By Rob Basso
Entrepreneurs are those of us willing to march to our own tunes, expose ourselves to the judgment of others, and convince people to try things our way.
As an entrepreneur, it may seem as though there are tons of hurdles to overcome. But more than likely you will not overcome any of them without looking risk straight in the eye and moving forward.
In a study put out by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, 98 percent of those polled said that the biggest barrier to entrepreneurial success was the “lack of willingness or ability to take risks.” And there were other barriers, including the time and effort required (93 percent); difficulty raising capital (91 percent); business management skills (89 percent); knowledge about how to start a business (84 percent); industry and market knowledge (83 percent); and family/financial pressures to keep a traditional steady job (73 percent). With that being said, it is clear that entrepreneurship is not easy. Then again, few great things in life come without difficulty.
Some entrepreneurs, who grow up watching their parents try to launch a business, learn early on that when there is a will, almost anything is possible. This was the case in my own experience. My mom tried many times to start businesses when I was a kid; however felt it impossible to prevail as an entrepreneur while raising three boys. Still due to her resiliency, we had everything we could ever need growing up. My dad, on the other hand, was always a very dedicated and hardworking employee. I learned a lot from them by observing the best aspects of each parent and applying it to my own business and professional life. I may not have realized it then, but these early influences helped me triumph in business. I then learned one of the best traits you can have as an entrepreneur is resiliency.
David Becker, president of the San Francisco branding and packaging agency, Philippe Becker, offered great insight into his outlook on entrepreneurship. Becker sees entrepreneurship as “creating something that wasn’t previously there” – something for which “you need vision, drive, and a willingness to step into an area where no one’s stepped before.” That takes confidence- and yes, a willingness to take risks. “We’re not here to squeak along; we’re here to do something big,” Becker asserts. “If you want big rewards, you’ve got to take risks. If you do what’s prescribed, you’re not going to do anything big.”
Entrepreneurs, by their very nature, are a motivated lot. They are not afraid to blaze their own trail to success, creating a path of independence along the way. In addition, many of them:
- Learned to be self-reliant as kids, whether they did so by holding part-time jobs such as paper routes, or watching their parents try to create their own ventures.
- Are resourceful and able to figure out a way around barriers to entry.
- Find entrepreneurship fun, even when facing challenges.
- Thrive on the success they have, which helps them to persevere.
- Bring a level of enthusiasm to the table that helps open doors and bring in orders.
- Are passionate about doing something
- Add creativity to the mix, whether it’s charting a new direction or producing something new in the market.
- Are sometimes lucky enough to have a role model or mentor who makes risk-taking much easier.
- The old mantra is true: If you love what you do, “work” becomes that much easier. In fact, it hardly seems like work at all.
- One of the best traits you can have as an entrepreneur is resiliency.
- Enthusiasm coupled with a solid product or service can help an entrepreneur gain entry into almost any marketplace.
- Perhaps the best formula for innovation is creativity, with a healthy dose of conviction.
Rob Basso’s book, The Everyday Entrepreneur is available at Amazon.com.