Being An Entrepreneur….The Facts

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Entrepreneurship is an oxymoron. It is made of two opposite parts sitting side by side like two best friends with different languages. Like black and white. Entrepreneurs are managers and leaders. They are creative and boring.

The entrepreneur, like every other professional (I think it is a life time profession where one never totally knows all there is to know), is in a constant battle to keep his business afloat, to get higher market shares, to keep loyal customers, to gain more customers, to improve their products and services, to keep employees happy, to manage his time, to be effective, to have a balance work and family life and all the many obligations of life.

Some people define creativity as what people do in the creative arts. Sir Ken Robinson in his book, the element, told a story about asking a room filled with intelligent professionals to rate their individual level of intelligence within one to ten range, one being the lowest creative score and ten the highest. He was shocked when a room filled with professionals had a sea of threes and fours and fives and some scattered six’s and two sevens and eighths raised. When he asked the crowd why they thought their creativity level to be low, and their response was that they thought the arts and creative arts were the sole bearers of the creativity tag.

Merriam Webster dictionary defines creativity as ;

  • Having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas
  • Using the ability to make or think of new things
  • Involving the process by which new ideas, stories, etc., are created

Entrepreneurs are creative and boring.

Does that sound like a paradox?

How can a person be creative and boring at the same time?

Entrepreneurs take the award for the creatives who are boring.

The job of managing and growing a business is one that deserve nonstop creative work. Some entrepreneurs call this, their crazy part: The ability to see the stupid ideas and believe in those stupid ideas even when people see it as stupid. It is like mining gold from beneath the earth. Entrepreneurs are constantly igniting the flames of creativity in their business, whether as small start-ups or multinationals.

Richard Branson told a story of how he held up a paper sign post indicating that flight to The United States was twelve dollars as a child after his flight had been cancelled. He used that story of how be helped the angered passengers whose flights had been cancelled cool off and smile again to show how he saw opportunities in places others saw problems, that is creativity.

Entrepreneurs are said to be people who make money solving people’s problems. They are people who are able to make productive areas where people thought was a problem. They turn problems into opportunities.

Robert Kiyosaki told a story of how his rich dad once saw a land that was all bush and dirt and said to Robert that the bush was an estate. Or when Leonardo Da Vinci said he saw The David in the stone along the road and not the stone. He just had to bring out the art from the mass of stone lying waste in one corner.

Entrepreneurs bring out the solution in problems.

The eyes of the entrepreneur is trained to see ways in making good value out of people’s problems, and also making sure his business is on the ascendency after kickoff.

When pitching businesses, venture capitalists usually ask the entrepreneurs what their Unique Selling Point was. The unique selling point of every business is where the creativity of the business lies.

One does not have to change the entire system to show how creative one is, all one has to do is tweak the already known products or services to better serve the customers in areas where previous or already existing business have not explored. The creative entrepreneur knows that his business is hinged greatly on the creativity of his team.  How they are able to navigate through the rigorous market and keep customers interested and wanting more is important.

Are you an entrepreneur? How creative have you been of late?

It may be changing the way you do your adverts. Or changing the way the products are delivered or packaged. It may even be a change in the way your social media handles relate with customers. In whatever you do, you must be prepared to be ever creative.

Markets change, customers’ tastes change over time and the demand of the market would see you having to constantly improve product and service to suit the ever changing customer and market dynamics. Creativity would help you stay ahead of the game.

I should mention here that any kind of creative genius that does not stem from the company’s ethos and core values would make the company look bad and manipulative in the eyes of the customers.

Entrepreneurs are also boring people who follow rules and regulations.

Some writers have argued that creativity is overrated in business. I don’t think so. But what I believe is that every business is made up of structures and systems, no matter how small the business or how large. No business would survive without these structures, systems and processes.

Business is both mechanical and dynamic.

Dynamic being the creative part where most entrepreneurs categorize themselves into, and mechanical being the boring part of it.

A business owner who is not ready to go through the gruelling process of staying up at night to balance the books, to create leadership structures for the business, to set down principles that would guide the conducts of the workers and even his, would be out of business no sooner had he started. The gruelling work that doesn’t exactly leave the entrepreneur motivated and ready to go is the mechanical and boring part of being a creative. That work is hinged on set down methodologies, prescribed patterns and leaves little room for tweaking by the entrepreneur, this kind of work is the chassis on which a business is built.

It is advisable for entrepreneurs to hire people who will be in charge of those mechanical aspects if they don’t find them “interesting” and “challenging”.

What makes a good entrepreneur is the ability to be giddy, thinking of new ways to get things done, how to motivate his team ; and one who has the right attitude to keep slugging it out in the mud even when the work is ‘boring’,  one who can keep up with this mechanics of business without throwing in the towel.

Dear entrepreneurs, are you Creative and boring?

Let’s get to work !

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