Sunday, August 2, 2009

The Entrepreneurial Individual Part II

It was discussed in my last post (The Entrepreneurial Individual Part I) about the basic structural information towards entrepreneurship. Here are some Attributes needed by the Entrepreneurial Individual.

The Attributes needed by the Entrepreneurial Individual:


Everybody, it seems, who has ever commented on entrepreneurship mentions vision. Without vision it is impossible to be an entrepreneur. It could be described as a dream with direction. The visionary not only dreams about something, they almost experience it in real time. A dream is experienced, a vision is lived in.

William Heinecke says that entrepreneurs should "set goals about go easy on the vision thing." Setting goals is important but without vision the daring step are never taken. As the author has written when considering customer relations (Mastering Customer Relations [2000]), goals and objectives should be C-SMART:

  • Customer-centered
  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Realistic
  • Timely

Vision can be individual entrepreneur-centered as long as it is then translated into a customer-centered approach to business. Indeed, vision is individual. One of the hardest things an entrepreneur has to do is to communicate their vision to others in such a way as to fire enthusiasm.

Vision does not have to be realistic-it needs to push back borders and it certainly does not need to be agreed with anybody, save your own imagination.

The entrepreneurial individual or potential entrepreneurial individual need to ask themselves, "What is it I want from life, not just in financial, but in social, cultural, family etc….., terms?" Once that is articulated they can begin to build a vision around those ideas.

Entrepreneur appears addictive towards his vision!!!!


Commitment means head work and an approach to the business that borders on obsession.

The entrepreneur must be prepared to commit to their vision. They must commit in the sunshine and the rain, on the really good days and on the awful ones. Commitment is the fuel to take the project or business to the vision.

The commitment of the entrepreneurial individual must be long term. Patience and tenacity are needed to see a business or project through to success. There will be failures as well as successes and it is an important part of self-belief to be able to deal with both. Failures should not lead to giving up but to learning lessons and there should be no complacency or diminution of commitment when success occurs. Success is the platform for moving on to the next challenge.


Entrepreneurial individuals believe in themselves. Not only that, they also possess another linked attribute that makes self-belief work: they know their limitations.

Self-belief requires success to sustain it, which begs the question, how can success be guaranteed? One method of making success as certain as possible is a technique known to teachers all over the world and is that of "chunking". Within the overall vision, a series of goals can be set, success in one leading to work on the next, and so on. By chunking in this way confidence and self-belief can be built up. Start small and in stages and work up with each success.

Knowing one's limitations is also very important. The person who knows their limitations well not try to accomplish something they know that they cannot achieve success at until they have acquired some new skills or resources. This does not mean that they give up. If the task is important to the vision they will go out and either acquire the skills or resources for themselves or find somebody who can help.


The entrepreneurial individual is there for the long term and that requires a considerable degree of self-discipline. Entrepreneurship requires focused effort and that requires discipline with human, physical, financial, and time resources. Nothing should be wasted, especially time.

We all have a degree of discipline – we have to in order to survive in a society that lays down rules. This discipline can be worked on to make us more disciplined. To some it is more natural than others but with effort it is available to all who want it.

Now the picture is being built up:


Entrepreneurship is not one single attribute or skill; it is a mosaic of a number of them combining to assist in reaching the vision.


It might be thought that risk-taking is a negative attribute. However, in the case of the entrepreneurial individual it is the taking of calculated risks after a careful analysis of the factors involved and an assessment of the chances of cusses that is important. Without risk-takers there would be no progress-somebody has to take the first step.

It must not be thought that risk in these terms means a lack of caution. Entrepreneurial individuals weigh risks very carefully and then after a careful analysis of all the internal and external factors may take a risk that a more conservative minded individual would eschew, but only if the pay-off is high and risk is not likely to endanger the vision or their financial survival. Risk is very much a relative term.


The individual entrepreneur has to see the possibilities and devise strategies for achieving them. Pushing the envelope has to become second nature of them.

For every possible course of action consider alternatives. What could be done if …. ? Thinking is as important to the entrepreneurial individual as doing because it allows the vision to be clarified into actions. Entrepreneurs, being at the cutting edge of whatever business they work in, have to be creative. In many cases they are rewriting or even the breaking the rules. Christopher Price has said, "Business rules are good: break them." Perhaps this should be changed to: business rules are necessary so re-write them to fit the changed circumstances. To do that one needs to be creative.

(Roger Cartwright)


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