You have probably read at least one of those dry books or articles on how to be a successful entrepreneur, typically they list 10 to 12 essential ingredients like;
- Think success
- Be passionate
- Be focused
- Have goals with clear milestones
- Have a robust documented business plan
- Always be prepared to review your plan
- Have robust timely reporting, that provides actionable information
- Work hard and smart
- Respect your colleagues
- Persevere and have faith in yourself
- Stay disciplined
I could go on, all of the above is good stuff, but in my mind the list is far more about good management practice than it is about true entrepreneurism.
When I started in business, Maggie Thatcher had just made entrepreneurs acceptable almost aspirational, gone was the ‘spiv’ image, in was the new hero and saviour of the economy. Being an entrepreneur in the late 70’s early eighties was fun, exciting and sexy, yeah sexy – really! Thirty years later when I consider the characteristics of the 21st Century entrepreneur, I really don’t see a lot of change, if anything, the technology revolution has made it easier and plays very much to the behavioural style of the true entrepreneur.
There is a popular misconception that the entrepreneur needs a brilliant idea or radical approach to a business opportunity to be an entrepreneur. This is not the case, an entrepreneur looks at what he has in terms of resource, finds an opportunity and simply tries to make it work. An entrepreneur has absolutely no fear of failing. In a way, the entrepreneur anticipates failure and, typically, will have three other options waiting in the wings ready to drop into service if the first idea falls over. The second misconception is that entrepreneurs are born, this is simply not the case. Entrepreneurism is a learnt skill, admittedly some people fail to learn, some are not very good at it, but it is a learnt skill and becomes a mind set.
No fear of failure is the foremost behaviour of all the successful entrepreneurs I know. All have failed, sometimes quite spectacularly, in their business lives. In the US, a bankruptcy or two is seen as a badge of honour, we tend to be less forgiving in the UK.
This lack of fear of failure is the cornerstone mindset of the entrepreneur, they deal with failure head on by fully understanding, confronting and mitigating the risk[s] . In a strange way they are almost happy to fail, because they will have learned a great deal and, provided it is an ‘affordable’ loss, they will simply roll over and open again with a stronger more focused proposition.
Does entrepreneurism have a place in UK dentistry? Well of course it does, there are some wonderful examples we see every week, opening a squat practice takes a lot of guts, as does borrowing half a million to buy somebody else’s practice. Invariably the more successful we become, the more we have to lose. So when you are 30, single with no kids and you start a squat, the risk is limited mainly to time. When you are 50 and successful, we have much to lose and invariably we become risk adverse, unless of course we are true entrepreneurs.
How would rate your entrepreneur level out of 10?
If you would like help to understand risk please contact me,