Entrepreneurship is a word used freely and increasingly in the business world over the last decade or so, but what does it really mean to be an entrepreneur?
The dictionary definitions tell us that entrepreneurship is the act of starting a business while taking on the associated financial risks, in the hope that the business will become profitable.
That’s a fairly basic premise and surely could be applied to any new business owner, so let’s look a little deeper into entrepreneurship and what it takes to be an entrepreneur.
In our modern world of social change, would it be bold to say that entrepreneurs look at products and services from a different perspective? It would seem that entrepreneurs see a bigger picture. They see problems that need solving with innovative thinking. They see social injustice or environmentally unfriendly products and employ solution-based ideas to create change. Entrepreneurs are visionaries, looking for opportunities, possibilities and solutions to make the world a better place for everyone, including themselves.
Entrepreneurship is also about passion. Without passion and a belief in one’s ultimate vision, how can an entrepreneur achieve a sustainable business? It takes hours of dedication, determination and commitment to create a business from scratch, from the seed of an idea, often working alongside a ‘regular job’, to scale and grow a profitable business. Having a clear and strong knowing of why you want to be an entrepreneur, whether that be a belief that your product will change the world, or you just want to have the freedom and flexibility of being your own boss, clarity around your ‘why’ is critical to your success. It takes an entrepreneurial mindset and a strong self-belief, to keep the dream alive in times of financial hardship, while still believing in the importance of your product or service and its social impact.
So why is entrepreneurship so important in Australia?
Entrepreneurs contribute significantly to the national economy. With almost 99% of businesses in Australia classified as SME’s, and 62% (or 3 out of 5) being non-employing, according to *mccrindle.com.au, innovative entrepreneurs really are the backbone of the economy.
Entrepreneurs innovate and create change. Some of the greatest innovations in the world today have come about through entrepreneurship and a visionary mindset; think Richard Branson, Elon Musk & Jeff Bezos. These 3 billionaires have already played a huge part in creating innovative change in our society and are now using their wealth and vision in the latest ‘space race’, sending private rockets into the ionosphere.
Entrepreneurs give back to society. Gone are the days when all businesses care about is building ‘fat cat’ corporations and making a profit. Profit is still the main driver, of course, without profit nobody can benefit, but these days many businesses put systems and processes in place, such as creating not-for-profit charities and organisations, so as to create a positive social impact both financially and ecologically, to benefit local and global communities.
How tough is it ‘really’ for entrepreneurs to survive in today’s business world?
In Australia, almost half of all start-up businesses are no longer operating after 4 years.* The owners of those businesses would have invested significant funds and time, as well as dealing with multiple stressful situations navigating their financial environment, technology, staffing issues, delivery and basic business management, often to the detriment of their personal and family lives. Having an entrepreneurial mindset and the determination to work through challenges while seeing the bigger picture is imperative to success. There’s no doubt that even Walt Disney, Mark Zuckerberg, Steve Jobs and Larry Page had days when they felt like giving up but always believed in their bigger vision.
A common theme for entrepreneurs, especially in the early days of business, is that they feel very much alone, struggling with every task themselves. Just having a great idea, or even if you have been a manager in a corporate, global organisation, it’s unlikely you will have all the skills required when starting out on your entrepreneurial journey. We certainly can’t expect to be experts in every aspect of business, from research & development, design, packaging, technology and marketing, and as an entrepreneur you will need to seek advice. That’s why it’s so important to have a mentor or network of other business owners who have ‘been there, done that’.
Finding a group (or your tribe) who are happy to give advice, training, support and encouragement, can make all the difference to your success and your mindset around success. Sometimes as an entrepreneur, having only one perspective (your’s), can lead to a ‘blinkered’ effect, only seeing one outcome or being focused on one track, which may not be the best solution. Being able to bounce off other professionals allows for a fresh perspective and encourages ‘mastermind’ discussions. Listening to experienced entrepreneurs, seeing their success, and knowing you are not alone, makes it easier to work through day-to-day issues. It can highlight areas where you require training, as well as recognising the need to hire a professional; for example, every business needs terms and conditions, and unless you have a law degree, it’s an unlikely task you could complete yourself.
Having a strong network of professional connections will put you in touch with people you can trust by association. District32 is an organisation dedicated to supporting you on your mission, with training and a network of industry experts covering all aspects of business. Don’t hesitate to get in touch if you are looking for advice and assistance on your entrepreneurial journey.
And one last comment on entrepreneurship: it’s impossible to fail if you never give up! Your journey is about moving forward, and every challenging situation is an opportunity to grow and learn something new. So go ahead, move forward with your innovative, problem-solving idea, and perhaps, you too can change the world.
‘Don’t get distracted. Never tell yourself that you need to be the biggest brand in the whole world. Start by working on what you need at the present moment and then what you need to do tomorrow. So, set yourself manageable targets.’ – Jas Bagniewski, Co-Founder of Eve Sleep