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Friday, March 18, 2011

{Entrepreneurs are "Different"}

The above title is the actual title of a chapter in my textbook, "The Entrepreneur's Master Planning Guide."  I added the quotes, of course, to emphasize that we really are "special" in that "needs quotation marks around it" kind of way.  I will list below the profile characteristics of a successful entrepreneur, as determined by the authors of the book.

1.  Good Health.  Generally, successful entrepreneurs are physically resilient.  We deny ourselves the luxury of illness and will ourselves to be well.  I have noticed this and experienced it myself.  I do get sick, but very rarely is it in the midst of a super crazy time of my business growth.  There are no "ifs, ands, or buts" about it...we have to be there.  It's all us.  We must lead, create, cope...we can't be in bed.

2.  A Basic Need to Control and Direct.  'Nuff said.

3.  Self-Confidence.  When we are in control, we believe anything is possible.  When there are problems, we tackle them immediately and directly.  I have often said that I thrive in short time frame weddings and at crisis management.  I suppose it comes from a place of self confidence.

4.  Never-Ending Sense of Urgency.  When I read this the first time, I am pretty sure I nodded and said "yes" out loud to no one in particular.  I have always had a feeling of "do it now."  Inactivity makes us impatient, tense and uneasy.  "They have an achievement orientation and a constant, uninterrupted pattern of behavior towards that achievement."

5.  Comprehensive Awareness.  Essentially, this means we see the whole picture yet are also keenly aware of all the small cogs working to achieve the overall goal.  We are always aware of all alternatives and possibilities.

6.  Realistic.  Entrepreneurs are known for being risk takers, but that is not true.  We only partake in calculated risks for which we are predominately confident in their success.  We will measure and evaluate.  We often deal with people in the way we deal with functions and things and assumes others do, too.  This leads to item #9 below.

7.  Superior Conceptual Ability.  "Entrepreneurs possess that peculiar raw intellectual ability to identify relationships among functions and things quickly in the midst of complex and confused situations."  This means we know what's going on and are usually several steps ahead in the repair of that issue.

8.  Low Need for Status.  Some of you, whoever you are, may disagree with this.  You think that we are running the show because we want all the glory.  While that is true for some, this is what I think it means.  It means we don't need a corner office and a fancy car.  We will sacrifice those perks so that more can be poured into the business and our status will be directly related to the success of the company as a result.  We also don't need to be the "be all, end all" on every topic.  We are not opposed to asking for guidance and help in an area we know less about (like accounting, *ahem*).

9.  Objective Approach to Interpersonal Relationships.  Entrepreneurs are generally more interested in people's accomplishments and contributions than their feelings.  Everything is business.  I have a little sidebar story to tell as it relates to this topic.  When I started at AIDS Network in Madison back in 2005, they hired me because of my technical event planning skills.  What I didn't know was how much "cheerleading" I would need to be doing in the position and thus got myself into a few issues where the volunteers didn't appreciate the way I approached tasks and duties.  I had to learn to be more emotive in my communications and take time to recognize those volunteers who were giving so much and working so hard out of the kindness of their hearts.  It rubbed off on me, I think.

10.  Sufficient Emotional Stability.  Essentially, we're level-headed and can handle the extreme amounts of stress placed on us daily (usually by ourselves).  We are challenged rather than discouraged by setbacks or failure.  This is not to say we don't have strong emotional feelings and reactions, but just that we are better able to control them.  I am a woman, so I would say that it is still incredibly difficult for me to not get emotionally involved in my business dealings.  I have been fortunate that there are not many negative memories in my past, but those that are definitely still sting.

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