Well, it’s a bit of an overstatement saying “Entrepreneurs are born not made”.
There is a science in being entrepreneurs, and it’s rather interesting to get into the psyche of one.
The word optimistic may sound rhetorical, but it’s the founding father of every entrepreneur you might have come across. But there is more to this than meets the eye.
Entrepreneurship requires flexibility, a malleable mindset. No matter how well you strategize, things will not always go exactly as planned. You need to rethink your strategy and adapt when life throws a curveball at you. There is no place for rigidity or stubbornness, within the ecosystem of Startups.
So what comprises of an entrepreneurial attitude? Let’s see some of the traits.
1. The behavior. It’s in the behavior
Behavioral study of entrepreneurs are and who better than Harvard Business School to do so. And
They compared the behavioral traits of entrepreneurs and employees and fascinating results unfurled.
11 key skills and situations were identified to test entrepreneurs and employees responses.
Interestingly, there was not much difference between the two parties when it came to motivating a team, collaborating with others, or managing sales operations. So where was the difference? It wasn’t in the hard skills but in the attitude.
Entrepreneurs are not a big fan of conventional structures. They like to disrupt and create ripples in the ecosystem, to make people less resistive to newer ideas. Networking with people is innate to them, which very much sets the tone of their behavior.
You need to understand. Amidst the euphoria of startups, people are committing to entrepreneurship without understanding the essence of it. Entrepreneurs represent a personality type, and people can build that personality to some extent. Therefore, they must assess their lifestyle and choices they have made, to figure out whether they fit the bill or not.
There is even a Harvard study, according to which a person needs to focus on behaving like an entrepreneur if he or she wants to be one.
2. Resilience is the key
Resilience matters in life. It’s the key to offset resistance. And there is no who understands resistance better than an entrepreneur.
Creating ripples in the market with a disruptive idea is no joke. There is a barrage of conventions and discouragement that an entrepreneur has to face.
The key is to become self-aware, and knowing that you do have control over your situation. You need to see things multi-dimensionally so that you can face tough situations in various ways. How you perceive or think about an event is what matters.
“Everything is a learning experience”. If you believe this, you will go a long way then. It’s the gospel truth for an entrepreneur.
“I haven’t failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” Just remember these words from Thomas Edison, and keep up the good work.
3. They are problem solvers
If you really think about it and go down to the basics, you will realize that more than anything else, an entrepreneur solves a problem.
There can be a technical glitch with the product, or a financial setback, or some managerial hassles with employees. These are problems that come up in the early stages of a business. So only a problem solver can help in settling the dust or cutting the clutter.
“An entrepreneur’s work ethic revolves around this very characteristic. This is how they create value for customers. Sustainable growth is attained when you understand, measure, and improve the value your company delivers to customers.”
So what is the best way to tackle the problem?
As Kafka said, “I let problems devour me”. The context may be different but this is very much what entrepreneurs do. They experience the problem and organically react to it.
At times you need to put your creative instincts to work, say when your competition is galloping your market share. In such times you need to be ahead of the curve and come up with a game-changing move. Then there are times, say when the product is about to release when it’s all about muscle, hard work, and how long you can keep your back straight.
That said, there is a science behind solving problems. There is a method to it, and that method comprises some steps. Let’s break them down:
Define the problem. In other words, articulate your problem.
For example, “The business is not scaling up, what’s the root cause?”
Don’t keep the problem with your own experiences or intellect. Ask other entrepreneurs how they solved the problem, or join communities or forums online. In short, network as much as you can.
Based on the gathered inputs, you might get an abstract solution. Don’t discard it and create hypothetical scenarios to use it.
Try out your hypothesis. Test your solution using at least two variables against a control group. In marketing, this is known as A/B testing.
4. Giving space to creativity
There was an interesting study done by MIT, according to which entrepreneurs use both the left and the right side of their brains. They try to cover and solve a problem both logically and creatively. I other words, they invest themselves intellectually, emotionally, and creatively, in equal proportion.
Another interesting study was done by Harvard Business School in 2016. It concluded that spare time leads to innovative solutions in people with an entrepreneurial mindset.
A fun fact. Both Microsoft and Facebook were founded in January. Does that ring a bell? January is generally the time when students have spare time and don’t really have classes.
As an entrepreneur, you need to give your brain some breathing space. It’s important to get your brain out of the box to think out of the box. Taking a long walk or standing under the shower aren’t bad ideas at all.
Scientific American conducted a study where they asked people to solve a simple word association problem. The used EEG and MRI scan to monitor the activities of the brain.
It was found that people who relied more on the flashes of inspiration had a success rate of 94%, and people who were methodological in their approach had a success rate of 78%.
This sudden flash of insight is referred to as Shower Thought, during which the occipital cortex, responsible for visualization, temporarily shuts down. It gives the brain that breathing space, and it’s able to work on the problem subconsciously.
On the other hand, people who approached the problem logically and in a structured manner were completely dependent on their conscious brain.
So maybe for entrepreneurs, the subconscious plays a rather significant role.
At the core of it, it’s the grit which draws the line between entrepreneurs and employees. It is grit which keeps one going after their long-term goals, even if there is uncertainty or resistance along the way.
In other words, it’s an internal source of motivation to bring change in the world.
To remain optimistic, and to creatively market yourself and remain relevant consistently, you need substance. And you can’t find a better word to describe this than ‘Grit’.
You may choose to use a different word like hustle or perseverance, but the bottom line is, you can’t drop your guard and keep your mindset in tune with success.
What according to you are the key elements that constitute an entrepreneur? Do write about them in the comment section.