one method.

So as an entrepreneur, if you have to temporarily get a job to stay afloat, do it. It doesn’t mean your dream is dead or you’ve failed – sometimes going cold-turkey hurts more than it helps. The idea is to do whatever it takes to achieve your dream.

On that note: relax! A job doesn’t make you any less of an entrepreneur. If you must get one, do it. No shame.

Dear Startup, Profit is a Mirage

NicolaProfit is a double-edged sword. On one hand, it’s one of the signs of a healthy business, and on the other, it means zilch – especially in a startup scenario.

By definition, a startup is an idea with the burden of proof – an unconfirmed customer base and a tentative business model. On this backdrop, profit can’t be viewed the same as in an established business.

What should a startup’s attitude to profit be? Forget it!

You read right. Profit should not be your primary focus for the first three to five years. Instead, mind your cash flow and put good financial management systems in place to help you through the uncertainties of the early years.

I’m not arguing against profit because you’ll probably make some from the start. But, I seek to correct the attitude and undue (profit) excitement that ends up blinding startups to the real issues.

Profit begins to make sense after you’ve crossed the threshold to become a proper business. This means that you’ve tested your theories in the market place, gotten feedback from customers and set up business systems that support your sales process. Before then, profit doesn’t mean much.

Boredom: The Key to Success

Boredom“Do what you’re passionate about and you’ll succeed”, is what you find in many motivational books. But that’s only an aspect of the truth.

I am a writer. I’ve engaged in this passion for long and discovered that passion can wane, even if you love what you do.

When this occurs, you’re left with the discipline of craftsmanship. In my case, this means having a writing schedule and pouring in the hours required to actually write – no frills or fun fair.

We live in exciting times when everything is supposed to be sensational. But the successful will tell you that a huge part of their daily work is boring, mundane and uninspiring. They still do it because they understand that mastery of the boring elements is the real success.

Largely, craftsmanship isn’t inspiration dependent. Hence, you show up to work and do a great job without waiting to (first) feel good or inspired. Usually, inspiration catches up after you’ve started your work.

In the success equation, passion is only a small part and monotony is the chunk. That’s why the greats rarely wait for inspiration – they just do good work.

Law: The Glue of Business

LawAgreement – that’s business in one word. Two or more parties agree to shared promises. Honored agreement is good business while agreement dishonored is bad business.

Previously, an agreement could be settled with a firm handshake. Folks understood the meaning of the act and society was designed to support it. These days, it’s seldom that way.

Now, people’s understanding of an agreement varies – greatly. Hence, laws have been adjusted to fit the times.

The legal system is a vital tool needed to put everyone on the same page and also, to make adequate arrangements for anyone who decides to get off the page. The law unifies understanding; it is the oil of agreements.

I’m aware that some countries have weak legal systems. It’s no wonder why it’s difficult to do business in such places because agreement gets fluid and results take time – and are sometimes hard to sustain.

Ideally, the law is designed to create order. And order breeds prosperity. However, as we grapple with reality, it helps to know what obtains and properly play our part in our business dealings.

How To Positively Impact Others

57279-49334Angela Franklin changed my life.

She was my freshman English professor in college. Angela’s class was the start of the making of the writer. As I went to collect my graded paper (which had an A on it), she said these words as she handed it over, “Samuel, you’re a strong writer”. That was it. I thanked her and walked away, but something was different.

The moment she said those words, the writer in me emerged. I had never thought of myself as a writer, but at that moment, everything changed. For the first time, I saw the writer in me.

We experience these defining moments throughout life – when in an instant, we become. Our eyes are unveiled (the curtain is pulled back) and we’re ushered into a new world. These moments make us.

Learn to gift people with such moments by simply telling them the good that you see (or have) identified in them. Ms. Franklin saw a writer and told me what she saw. Simple!

No grand gesture. Just see the good in someone and let them know.