These days, we have a lot of preneurs – socialpreneurs, entrepreneur, solopreneurs, mumpreneur, etc. I believe it isn’t about what one does, but how one does what one does. It is difficult to define who an entrepreneur is.
The definition has evolved due to technology. The bar to entry is now low and there are companies enabling entrepreneurs now. For example, Canva helps freelance designers do their work. Others include Shopify, etc.
A business is no longer tied down in a building. You can start at home or on a laptop or mobile phone in a coffee shop. One can even have a network of virtual employees and colleagues.
First off, not everyone is called to be an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur goes beyond the idea stage and starts a business, doing it innovatively and with zeal. Entrepreneurs who motivate me include my grandmother and my father.
Most of the principles I apply in running ReDahlia I learnt from my father who doesn’t have a formal business education. My dad took risks, went through the motions of uncertainty and stress and exhibited the qualities I’ll discuss.
My father is an independent thinker. Aside asking for advice from staff, he still thinks for himself and not swayed by others. The ability to think for yourself will help you as an entrepreneur.
This is the power of positivity. It is difficult to succeed in business if you don’t trust there’ll be great outcomes. An entrepreneur has to believe that his idea and dream are possible even when others don’t. This doesn’t mean one has to be foolish – insisting on ideas that are not feasible.
This means using what you have to get what you want. It means tapping into your network, for example. The lack of assets, knowledge and finance are basic problems that everyone faces. Your ability to take care of these in a creative way is what stands you out. No one has a lot of money. Financial and human resource issues will always be there and you have to think of how to manage these problems.
Entrepreneurs need a good dose of this. You’ll doubt yourself sometimes and if you are not careful, you’ll have low self esteem when things go wrong. Your ability to overcome these situations and feelings makes you a good entrepreneur.
My dad is very confident even amidst difficult situations and I have done a good job learning from him. It does not mean that there are times I did not doubt myself. When people get on social media to say entrepreneurship is rosy and glamourous, I laugh because I know it is a lie.
This also means persistence, determination, perseverance, doggedness, strength of will and relentlessness. Many times, the urge to quit will be greater than the will to continue. The ability to continue even when there is no hope is called tenacity.
The ability to persevere makes you an entrepreneur. I like the founder of Canva so much. She was rejected a hundred times by VCs and other investors, but she never gave up. She would always go back and tweak their idea and use suggestions that investors made till things worked out. Today, Canva is a billion-dollar company.
This is the end-goal – what you have in mind in starting and running a business. Are you building to sell off? To just put food on the table? Or to make more money? Vision is the fuel that propels you toward your goal. Put that vision down somewhere to serve as a reminder of why you do what you do.
It is easy to get distracted in this fast-paced world we now live in. There is constant info on everything and anything and nothing. You have to be focused on what brings results. Don’t be carried away. Focus on what can convert a customer making enquiries into a paying customer. Every activity directly or indirectly should be geared toward improving brand awareness and bottom-line.
Be proactive and don’t expect something from nothing. Be a doer. If you give instructions, be the first to carry out those instructions. My father, for example, would be very early for a meeting he instructs his staff to attend.
Our Client Services Manager told me she is inspired by me doing so much of what I instruct her to do. To be a leader, first be a follower. Speak with your actions and people will follow.
The entrepreneur needs a good dose of passion to succeed in what they do. My father have not used that word in his business but I know nothing else drives him except passion.
For the entrepreneur to succeed in his business endeavors, he needs a good dose of these qualities.