Entrepreneurs come in different shades

By Business Day

Entrepreneurs come in different shades

Am I an entrepreneur? It’s the question asked of me the most. Despite the economic challenges we face, our start-up scene is a parallel universe of optimism, innovation, job creation, creativity and wealth creation.

When SA was in the midst of the ratings downgrades, juxtaposed was the country’s start-up sector with positive news of start-ups winning funding and entrepreneurs exiting their businesses.

Being an entrepreneur means you are by default an optimist: you believe your business idea will flourish into something bigger. Start-up entrepreneurs have BIG doses of optimism.

Founders of companies are not homogenous. They come in many different flavours, ages, backgrounds and personality types. They can be introverted, extroverted, conservative or flamboyant. Young entrepreneurs throw caution to the wind and approach their start-up with boundless energy with little tying them down. Older entrepreneurs use accumulated capital, experience and extensive networks to make businesses fly. Wealthy entrepreneurs leverage capital; the less wealthy substitute resourcefulness for capital.

Not all entrepreneurs fit the Silicon Valley stereotype. There are entrepreneurs who take on risk to create massively scaled businesses using the corporate machinery and money behind them. Endeavor, an international incubator organisation associated with Linkedin founder Reid Hoffman, defines four types of entrepreneurs: the rocketship, transformer, diamond and star. The New York-based organisation accelerates & high-impact entrepreneurs & around the world, and has an active local chapter.

Rocketship entrepreneurs are strategic thinkers who focus on efficiency and making things cheaper, faster and better. They are often & innovators & who apply or adapt a proven model to fill a market gap. Their businesses have a clear revenue model and are poised for exponential growth. Think Amazon’s Jeff Bezos.

Transformer entrepreneurs are ambitious leaders operating an established business in a traditional industry aspiring to reach the next level of growth through innovation and differentiation. Many are socially oriented and combine profit focus with a desire to change society and create jobs. Think Adrian Gore of Discovery or Ray Kroc of McDonald’s.

The diamond entrepreneur is a big dreamer who starts innovative and disruptive companies that often create a new way of solving problems. Their businesses have an unpredictable growth trajectory, but can become game-changers if they succeed. They can also fail fast. Think Mark Zuckerberg, Elon Musk and Steve Jobs.

Lastly, the star entrepreneurs are big, charismatic personalities who start branded companies, often consumer focused and creative in nature. Their businesses typically inspire deep customer loyalty through differentiated design and customer experience. Think Richard Branson and his Virgin Group.

But by saying that an entrepreneur can be many things we run the risk of defining nothing. In all their diversity, there is a critical quality most entrepreneurs share. Apple founder Steve Jobs called it & pure perseverance& It’s perseverance through the intense ups and downs, failures and challenges of building a company from nothing.

People often do not succeed because they give up prematurely. However, the successful entrepreneur keeps trying in the face of failure, mistakes, people saying & no& or telling them their business & won’t work& These entrepreneurs just keep bashing down doors with gritty determination until they get what they want.


This article provided by NewsEdge.