Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It requires creativity, patience, a willingness to take risks, expertise, endurance, and a whole lot more.
According to Growth Hackers’ co-founder and CEO Jonathan Aufray:
“An entrepreneur must be audacious, calculating, enthusiastic, and passionate. Creativity and managerial capabilities are also important to the success of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur needs to be a talented multi-disciplinary individual, a bit like the growth hacker job description, which is very complex, the entrepreneur job description is even more complicated.”
“Contrary to popular opinion, entrepreneurial skills and qualities can be learned, practiced, and developed. You must, however, make a conscious decision to nurture these qualities and skills. Once you begin to make a conscious effort to acquire these skills, particularly skills in the area where you are deficient, you would have repositioned yourself for tremendous accomplishments as an entrepreneur in the business world.”
Aufray has identified 29 skills as important for successful entrepreneurship. Here are ten of them:
- Personal capabilities
- Image building
- Effective communication
- Ability to negotiate
- Ability to lead
- Ability to sell
- Ability to concentrate (focus)
- Customer relations
- Preparedness to learn
Click the image for a full discussion of the above 10 skills and to see Aufray’s whole list of 29 entrepreneurial skills.
As we approach the end of 2016, we are going to present some of the most popular of the nearly 1,500 posts that have appeared on Evans on Marketing. Today, we cover our MOST popular post ever.
In 2012, a book titled The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time was published. This book is by Verne Harnish (CEO of Gazelles) and the editors of Fortune.
As Fortune’s Brian Dumaine said:
“Once in a great while a leader makes a truly game-changing decision that shifts not only the strategy of a single company but how everyone does business as well. These big decisions are counter-intuitive — they go against the conventional wisdom. In hindsight, taking a different direction may seem easy, but these bet-the-company moves involve drama, doubt, and high tension. What made Apple’s board bring back Steve Jobs to the company?”
“What motivated Henry Ford to double the wages of his autoworkers, and how did that change the American economy for the next century? Why did Intel decide to spend millions to brand a microchip? The following stories, adapted from the new book The Greatest Business Decisions of All Time, provide the background to these pivotal moments. You’ll learn how these groundbreaking decisions have shaped the thinking of today’s top leaders.”
Click the image to read the introduction of the book. [Please note: Since the publication of the original post, Fortune has removed its excerpts. However, the book introduction may be accessed from Amazon. After clicking the book cover below, wait for the pages to fully load; then scroll down to the introduction (which starts at p. 27). It is VERY interesting.]
What other “big” business decisions would YOU cite besides those noted?
Forty years ago, Apple was founded by 20-something young guys– some say, in a garage (Steve Wozniack disagrees with that depiction 🙂 ). Despite a number of ups and downs over the years, we know that Apple has emerged as the most valuable company in the world. Here is a video on the history of Apple.
In today’s post, we want to show that other small startups have also been very successful and remain so today. So, the answer to this question — Can you start a business in your garage? — is a resounding yes. And this remains true today.
As Matthew Anderson recently observed for TheSelfEmployed.com:
“For many people, the idea of just starting their own business lies somewhere in the realm of fantasy. It’s something for someone else to do, something that requires investors and business know-how, or something an average person could never think of doing. The truth, however, is that starting your own business requires only one thing – determination. Well, if history is any indicator, a garage might help as well.”
- Amazon — “At one time, Amazon was simply an online bookstore; and founder Jeff Bezos ran the company out of his garage in Bellevue, Washington. Needless to say, the Amazon of today is just a bit bigger – the world’s largest online retailer. In keeping with its bookstore beginnings, the Amazon Kindle is widely regarded as the best E-reader on the market.”
- Disney — “Walt Disney and his brother Roy moved to California and set up the first Disney studio in a one- car garage behind their uncle Robert’s house in Los Angeles in 1923 to film and sell his Alice Comedies, which combined a live-action actress with an animated cat. Nearly a century later, Disney is one of the largest media corporations in the world.”
- Harley Davidson — “William Harley and his friend Arthur Davidson worked in a shed to make the motorized bicycle a reality. In 1903, Harley-Davidson was founded. Today, it is one of the most well-known motorcycle brands in the world; and you can buy anything from aprons to clocks and outdoor oil-can-shaped lights with the Harley-Davidson logo.”
- Maglite — “In 1955, Tony Maglica bought a lathe and set up a tool shop in his garage. After operating his business for 25 years, the innovative Mag-Lite was released in 1979. It is now the standard-issue flashlight for U.S. police officers and was referred to by the Wall Street Journal as the ‘Cadillac of flashlights.’”
- Yankee Candle Co. — “Sixteen-year-old Michael Kittredge created his first scented candles out of melted crayons for his mother in the family’s garage in 1969. When neighbors showed interest, he began producing the candles in larger quantities. With help from two high school friends, Yankee Candle Company was founded. Fast forward to 1998, Kittredge sells the firm that began with a gift for his mom to a private equity company for $500 million dollars.”
Click the image to read more from Anderson.
As we noted in a prior post, according to the Pew Research Research Institute: “Millennials have surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, whom we define as those ages 18-34 in 2015, now number 75.4 million, surpassing the 74.9 million Baby Boomers (ages 51-69). And Generation X (ages 35-50 in 2015) is projected to pass the Boomers in population by 2028.”
So, given the huge size of the Millennial generation, what are its prospects for producing successful entrepreneurs?
Bob Horton reports for Online MBA Page that:
“Millennials may end up being the greatest entrepreneurial generation ever. Just think about it for a moment.”
“Digital natives have the upper hand in our tech centered world. The on-demand, plugged-in, Millennial generation is influenced differently than previous generations and molded by global happenings in real-time. Smartphones have provided improved tech resources over the last 10 years. Ready-made distribution platforms allow for quick tests of ideas, e.g., Etsy, Ebay, and Amazon. ‘Crowdfunding’ has enabled entrepreneurs to raise capital from online sources, rather than relying on traditional sources like banks to grow their business.”
“Independence is more important than a corner office. 67% of Millennials report their goals involve starting their own business. Only 13% report their career goal is to climb the corporate ladder to become CEO/president. Creative freedom is the key to real happiness. Since 1985, entrepreneurship classes on the university level have increased 20X, so educational exposure is at an all time high for Millennials.”
“Collaboration and coming together around great ideas rocks. Making a difference in the world is HUGE. 79% of Millennial employees who volunteered through a company-sponsored initiative felt they made a positive impact. 57% of Millennial employees want company-wide volunteer opportunities. There is purpose over profit.”
Are you a wearables fan? Are you thinking of buying one? Do you believe that Fitbit and Apple are the only real alternatives? Well, they are not; and there are some exciting new technologies from less-known companies that are right around the corner.
Consider these observations from James A. Martin, writing for CIO:
“Everything is ‘smart’ these days, it seems, especially when it comes to gadgets designed to help people improve their health and boost fitness levels. Smart mirrors and body scanners, smart running socks, a smart vest, smart drinking cups, smart sleeves, and smart sleep masks are all now available, or will be soon. Many of these Internet of Things things are wearables — except for the ‘naked 3D’ full-body mirror, of course — while others are designed to be carried in a pocket or clipped to a belt or bra. The following 12 devices, many of which aren’t yet available, are all notable for some reason. So sit back, relax, take a sip from your smart water bottle, and check them out.”
Click the image to access a slideshow about the 12 new wearables, and to read more about them.