While the term ‘accidental entrepreneur’ is commonly associated with the shift in working dynamics that took place after the recent economic downturn, it has far greater relevance to a wider period of history. After all, some of the world’s most ground-breaking inventions and innovations developed in error, including Coca Cola and Penicillin.
In fact, the ability to adapt and capitalize on unexpected discoveries is a cornerstone of successful entrepreneurship. It is by no means the only one; however, as there are several essential factors that contribute to independent accomplishment in the business world. Consider the following examples and how they can be applied in practical terms:
Vision and a Constant Demand for Improvement
Vision is often associated with entrepreneurship, although it is a fairly broad term that can have various applications. Fundamentally, it is a desire to effect change and implement a unique understanding of how things ought to be, although this also requires drive and knowledge to translate this into actionable steps. This demand for change usually evolves from dissatisfaction with the present, as entrepreneurs are renowned for their ability to identify gaps in the market and constantly drive improvement.
In practical terms, this requires 3 distinct actions from any aspiring entrepreneurs. Firstly, you must identify a gap in the market and a clearly defined problem that requires a resolution. The next step is to develop an all-encompassing vision that serves as a solution, before breaking this down into a series of small and actionable steps. There are numerous examples of how this process has worked well, but Bill Gates’ desire to create a business out of software that would ultimately make home computers accessible to every household in the world provides the most relevant case in point. This resulted in the Microsoft Corporation, which emerged from an innovative vision and became a multi-billion dollar organization.
The Ability to Immerse and Involve People in your Vision
While entrepreneurship may be a journey, it is not always one that needs to be taken alone. Every aspiring entrepreneur needs help and guidance if they are to develop a successful business venture, whether this comes in the form of an established mentor or hard-working members of staff. Ultimately, a successful entrepreneur must have the ability to constantly recruit and develop a purposeful team, while also ensuring that each individual shares, understands and is able to contribute to an existing commercial vision.
With this in mind, it is clear that any aspiring entrepreneur must have the courage of their convictions and an ability to communicate openly about their vision. The benefits of immersing others in your vision are considerable, as they enable you to create a viable infrastructure that aids productivity and long-term efficiency. By employing committed and hard-working individuals to manage the operational side of your venture, for example, you can focus on strategic development and manage the process of evolution in line with your vision.
Adaptability and an Agile Mind
There are a number of entrepreneurs in the world, many of whom have established multiple businesses in various sectors. While this is partially due to the typical entrepreneurs’ constant drive to effect change, it is also a result of the changeable nature of business and industry. Successful entrepreneurs tend to have adaptable and agile minds, which are constantly identifying new opportunities and areas for further expansion. This enables them to succeed even during difficult economic times, as they can alter their vision and develop interests in more prosperous markets.
Image: Mark Zuckerberg says “Move fast and break things. Unless you are breaking stuff, you are not moving fast enough.”
An agile mind can be extremely beneficial in the business world, especially in a volatile economic climate. Even the conflict between Russia and the Ukraine apparently heading towards a resolution, there is little doubt that international trade dynamics have the potential to trade considerably in the next financial quarter. For entrepreneurs with global interests, there may well be a need to change course and diversify income in alternative geographical regions. If you can apply this proactive and agile mental outlook on a daily basis, it is possible to succeed even during times of turbulence and austerity.
The Ability to Listen, Empathize and Respond
If we consider entrepreneurship as a constant journey of discovery and self-improvement, then it stands to reason that you must be able to listen and respond respectively to feedback. Whether this is positive or negative, you cannot let your ego dictate your response or prevent you from learning potentially valuable life lessons. Whether dealing with employees or discerning customers, a successful entrepreneur must always strive to listen to others, empathize with their point of view and respond in a positive manner.
For small-business owners and relatively experienced entrepreneurs, this can be an extremely challenging process to manage. Not only can it be hard to empower individuals so that they offer honest feedback (especially employees), but it is also difficult to digest this information and translate it into positive change. This is why open and regular one-to-ones with staff members is extremely important for aspiring entrepreneurs, as it enables them to host a structured discussion where both parties are empowered to talk freely about their concerns. You should also look to combine positive with negative feedback, as it is important to maintain morale and offer praise where it is due.
Determination and Perseverance
Perhaps the most important entrepreneurial element of all, perseverance is pivotal to long-term success in the commercial world. This is because even the most innovative concept or business model can be derailed by external market factors, whether this is a significant economic decline or fluctuating levels of supply and demand for a specific product. With this in mind, an entrepreneur must have a determined nature and persevere with their vision, regardless of the circumstances around them or the difficulties that they have faced in the market.
As an entrepreneur, you have the opportunity to showcase perseverance on a daily basis in the pursuit of commercial success. It may also be evident at every stage of the entrepreneurial process, from product design to marketing and sales. If we continue with the Microsoft analogy, it is well known that the brand were synonymous with short-term failures in the 1990’s, as they constantly looked to develop new software that would often require significant alternation over time. This is a lesson to us all, and one that underlines the importance of maintaining a focused vision and remaining true to this until it is fully realized.