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Posts Tagged "entrepreneur"

Optimism in Entrepreneurship: Is It a Requirement?

on March 16 in Creative Partnering | 0 comments

A while ago I saw a quote someone re-tweeted from Michael E. Gerber, the author of The E-Myth and Founder of Club E: “The entrepreneur sees opportunities everywhere we [sic] look, while many people see only problems everywhere they look.” This statement made me wonder: Is seeing opportunities (aka optimism) vs. problems (aka pessimism) a requirement for entrepreneurship?  That just seemed too polarized and limiting for my tastes. Here’s what I’ve been able to work out so far.  Gerber’s quote may be true for entrepreneurs who see opportunity everywhere and especially for visionaries surrounded by opposition.  His statement provides a needed psychological boost–and rationale for consumption.  One thinks: “I see opportunity everywhere; others only shoot me down.  This guy supports and gets me so I need to follow him, buy his stuff,  join his group, etc.”  Don’t get me wrong: I LOVE Michael Gerber. I’ve read the E-Myth Revisited and I’ve seen him speak. He is an incredible resource and inspiration.  He essentially has made the business case for process development to small business–something  most consultants constantly struggle to do.  In many ways, he is a hero and an icon for small business leaders–myself included. But I guess I’m more concerned with defining a successful entrepreneur vs.  just an entrepreneur.  So my position is that successful entrepreneurs see opportunity but don’t put blinders on when it comes to problems. In other words, they have to see and listen to potential problems.  Sure, they must consider the source, but to mistake critical thinking for negativity and therefore to discount it is (in my mind) a huge mistake. Everyone talks about entrepreneurs having vision but I think that vision alone can be their downfall. Instead, I propose this: Success equals vision validated by data and tempered with reality—which is sometimes clouded by enthusiasm.  This is all the more reason entrepreneurs need outside perspective from a trusted advisor–a “creative partner,” if you will.  I realize my statement might sound pessimistic to some, but I call it healthy skepticism–and part of the value I provide to those who understand the necessity of working through “problems” before launching. The rationale: Better for me to point out any potential pitfalls now than your customers (or non-customers!) after you’ve already invested blood, sweat, tears, time, your money, other people’s money, etc. What do...

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Defining a “Small Business Owner” and an “Entrepreneur”

on May 25 in Uncategorized | 2 comments

Yesterday, Entrepreneur Magazine and @EntMagazineAmy asked via Twitter: What’s the difference between a “Small Business Owner” and an “Entrepreneur”? Here’s my take on the question: A Small Business Owner holds that management position because s/he bought an existing business or franchise, inherited a business, or started his/her own business. The Entrepreneur is a subset of the Small Business Owner category, based on that last criterion.   However, an Entrepreneur started his/her own business  oftentimes with more innovation in terms of the product or service offering and with distinct strategies and goals (especially if they are “serial entrepreneurs”).  Entrepreneurs are idea-people who create new categories for competition and thrive on addressing unknown business or consumer needs.  (Successful entrepreneurs validate those needs with market research.)  In addition to their passion, they think strategically about launching their ideas and they invest in the necessary marketing and business plans to obtain additional funding and promote their business.  At the most sophisticated level, they don’t intend to be a part of the venture forever; they have an exit strategy based on financial return goals being met.  (More information on how entrepreneurs do business available  in a 4-slide presentation here: Note: I realize this post makes the Small Business Owner sound generic, but the truth is, I think the whole category of Small Business is problematic.  It’s a broad description for all types of businesses and hasn’t been successfully mapped out and divided up specifically enough, in my mind.  The definition of 500 employees or less is counterproductive to establishing meaningful connections based on similar business challenges.  Under the Small Business umbrella, we have Entrepreneurs, Independent Business Owners, Freelancers, Solo Practitioners, Start-Ups, SOHOs, Microbusinesses, Microenterprises, and Small Businesses. To remedy the nomenclature issue, I raised the following question on the Arizona Small Business Association LinkedIn Group and would love to get your responses here: Degrees of Small: What kind of small business are you? Sure, companies less than 500 employees are all small businesses, but there are subsets, such as Entrepreneurs, SOHO (typically 5 or less), Microbusinesses, Microenterprises, and probably more–each with their pros and cons. I’d like to know which labels members are identifying with and why.  Are there any stigmas or benefits associated with...

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