Entrepreneurs are born. Nature gifts them boldness, vision, stamina, resilience, confidence, infinite enthusiasm and an unusual appetite for risk. They’re natural disruptors. They’re don’t like convention because, to entrepreneurs, there’s nothing more constricting. They thrive on the oxygen of opportunity. They don’t scare easily. They always choose the road not taken.
If you need to go to university to learn how to be an entrepreneur, it’s unlikely you are one. You’re probably someone who works for an entrepreneur, some of the greatest of whom dropped out of university (Gates and Zuckerberg most famously, and they certainly weren’t taking classes in entrepreneurship).
Every company was started by an entrepreneur. These people are in the minority. They’re not better or worse than other people, they’re just fewer in number. The rest, they include myriad individuals of huge brilliance, thoughtfulness and capability, people who innovate and create, but don’t have it in their DNA to step into the corporate wilderness and make something new.
Here are things entrepreneurs do naturally, without having to take a lesson.
- come up with an original idea amid the enormous, swirling, complex mass of relentless global competition and invention;
- figure out if the concept is commercial and whether it can germinate a company that provides goods or services that people need and will pay for;
- create a working, scalable model of the company, a real business plan;
- are convinced they will succeed, and that it’s a matter of time until they can convince investors and markets;
- take feedback to the extent it will help develop the idea, are flexible enough to make changes and calibrations at every step, and recognize that where they start is not where they will end, but ignore the inevitable naysayers;
- attract the team who’ll help them build from a model to a company with traction;
- invest their own wealth and energy into the company;
- imbue their team with their own passion;
- don’t hesitate to find the expertise where it lies, with the team or among independent contractors and consultants;
- from the earliest days, speak widely, patiently and endlessly to potential investors: Angels, who can make introductions to VCs, and then VCs, when those introductions are made;
- sell the vision through funding rounds and to everyone, because it’s a great vision, and it underpins a company that’s genuinely expanding and meeting the milestones;
- talk constantly about the company and how it will flourish and talk less often about the exit, because it’s hard to think about parting with their creation;
- want to develop a company mainly because it’s thrilling to create something original and worthwhile, and not mainly because they might become rich in the process;
- never stop creating, and when the exit comes and the company is sold, the only thing they can do is create the next one.