What type of person makes a good entrepreneur?
I am currently a student at the Australian
Graduate School of Entrepreneurship. It won’t suprise you to know that
we spent one semester studying Entrepreneurship
and Innovation. One of the big questions of the seminar subject was the
one I posed at the beginning of this post, as well as the related question
"How can we tell if an entrepreneurial venture will be successful?"
I value the research that has been carried out in this area, but I wonder
about the questions. How do you define success anyway? Even if we agree on
what success is, can we really tell what made a venture successful and what
characteristics of the entrepreneur made it so? In the popular press, we look
at "successful" entrepreneurs like Richard
Branson. How do we know that for every Richard Branson, there are a thousand
people out there with exactly the same mindset, the same life experience, the
same outloook on risk taking and venture formation who have eitther tried and
failed or never tried at all.
All of that is to assume that you can take two people and say on these range
of measures they are the same. Who is to know that the single most important
measure is the one you left out. Of course just like no two people have the
same fingerprint, no two people are exactly alike. So what’s the point of trying
to find what makes and entrepreneur?
I seriously considerr the possibility that it is all a mattter of luck. The
right person in the right place at the right time with the right idea and with
the right lucky breaks.
I was prompted to write by this piece [sorry can’t login to afr.com to provide
a link — It was the main Leadership piece in the May 3-9, 2007 issue] in BRW.
Australia is still very much a ‘milk-bar economy’: a nation of small business
owners whose ambitions are limited.
James Womack goes on to say
You’ve got one guy, and the product concept is between his or her ears — no marketing
system, no no supply base, no media, no apparatus, nothing. It is esier to do
it right when you begin with than it is to rework it into right once you are
a way along."
The article then suggests:
A common failing is neglecting to define the business’s purpose.
Womack says most managers say the purpose of the business is to make money, which
is not an observation that leads to action.
The Spiral Path is dedicated to guiding people to think not so much what the
purpose of the business is, but what their own purpose is in starting and running
the business. These two are related but not the same.