As Entrepreneurs, there are so many things we need to know and do it sometimes feels like an impossible goal to actually be the person we want to be and serve all the people we want to serve.
Do you ever have this happen? When working hard to create something of value:
- you feel overwhelmed by the possibilities and say to yourself, “this won’t work.”
- you sell, but not consistently, and think, “this is not a big enough market.”
- you have amazing feedback from clients but still believe, “I’m not worth more.”
- you need more resources, money, feedback, insights, research, but you feel, “I’m not enough!”
Being an entrepreneur is not a ‘day job’, it is a lifestyle. Although there are a lot of skills required to run a business (not all of them need to be yours), there are considerably fewer characteristics that make a great entrepreneur and even less that are expressed in the typical business owner. If you are worried you are not qualified to be an entrepreneur because you don’t know HTML or you cannot manage an online Twitter account, then let me show you that you likely are. The answer is “P.O.P” and I don’t mean soda.
There are hundreds of skills required to run a business, most of which we can hire out. To be an entrepreneur we may have about a dozen characteristics, like vision, big-picture thinker, people orientated, goal-driven, and others. In a career as an employee, these are called our ‘soft-skills’. In the 1980’s being the ‘knowledge holder’ gave you the top management spot. Having soft-skills were not as valuable. Today, in an age when information is widely available to everyone, the one holding the knowledge is only average, not exceptional. The soft-skills is what makes a great employee and a great business owner. Here are the three characteristics most displayed by entrepreneurs who create and maintain a successful business as identified in by Ron Knowles and Chris Castillo in their textbook “Small Business An Entrepreneur’s Plan“.
P.O.P goes the entrepreneurial engine.
This one seems obvious and is often not looked at as a positive characteristic. If you have ever heard someone say, “well, she is just so caught up in her own world” or “she thinks everyone is interested, she’ll never make that work.” For outsiders, our passion can seem outrageous, but let me assure you, without a strong connection to your passion you will not survive in business. It is because of passion, whether it be for the delivery of the service, the implementation of ideas, the development of products, or the management of the business, that an entrepreneur stays the course. It is very hard to do the tough work inside a business when it takes more than 8 hours a day or more money than you expect, to stay the course for years. Without a driving connection to your own purpose, which comes out of your passions, your business will not last long enough to be worth anything you or to others.
Successful entrepreneurs see opportunities everywhere. Initially, you may only see the opportunity connected to your passion, but as you build this ‘muscle’ you will start seeing possibilities everywhere. Sometimes, seeing opportunity everywhere is to the detriment of the owner, as opportunities can drag a person in many directions if they are all pursued at the same time. If you see possibilities for new products from a conversation with a client or a new market because of a visit to a city during your vacation, you are already using this skill. Be open to all ideas as they come to you and create a process to help you evaluate to implement now, later, or not at all.
The overnight success is usually at 10-year journey full of hard work, failures, steps backward, and small wins. It is because of passion that a successful entrepreneur stays the course. It is the opportunities that come from failure that hone the focus of a business to its most successful. Only a true entrepreneur is willing to pick up the pieces after a loss and make it work for them. If you want to be in business for yourself for a long time then you must be willing to be in your business for a long time. Learn how to ride out the troubles, change direction when it makes sense, and take advantage of the tides of opportunity that will come along.
Yes, you may have to learn a lot and implement new skills you never thought you would need to know, but if you really want to be in business for yourself 10 years from now you need to have P.O.P. Check in with yourself, get a friend to help you, or hire a business coach to help you identify your P.O.P. and align your business.