According to the World Bank, the number of new registered business in South Africa was 217,624 in 2012. Although there is a 14% decline from the 2009 new registrations, this says a lot. That without a doubt, there’s a proliferation of entrepreneurs out there. Individuals are trying to create a future for themselves. Reasons for starting businesses vary from individual to individual, but the following are most common:
- I want to make lots of money and be rich.
- I need something to do; I am bored.
- I have looked for a job since I graduated from university and cannot find one, so maybe I can create my own, and create for others as well.
- I grew up in a home where my parents have a business. Why can’t I start my own?
- I am a specialist in my area of expertise and very good at what I do, and I can make money doing it.
What is the definition of an entrepreneur?
My definition: ‘anyone who provides a service or product, at risk, and sells it in exchange for money in order to make a profit’.
Is being an entrepreneur genetic or hereditary?
It’s a combination of both, because 50% of what we think, and what goes in our minds is based on genetics, and 50% we learn from our environment and conditioning as children. Some people become entrepreneurs from an early age, and they become successful (selling sweets at school) – you could say these are born entrepreneurs. Some are born into families where being entrepreneurs is the norm, and they take it up and make a success of it – these could be ‘born’ entrepreneurs, and made entrepreneurs. Some stumble on it by chance, identify a gap in the market, grab it, and make a success of it – these are ‘born’ entrepreneurs, but they did not practice it, or learn it, and they become hugely successful
For me, a true entrepreneur is someone who makes a success of themselves from starting with nothing, and becoming hugely successful, while having fun at the same time.
So, can anyone become an entrepreneur?
Yes, anyone can become an entrepreneur, but my feeling is that NOT everyone should. Being an entrepreneur has less to do with what you know, and it has everything to do with your burning desire, your passion and willingness to succeed against all odds. Because being an entrepreneur is not easy – It’s normally a lonely road, long hours, success is not immediate, and as such, you need to have the patience to bear it. You also have to do certain things that you don’t like, like planning (and by the way, planning is a big problem for entrepreneurs), and a huge risk appetite.
What are the characteristics of an entrepreneur?
- An unwavering passion, burning desire to succeed – these are self-starters who start things by themselves.
- Commitment and dedication, including will power, and self-discipline.
- Open mindedness – if it doesn’t work out, do you give up, or you pursue your dream?
- Forward looking approach – what is the big picture and what am I trying to achieve?
- A constant flow of ideas and innovation: As an entrepreneur, you know that things change every day: technology, buying patterns of your customers, competition – and successful entrepreneurs are always asking themselves ‘what next’? So, as an entrepreneur, you don’t sit on your laurels and expect things to come to you. You go out and make things happen.
So, do you have what it takes to be an entrepreneur?
‘The critical ingredient is getting off your butt and doing something. It’s as simple as that. A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now. Not tomorrow. Not next week. But today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer.’ Nolan Bushnell