Things Top Entrepreneurs Do Differently

On 07/28/2011, in Entrepreneurship, by Jordan Wilson

Courtesy of an Ernst & Young business survey, Ten Things Top Entrepreneurs Do Differently.

As someone who has been an entrepreneur and started new businesses, much of the list makes sense. But I would add a few additional comments. 

Made, Not Born

True for the most part.

If you plan on becoming an entrepreneur, always watch how others operate in business. Then include the good points in your own venture and avoid the negative points.

What does your company do well? More importantly, what does it do poorly? What are the positive and negatives from the restaurant, retail store, or service company that you have recently used?

In my case, working in a public accounting firm was invaluable. I saw many companies up close and learned much about how to do things both correctly and incorrectly.

Seeing how good and bad enterprises operate will help you when starting out.

But Being a Born Entrepreneur Helps

It is true that entrepreneurs are made, not born.

But I do think that one’s personality plays a part.

Those who are risk intolerant will prefer the safety of a steady job. They will not want to risk their capital on a new venture. Others may lack the creativity and personal drive that is usually necessary to start and develop a brand new business.

So if it is not part of your makeup to be an entrepreneur, do not feel that you need to change who you are and become one.

No “I” in Team

When in charge of a company, unit, project, etc., always try and surround yourself with the best possible people.

Be confident in your own abilities. Avoid yes-men and weak employees who, while perhaps making you look better and stroking your ego, bring little other value to the team and your overall success.

In assembling a team, always look for complementary skill sets. No one is good at everything. Ensure your team has some members that address any limitations that you may have in your skill set. And that the team as a whole has diverse skills that will best meet your objectives.

As an entrepreneur who runs a lean company, look to outside parties to support your limitations. Accountants, financial experts, lawyers, engineers, technical experts – they can all be brought in on an as needed basis to provide support.

Entrepreneurs as Architect of own Vision

There may be no “I” in team, but someone has to lead it.

That someone is you, the entrepreneur (or boss, project leader, etc.).

On strong teams there will be many disagreements on the proper course of action. If you are the boss, ultimately all decisions come down to you. If you are not prepared to be the leader, you will have a difficult time experiencing success in your venture.

To ensure that the team works well together and that all oars are paddling the same direction, it is crucial that members share the same vision.

When putting a team together, many entrepreneurs focus more on the technical skills and experience of potential employees. But do not forget to assess their commitment to achieving your objectives. If some members are not on the same page as you wish them to be, it is a recipe for problems.

And yes, as the survey indicates, getting external parties to buy into the vision definitely assists in success. Again, this is an area that many entrepreneurs ignore (at their peril).

Simply Seek to be Better

I have written about this before, here and here.

You do not need to invent some previously unknown technological wonder to be successful. Many entrepreneurs find profits simply by improving on an existing product or service.

This can be done in a variety of ways. Improving the actual product or service. Finding a way to improve efficiency so as to produce the good or service at a lower cost to consumers. Developing a product or service that leverages off an existing item. Consider all the products and services that have sprung up to support Apple’s iPod.

So there you go, a few more tips on becoming an entrepreneur. And in these current tough economic conditions, entrepreneurship might be the best career option for many individuals.

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