Guest post by Patrick Rosario
French economist Jean-Baptiste Say defined an entrepreneur as a person who “undertakes an enterprise… acting as an intermediary between capital and labor,” but if you’re a true entrepreneur, you probably don’t care one bit about how you’re defined.
Entrepreneurs don’t want academic definitions. They live in the real world, and they want to know the things that matter to the bottom line: what works, what sells, and which techniques will help them to increase their performance. Basically, they are all about doing, and happy to let others suss out the sociological-historical implications.
While no two entrepreneurs are precisely the same, there are many traits and habits that almost all of the most successful ones share. If you want to become successful, you might want to try making these things a habit, too.
Don’t get sidetracked. Entrepreneurs tend to be fantastic at focusing on the big picture and not sweating about the smaller details. While the rest of us are still designing our websites and moving titles around by a few pixels here and a few pixels there, hoping to get them just right, successful entrepreneurs have already gotten their businesses up and running and made their first sale. How? Because they realized that the goal of their company was to make money and used the hours we spent tweaking the site to market themselves.
Outsource. Part of not getting bogged down in minutiae and sidetracked is that the best entrepreneurs will happily admit that there are many people who are better at doing many things than they are. In fact, they will seek out these people and say this to sweet talk them into working with them, often for far less than they might get with a bigger company. Why? Because they buy into the idea the entrepreneur has and the amazing future it could bring if successful. In this way, entrepreneurs are able to ensure that they are getting high-quality work from experienced professionals and allowing themselves to continue to focus on the big picture.
Seek out needs. Most entrepreneurs aren’t inventors. They don’t want to create something just for the sheer joy of doing so or because they believe they are changing the world; they start their businesses because they believe that there are enough people out there in the world who have a hunger for what they are doing and will pay them well for doing it. Essentially, they look at the marketplace and find areas that aren’t being fulfilled, then they find a way to meet those needs.
Keep meetings short. Most entrepreneurs who previously worked in the corporate world will tell you that the biggest way companies waste time and money is by having way too many meetings that last far too long. Sure, it’s great that we can now create these amazing multimedia presentations that put Hollywood blockbusters to shame and connect with 40 people in 30 countries at the same time via video, but who cares? In the true entrepreneurial form of doing instead of talking, meetings should be brisk and to the point so that people can get back to the actual work that keeps the company humming along.
Work the crowd. The best entrepreneurs aren’t lone geniuses with big ideas, they’re the people at parties who are shaking hands, slapping backs, and laughing at bad jokes. And even if they’re not the best at glad-handing, they tend to be vocal and charismatic people that others want to follow. Few people who worked for him would probably call Steve Jobs a nice guy, but most of them would still gladly follow him anywhere because he had a presence that just drew others in.
Skate by. This is one that might chafe some entrepreneurs out there, but hear me out, because it goes back to the idea of outsourcing and finding experts to handle the things that you don’t really know. For an entrepreneur to truly keep their eyes on the prize and do the things that they need to do to make their business a success, they don’t have time to learn how to do the job of every single person who works for them. Instead, they learn just enough about each facet of the company so they can appear competent without wasting their time doing more.
About the Author: Patrick Del Rosario is a Filipino business and finance blogger. He works at Open Colleges, one of the pioneers of Online education in Australia and one of the leading providers of Business courses. Aside from blogging and being a business ninja, Patrick is an aspiring photographer. If you want to feature his writings on your site, connect with him at Google+ or drop a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.