What is entrepreneurial success?
- Getting a company launched?
- Being the boss?
- Creating jobs for others?
- Making money (or creating social value if a non-profit)?
- Creating an enterprise that matters to customers and employees alike?
Most entrepreneurs can succeed at getting a company launched and being the boss. I want to challenge and help entrepreneurs to achieve all 5 objectives on the list, which will require you to achieve the status of Entrepreneurial Leader (EL). This will require serious work. If you are up for the challenge then read on.
If you are talking about entrepreneurship you may not know what you are talking about.
Entrepreneur is an overused term that can mean almost anything. The problem with reading books, articles and blogs on the subject of entrepreneurship is that you may not realize which definition a person is using. Sometimes authors use multiple definitions without realizing it. I get very frustrated when someone quotes the results of research that may have been done using a very different definition of entrepreneur than they assumed.
It is important to understand the range of definitions of entrepreneur in order to properly understand and analyze who is saying what to whom on this very broad discussion topic.
Most entrepreneurs are disappointed with their results.
Some of the most careful research in the field indicates that:
- Over 30% of all entrepreneurs in America give up before even launching their business
- Once their business has launched, the average entrepreneur makes less than they would have if they had a comparable job – even after the business has been established as viable
- Most businesses that are launched fail within 5 years
Entrepreneurs start companies that make money or enterprises that deliver social good. Successful entrepreneurs deliver products or services that real customers find valuable enough that they are willing to pay money for them.
That is not enough. Growing an enterprise is a very different endeavor. You cannot grow an enterprise without first having developed a valuable product or service, but the challenges of growth are very different than the challenges of product and business model verification.
An Entrepreneurial Leader (EL) is more than an entrepreneur and a leader combined. An EL must be both selfish and selfless at the same time. And that requires plenty of skill.
Let me define ‘skill’; it is the ability to perform a prescribed task. Skills can be learned although each person may demonstrate a greater or lesser ability to perform the task under different types of conditions (i.e., levels of competence).