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Entrepreneurial Spirit

2005 | Nov 28 in Leadership

By Michael Gerber,

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It's important to understand that from my point of view, the entrepreneur is not a "person" but a part of everyone's personality. The entrepreneur is our visionary, the creator in each of us. We're born with that quality and it defines our lives as we respond to what we see, hear, feel, and experience. It is developed, nurtured, and given space to flourish or is squelched, thwarted, without air or stimulation, and dies. Look at anyone around you and you will recognize whether or not the entrepreneur is alive and well within them. The way they live their lives will demonstrate it.

The entrepreneur in us sees opportunities everywhere we look, but many people see only problems everywhere they look. The entrepreneur in us is more concerned with discriminating between opportunities than he or she is with failing to see the opportunities. Thus the entrepreneur must develop the necessary skills to choose the right opportunities to pursue. Few people understand that.

We're all born with the entrepreneurial spirit. The Old and the New Testament tell us "Man is born in the image of God." I believe this means that we are born to create. That is the role of the entrepreneur within us...to create. Everyone is born with that drive, desire, passion, and interest.

Most business owners have not fully developed or nurtured the entrepreneur within themselves. Work, or what I call "doing it, doing it, doing it," consumes them. There is no time or energy to be creative, nor the understanding that being creative is being alive, fully alive. Few business owners are fully alive; they're too busy working for a living.

An entrepreneurial seizure is the moment the entrepreneur decides it would be a great idea to start his or her own business. It's when one believes that knowing how to do the work of a business is all one needs to understand in order to start and grow a business. So the accountant starts an accounting practice; the mechanic starts an auto repair business; the cook opens up a restaurant. They go to work, accounting, fixing cars, or cooking meals, none of which is the true work of the entrepreneur. In doing so, the person who starts his or her own business is lost in the teeming confusion created by demands he or she never anticipated...the demands of organization, the demands of cash flow, the demands of people -- employees, customers, suppliers, banks, family -- and so forth and so on. They are simply not prepared for the demands that are going to be made on them. The longer they're in business, the worse it gets. There is no vision; there is only being a slave to work and staying alive. The seizure is long gone, the entrepreneurial vision a vague memory.

The entrepreneur is not really interested in doing the work; he is interested in creating the way the company operates. In that regard, the entrepreneur is an inventor. He or she loves to invent, but does not love to manufacture or sell or distribute what he or she invents. You will not find entrepreneurs on the production line. You will find them in their office, their room, in their research center, in their mind, dreaming about the product, or building a sample of the product, or drawing a picture of the product on the back of a napkin. Entrepreneurs are dreaming, scheming, imagining, playing.... not doing it, doing it, doing it. Without that fire, that light, that spirit of inventing the future, everyone turns to work. The entrepreneur goes to work ON the business, not IN the business. The technician goes to work IN the business, not ON the business. The entrepreneur invents a business that is more successful than any other business. The technician invents a job and then continues to work for a living in the job he or she created. The difference is the difference of scale. The entrepreneur builds an enterprise; the technician builds a job.

The ability to carry out the vision is as essential as the vision itself. Without vision, daring, and a creative eye, the business becomes a slave to the bureaucrat. The bureaucrat kills vision, enthusiasm, and opportunity, and shapes the organization to fit his or her limited view of the world. The bureaucrat is interested in planning without vision, exercising maximum control over people whom the bureaucrat doesn't trust. The entrepreneur is an anathema to the bureaucrat. Creativity, innovation, and change are terrifying to the bureaucrat. On the other hand, the organization of a vision, the planning of growth, and the systems through which the entrepreneurial vision is manifested in operating the company are critical if the vision is going to become a reality. It's the balance between the two that is key. First the vision, then the organization.

It takes study, practice, continuous education and experience for the entrepreneur to create a world class company. While entrepreneurs seem to be born with the qualities and traits that mark them, there has, in fact, been an enormous amount of trial and error in their lives. Trial and error is good and necessary, but it is essential to study and practice, following a logical curriculum, to develop the requisite skills. That is what we developed in my company, E-Myth Worldwide. Our E-Myth Mastery Program delivers the curriculum, training, coaching, and the processes necessary to fuel, develop, and perfect the entrepreneurial mindset in people who wish to build and grow entrepreneurial companies. Our clients have met with extraordinary success. Go to our website, e-myth.com, read the testimonials, and you will see a bit of what I'm talking about.

Comments

  1. .Kory T. says:

    Wow, again I say wow. I have read and listened to Mr. Gerber for a while now, but still am hit with new thoughts everytime. Some little piece of advice, that I never thought of it that way, it opens my mind to new and exploding potential. I really like this community forum. Look forward using it. Kory

    Submitted Dec 1, 2005 7:42 PM

  2. .Patrick B. says:

    Fantastic!  Love how he shows the physical contrast of an entrepenuer and a simple business owner.  I have always been fascinated with started my own business and then working vigorously on doing business better than the next guy.  Thanks for the motivation and I look forward to reading more of your work. Patrick

    Submitted Dec 15, 2009 7:04 AM

  3. .Kraig B. says:

    This is so true. I have invented so many things. I am so excited in this initial phase. Than as the day to day creeps in I loose interest. I am best out talking to other business owners. By doing this it keeps me alive. I delegate everything else. I hate paperwork and doing online type data entry. I don't do this anymore. I have vision. It will work!

    Kraig

    Submitted Dec 22, 2009 3:53 PM

  4. .Brandon C. says:

    In doing so, the person who starts his or her own business is lost in the teeming confusion created by demands he or she never anticipated...the demands of organization, the demands of cash flow, the demands of people -- employees, customers, suppliers, banks, family -- and so forth and so on. They are simply not prepared for the demands that are going to be made on them. The longer they're in business, the worse it gets. There is no vision; there is only being a slave to work and staying alive. The seizure is long gone, the entrepreneurial vision a vague memory.


    This hits it right on the head. It isn't enough to be good at what you do, but one also needs to be prepared to wear the many hats. Often times there's limited information on how to wear those hats... The cumulative effect is to be burnt out well before one is able to reap many of the rewards...

    Submitted Mar 2, 2010 1:39 PM

  5. .TaJuanna J. says:

    "The entrepreneur is not really interested in doing the work; he is interested in creating the way the company operates....The entrepreneur invents a business that is more successful than any other business. The technician invents a job and then continues to work for a living in the job he or she created. The difference is the difference of scale. The entrepreneur builds an enterprise; the technician builds a job."

    I'm shaking my head...at my self. I realized in this very moment that I am "the technician" and I have totally created a job. Hence the difficulty I've found in balancing work, family and my small business. I now have a new challege and objective to produce less and change the dynamic of my company...and the silly part is, it's already written down. Thank you for the revelation!  

    Submitted May 25, 2010 7:14 AM

  6. .Leonora R. says:

    Thank you for this article.  I see that at heart I am an entrepreneur but in reality I have become the technician.  This is what I hope to change and get back to where I started 15 years ago.  In the beginning I was much more enthusiastic and put much more time into operating the business but as he points out I have become sadly overwhelmed with demands of doing it and especially problems with cash flow.  My husband has this same issue with his business.  We are excited about changing this now.

    Submitted Apr 15, 2011 7:31 AM


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