What makes Entrepreneurs?

Steve Jobs

Image: Steve Jobs

What do you say about the highly successful entrepreneurs – the Fords, the Gates, the Jobs, and the Warren Buffet’s of this world? That they were great visionaries, inventors, risk takers, creators, leaders and profiteers. Yes, they were all that, but they were also great opportunists.  And they don’t know the meaning of quitting.

Ford did not even invent the automobile, or the internal combustion engine, but he sure did know a thing or two about the assembly line, he helped perfect. Similarly, Jobs did not invent the computer, but he sure did know a thing or two about making the computer desirable. Warren Buffet did not win a Nobel for his contribution in the field of economics, but he sure did know how to make heaps of money.

So, what makes successful entrepreneur? The opinion is still out on this one, some say entrepreneurs are born, some say, no they are the product of their circumstances. Some say that successful entrepreneurs are extraterrestrial beings because of their ability to innovate, design, sell, market, motivate -multitask without breaking a sweat. While entrepreneurs as extraterrestrial being may be stretching it a bit there is merit in understanding what makes them tick?

That entrepreneurs are rare commodity is known. In a recent Gallup study, only 3 in 1000 students were found to possess the necessary attributes required of an entrepreneur. Before you jump to any conclusions, it must be mentioned that the attributes list was prepared after closely studying the highly venerated lives of highly successful entrepreneurs.

As far as Gallup is concerned, there should be structured pedagogy for aspiring young entrepreneurs, who show the necessary attributes. They must be cultivated similarly to kids with genius IQ’s, gifted ball players, chess whizzes. However, some say that structured regimented education would only temper the entrepreneurial fire exhibited by highly successful entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and that kids should be left to their own devices.

Undeterred, by the totally hands off view prescribed above, some colleges are already offering courses in entrepreneurship where trainees are taught basics of entrepreneurship and encouraged to bootstrap their business under the guidance of their counselors. How much of this actually works is open to everybody’s interpretation because too much of theorizing can  stop one from making decisions on the fly which has always been the hallmark of successful entrepreneurs.

But again, we are now in the information age, where it pays to be informed about business analytics, predictive forecasting, lean startup model etc. So there is merit in getting a head start provided you have the attributes of highly successful entrepreneurs. A little head start won’t do you any harm as it will only make you wiser to your environment.

But in the end it boils down to the entrepreneur himself. They have to dig deep down to find endless reservoirs of energy and perseverance when all seems lost and lesser mortals would have given up and gone back to the safety of their 9-5 jobs. Successful entrepreneurs just don’t give up. They just roll up their sleeves and love to scrap.

The author of the article is Ambarish Gupta, CEO- Knowlarity Communications.
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