If you thought (like I used to), – that being an entrepreneur was just another word for being a small business owner, then listen up. To paraphrase Mark Twain, they’re about as similar as lightning and lightning bugs.
A small business owner opens a jewelry store. He works hard. He makes money. But 10 years down the line, his business pretty much looks exactly the same as it did in those first few years. He’s grown, sure. But it’s still the same jewelry business.
Now, take that same store and have it run by an entrepreneur. In 10 years time you likely won’t even recognize the original business because of all the different revenue steams he’ll have spun off, new businesses he’ll have begun, and markets he’ll have expanded into.
For starters, he’s probably bought the building his store is located in. He has leveraged that investment to cherry pick the best commercial real estate in town and is now leasing to other business owners (real estate).
Then he developed an exclusive line of jewelry which caters to boomer women. That line is now being sold at exclusive cocktail parties and has spawned a business of selling jewelry franchises to other boomer women who like to throw parties. Now he’s just getting warmed up.
He also built a huge cult-like following online for his personal line of jewelry, started his own internet version of the QVC channel, and launched a complimentary anti-aging makeup product line that is now being sold at the jewelry parties.
Meantime, he’s busy cooking up deals to sell exclusive golf apparel to active women and is looking at expanding and offering adventure trips of a lifetime to far flung bucket list places for the same demographic. But that’s not all. This dynamo entrepreneur also runs a highly successful information marketing company – he’s coach to multiple high paying mastermind groups and has created products teaching other jewelers to do just what he’s done…
Make your head spin? Think it’s impossible? I’ve had multiple clients who have accomplished all this and more in just two short years.
So how do you tell whether you’re an entrepreneur or not? Well, everyone had to start somewhere.
Here’s how to know if you’re cut out to be an entrepreneur (…and yes, being an entrepreneur is a learned skill, so if you’re not there yet start taking notes):
- An entrepreneur is not married to any one type of business. If you ask the typical small business owner what he or she does, you’ll likely hear “I’m an attorney,” “I’m a dentist” or “I own a restaurant.” Entrepreneurs think expansively and don’t put themselves inside any one box. Their strength is their ability to see an opportunity and make it a reality. Our world is changing faster than ever, so flexibility and agility in business is critical. As one of my mentors once said, “If you’re trying to be in the same business 5 years from now, you’ll likely be out of business.”
- Entrepreneurs create and make money from their ideas. They’re typically lousy managers, or manage people at their own extreme discomfort. That’s why they often start, develop, and sell businesses, and then move on. The skill set to start and build a highly successful business is a very different skill set than managing a highly successful business. That’s also why you’ll see lots of entrepreneurs hire CEOs – so the CEO can take over and run the business for them while they’re busy exploring the next big opportunity.
- Entrepreneurs understand that the real business they’re in is the sales and marketing business. No matter the widget sold, or service peddled – entrepreneurs understand their business success thrives or dies on the strength of their marketing and sales. That’s their real business.
- Entrepreneurs are systems driven. They understand the secret to success is in implementing systems to leverage time, increase efficiencies, reduce costs and automate processes. At the top of this list is investment in a marketing system that automatically delivers an endless supply of high quality prospects through the door, converts them to paying customers, and keeps them as raving fans for life.
- Entrepreneurs are never out of school. They are insatiable learners, heavily investing in their own education, attending seminars, boot camps, business coaching programs, and mastermind groups. Adventurers of life, entrepreneurs are endlessly curious, can pack more into a week than most people get done a year and are always looking for mentors, guides and teachers to show them the short cuts…