In today’s socially connected world, everyone is their own brand. To that extent each of us might be an entrepreneur. What is that and how do we develop that brand more fully?
Few will become entrepreneurs. Most of the people who own a business are not entrepreneurs. They own the business to provide a living, not to become something that can stand on its own.
Entrepreneurs build structures that accomplish things, independently of a particular person. Most businesses cannot get along without their founder because the founder does most of the key work. They are a craftsman, even an artist, who has many helpers. The org chart tends to look like a garden rake.
If you do the work instead of the business doing the work, you have created a job, possibly a good job, but you have not created an entrepreneurial business.
Entrepreneurship is about creating structures that achieve things. The people who create them are generally strong leader types who can build a team and get others to work toward a shared goal. Most of them are not money sensitive. Steve Jobs and Bill Gates are two who built enormous businesses and who have benefited financially but not at the expense of building the business. If you see yourself creating a business for the money, you will have a hard time becoming an entrepreneur. One that I know well has said, “If you look after the business, it will look after you.”
Entrepreneurs are willing to risk more than the people who have a business to provide their lifestyle. Many entrepreneurs have quite tiny lifestyles in proportion to their income and wealth. Their main thrill is accomplishing some goal. As one told me, “Money is not the primary goal. Money is how you keep score.”
Society will do better with more entrepreneurs and fewer people who try to maximize their income or wealth. Structures last longer than people.
For the “business as lifestyle” crowd, there is an advantage to becoming more entrepreneurial. You can sell you business when you want to retire or move on. No business is salable without middle management and that is the structure that makes the business a business instead of a hard-working smart guy with a lot of assistants.
Entrepreneurial skills are natural for some, but everyone can learn some of them. Pay a little attention.
Don Shaughnessy is a retired partner in an international public accounting firm and is presently with The Protectors Group, a large personal insurance, employee benefits and investment agency in Peterborough Ontario. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org