Entrepreneurship is concerned
with individuals with a vision who are determined to turn the vision into
a reality, with the ability to raise the necessary resources and willing
to apply the necessary drive and energy to propel the project forward.
Entrepreneurs are vital to our future economic well being by creating industries
that will avail of future opportunities. Some may not succeed at first,
but will learn from the experience to do better the next time. In the past,
Irish society directed their brightest and best towards pursuing safe professional
careers with many entrepreneurs emigrating. Business was viewed with cynicism.
Fortunately, this attitude has changed and those with entrepreneurial tendencies
are now being nurtured. Ireland is currently producing more entrepreneurs
than ever before.
An entrepreneur is a person who is willing to take a risk and organise resources to exploit a business opportunity. Entrepreneurs have been greatly encouraged in the last decade by self starters like Denis O Brien of Esat and Gillian Bowler of Budget Travel. In an insecure world, owning one’s business gives greater control over one’s life. A favourable economic climate has also been helpful. Government and their agencies have also provided much needed assistance and encouragement. Their motive is stimulated by the need for job creation.
Characteristics of Entrepreneurs
Personal Inner Control:Entrepreneurs
have a strong belief in their own ability and believe that they can control
their own destiny.
Planning and Goal Setting: It is important in business to constantly set targets. The entrepreneur is good at seeing the big picture. The skill of planning can be acquired with practice.
Delegation: It is important for entrepreneurs to share out the workload to subordinates. This gives them more responsibility and leaves the entrepreneur with looking after the strategic direction of the venture.
Decision-Making: This involves making decisions on small and major issues. The key is identifying the alternative courses of action and choosing the most appropriate option. The entrepreneur will often have to make decisions in crisis situations.
Analytical/Problem Solving: This is the process of identifying the crucial issues and drawing on one’s intellectual powers and experience to solve the problem at hand.
Networking: This is the skill of utilising one’s contacts to good effect. It may be customers, suppliers, membership of sporting and other associations etc. Many business contracts are won in this fashion.
Leadership: This involves directing people to pursue the correct course of action. In many ways a leader is also a role model for his/her subordinates.
Good leaders often have to make tough decisions and then follow them through.
Human Relations: Entrepreneurs have to be sensitive to the needs of people. In the context of motivating subordinates, a good understanding of people is essential. Good interpersonal skills are essential.
Risk Taking: This skill is associated with entrepreneurs. It does not involve being reckless but conducting a careful analysis of given situations. Risk taking involves one’s personal reputation as well as risking property and finance.
Time Management: Running a business is very time consuming. To run the business effectively a person must make best use of their time. Prioritising and good project management is essential if everything is to be done well.
Innovation: Entrepreneurs are creative people and are always full of ideas. It can also involve benchmarking competitors for their best ideas and then applying them successfully.
Reality Perception: This involves being able to clearly identify the needs of customers, employees, etc. It also involves looking inwardly on the strengths and weaknesses of the business. Entrepreneurs are not experts in everything, so when the need arises advice should be sought. Being close to customers and conducting regular consultation with employees is essential.
Feedback: This is the process of measuring one’s progress. One can judge whether one is reaching targets or not. If one is failing to reach a target, then careful amendment and review is called for.
Problems facing Entrepreneurs