The word “entrepreneur” is used quite a lot when discussing new technology ideas and startup businesses. But what, really, is an entrepreneur? And how do you tell if you have the characteristics to become one yourself?
Many people dream about being their own boss or having their own company but may not have the personality or entrepreneurial skills to make it work. Successful entrepreneurs share a few key characteristics.
Another way to look at an entrepreneur is through the “Ten Ds of an Entrepreneur” as described by William D. Graves. These are the ten key characteristics that most entrepreneurs possess. If you dream of becoming an entrepreneur or turning your technology idea into a business on your own, you might want to consider if you possess these entrepreneurial qualities.
Keep in mind that entrepreneurs do not always make the best managers. They shine at creating businesses but not necessarily at running them once they start to scale. This reality has created the “serial entrepreneur”—one who commercializes his or her new idea once their business hits a certain milestone or size and then brings in“professional management” to run their initial venture.
Often “ideas people” like to focus on experimentation and internal development of the technology. They shy away from the leadership role of focusing on customer prospects, marketing/distribution partners and investors even though this business leadership is necessary to create a viable technology business.
For assistance in determining your potential success as an entrepreneur, the Business Development Bank of Canada provides a self-assessment tool on their website. Additionally, Guy Kawasaki (renowned author, entrepreneur and business expert) has developed a great quiz to determine your EQ (entrepreneurial quotient).
If you conclude that you are an entrepreneur, then get on with living the dream! If you think that this might not fit you, but you have a worthy idea, seek an entrepreneurial partner to work with in building a great business.
Graves, William D. (1994). The Portable MBA in Entrepreneurship. John Wiley & Sons.
Hofstrand, D, (2006, January). What is an Entrepreneur? Ag Decision Maker. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from Iowa State University: http://www.extension.iastate.edu/agdm/wholefarm/pdf/c5-07.pdf.
Business Development Bank of Canada. Retrieved April 7, 2009, from http://www.bdc.ca.