The Entrepreneur's Toolbox
By Claudette Rowley
Entrepreneurship is largely an inside out proposition. Whether
you're trying to create a technology or develop a product, entrepreneurship
starts with who you are, and blossoms out from there. In other words,
as an entrepreneur, your style is unique to you. You can take every
class on how to "do" entrepreneurship - learn business
strategy until you could teach at the Harvard Business School, and
network until you know everyone in the phonebook. While the knowledge
base required for entrepreneurial success in your field is critical,
no one can tell you how to "be" an entrepreneur. That
you must discover for yourself.
In my experience, entrepreneurs of all stripes require an internal
skill set that I call the Entrepreneur's Toolbox. These tools, just
as much as what's happening in the business environment, can make
or break the fulfillment of your entrepreneurial vision.
Intuition - Intuition is knowing something without knowing how
you know. In other words, it's a form of inner guidance or "gut
feeling" that allows you to know things that your rational
mind can't. Developing your intuition is critical to your entrepreneurial
success. Sometimes it's all you've got.
Self-trust - Believe in yourself. Trust your intuition. Understand
that your idea, your vision, or your product is needed in the world.
True innovation can't exist without self-trust. Innovation requires
us to leap into the unknown. Unless you trust, you won't leap.
Vision - This is your ability to establish the big picture of what
you want, and pursue it. It's closely tied with passion. Have a
BIG vision. It's much easier to scale back a grand vision than it
is to amp up a small one. Big visions are based in passion and generate
Passion - If you're not passionate about your idea or vision,
what's the point of pursuing it?
Human resources - Any successful entrepreneur will tell that she
didn't do it alone. She drew on the experts she needed to build
her business. She also developed and maintained a group of people
who continued to believe in her when she forgot to believe in herself.
This is crucial.
Risk taking - The tolerance and ability to take risks is paramount
for any entrepreneur. We don't get guarantees in advance, as much
as we'd like them. Sometimes not taking a risk is the biggest risk
Openness to change - Many people resist change. As entrepreneurs,
we must embrace it. By putting a vision, idea or innovation out
into the world, we expand what's possible, and in doing so, change
the status quo.
Recognition of self-sabotage - We all do it. At some point in time,
we've all sabotaged ourselves out of fear. The key to dealing with
self-sabotage is to recognize it. Signals to recognizing self-sabotage:
You notice yourself comparing yourself to others, you judge yourself
as not being good enough, or you hear your "inner critic"
saying things like "soon everyone will realize what a fraud
Head and Heart - To make sound decisions, you need both. When we
only listen to one, we list to the side and veer off course, the
way a car does when it's out of alignment and you let go of the
steering wheel. Often there's a misconception that heart, or emotion,
doesn't belong in business. It very much does. Your ability to be
aware of and use your emotions effectively will aid in your success.
Honoring your gifts - I'm convinced that fully acknowledging your
gifts - to yourself, first and foremost - will catapult your business
and your life into bold new arenas. Here's why: When you don't acknowledge
your gift of, for example, building businesses or innovating new
technologies, you hold back from full self expression. When you
don't acknowledge your gifts, you can't capitalize on your innate
human resources. YOU are your business' most valuable resource.
Honor what you don't do well - In fact, know it well and compensate
for it. Too often, I hear people beat themselves over the head with
statements like, 'Well, I should do my own bookkeeping" when
the last time they balanced their checkbook was 1978. Know your
weaknesses. Compensate for them by hiring or bartering or getting
someone to do the task for you.
Each one of us carries these tools around with us at all times.
The question is whether we tap into them or not. Entrepreneurship
is a process of self-discovery. At the same time that you introduce
a new product or process into the world, you uncover new awareness
about yourself. Use these tools to not only grow your business,
About the Author
Coach and author Claudette Rowley helps entrepreneurs harness their
potential and soar to new heights of prosperity and fulfillment.
Contact her today for a free coaching session at 781-676-5633 or
firstname.lastname@example.org. Sign up for her free newsletter "Insights
for Savvy Entrepreneurs" at http://www.metavoice.org.