There is no entrepreneurship gene:
Entrepreneurial leaders are nonconformists almost by definition.
“Don’t listen too much to advisors or how others did it. Make your own
way with your own ideas,” says one survey respondent. “Don’t listen to
negative comments. Follow your dream,” says another.
1. Entrepreneurial leaders are made, not born.
The concept of the young, dynamic entrepreneurial leader who
starts a venture fresh out of college is one that persists. But
although many entrepreneurial leaders start at a reasonably
young age, the experience they gain through education and
time spent in a more traditional corporate environment is vital
to their future success. Indeed, more than half of respondents
describe themselves as “transitioned” entrepreneurs — in
other words, they have previously spent time in traditional
employment before setting out on their own.
2. Entrepreneurship is rarely a one-off decision.
The majority of respondents to this survey are “serial
entrepreneurs” who have launched at least two companies.
Entrepreneurial leaders who embark on more than one venture
gain valuable insight and lessons into how to make a new
business successful. As such, they perform a vital role in the
economy and, among them, start a significant proportion of all
3. Funding, people and know-how are the biggest barriers to
Among the 6 out of 10 respondents who experienced obstacles
in their ventures, the most common barrier is lack of funding
or finance. This is particularly pertinent in the current
environment, when many entrepreneurs continue to experience
problems with accessing finance, despite a gradual easing of
credit conditions in many countries. The two other most-cited
obstacles are people and expertise. As a result, entrepreneurial
leaders are well–advised to build “ecosystems” — networks of
resources — to address these three areas.
4. Entrepreneurs share common traits.
Entrepreneurs may be made rather than born, but our research
has found that entrepreneurs will typically exhibit a combination
of behaviors and attitudes. At the heart of this model is a strong
internal locus of control — a belief that events result directly from
an individual’s own actions or behavior. This is complemented by a
mindset that sees opportunity where others see disruption, along
with an acceptance of calculated risk and a tolerance of failure.
5. Traditional companies can learn from entrepreneurial leaders.
Employee incentives and fostering innovation are good places
to start. It is no coincidence that fast-growing entrepreneurial
companies tend to place larger amounts of share ownership in
the hands of employees. And in terms of innovation, traditional
companies have few incentives to disrupt their own business models
with game-changing innovations. But companies that can are richly
rewarded.1 (…read more)
“The Few, the Tech-Savvy Few: Option Millionaires,” National Public Radio, February 11, 2007, http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7324048.