Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Entrepreneurship 101

So what is an Entrepreneur?

I don't know about you but I've heard the word thrown about like candy recently and that got me thinking.

So with fingers poised and at the ready I attacked the net and did some digging.  Besides being millions (I'm not joking) of definitions I also managed to find several lists of qualities.  Depending on whose list you check out there are anywhere between 10 and 29 qualities that go towards defining an entrepreneur. 

From the information I gathered and my own personal experience I've pulled together my top twenty and will be looking at each individually over the coming weeks.

As a business coach with http://www.brightestspark.com I regularly come across each attribute in the existing and new entrepreneurs I work with.  We all have some of the qualities inherent within us and can learn and develop others.  The question is which qualities do YOU need in YOUR business, career or life?  

Choosing when and which to use comes with practice, and the way in which you use that skill is deployed is dependent on the situation, environment, culture and personality type you are dealing with.

So without further ado here's my top twenty:

1) Creativity and capacity to innovate
2) Vision and capacity to inspire
3) Decisiveness, urgency and patience
4) Integrity, honesty and reliability
5) Ability to cope with failure
6) Drive to achieve and grow
7) Persistence in problem solving
8) Total commitment, determination and perseverance
9) Orientation to goals and opportunities
10) Taking initiative and personal responsibility
11) Sense of humour
12) High stress tolerance
13) Seeking and using feedback constructively
14) Team builder with the ability to recognize the efforts of those brought on board
15) Self-confidence and self-control
16) Don't like to be penned in or controlled  - they have trouble working for anyone else, they like to be boss!
17) Make decisions and are not afraid of making mistakes
18) See obstacles as opportunities
19) Speak their mind
20) High energy

So how close are you?

Friday, February 13, 2009

Coaching through recession!

As a business coach with www.brightestspark.com I work with many different types of business.  Right now I have noticed that more and more people are thinking of realizing their dream of starting a business as the work opportunities dry up with other organizations.

Start up is a unique phase in every business and every business has gone through it.  Starting your own company usually means that unless you are in a partnership or have REALLY good connections you will be doing EVERYTHING in your fledgling enterprise and probably with limited funds.  Also the person you meet up close and personal is... yourself!

You find out how easy you are to manage and where you will hide in order not to do things!  And your success will depend on how you deal with your internal as well as your external blocks.  Coaching someone through this phase is a delight and something I enjoy immensely. 

And when someone finally 'gets it', i.e. what entrepreneurship really means, then you hang onto your hat because you know it's going to be a wild ride.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Letter to Minster Day

As promised this is a copy of the letter e-mailed to Darcy Rezac, MD of The Board of Trade regarding the US proposed protectionist policy.

I was surprised to find out that my views were as strong as they are... but I stand by what I say.  I think it's a short term knee jerk reaction rather than a long a sustainable long term strategy.

Hopefully they'll reconsider their position and support trade rather than cut it off at the knees.


Dear Minister Day

I wish to speak to the concern I and many of my fellow business colleagues share around the current proposed protectionist plan in the US and how this can potentially impact not just ourselves, but also the long term economic health of the US and the global economy.

Protectionism is, in my view, an economic knee jerk reaction that addresses issues with only a short term view.  If it persists or spreads the danger is that the wheels of trade will cease to be lubricated as goods and services stop passing across international borders and any 'recession' or 'economic down turn' will last longer and result in tougher, harder times for peoples, organizations and governments across the globe.

By keeping global trade alive and thriving economies increase the number of potential markets for their own goods and services, thereby helping their own manufacturing and services community weather any economic storm.  I would be very surprised if anyone actually wanted the problems caused by the instability and alleged poor judgement of the financial sector to last any longer than need be.  Closing borders to trade and the potential domino effect that would cause, in my view, would do exactly that.

A much more practical solution for the US and other world economies to consider would be to invest in their companies (manufacturing and service) by helping them to innovate, upgrade and compete.  This coupled with real governmental help in accessing new opportunities abroad and then cultural training/support to facilitate appropriate marketing strategies to sell to new trading partners will open doors and ensure future success.  These steps will also have the added benefit of updating and strengthening the manufacturing and service base upon which countries rely.

Rather than closing down trade opportunities, shutting down innovation and stopping marketing activities, economies need to do the opposite in order to thrive.

There is a whole world out there, I would suggest it is foolhardy for any country to turn their back on such a remarkable opportunity, let alone one with such an impressive record of innovation and market awareness that the US currently enjoys.

I do hope they re-consider their position and choose to lead the world in their forward thinking and sustainable economic strategies.

Yours sincerely

2010, US Protectionism and a very slutty Carmen

Well what a week!

This has been one of those weeks where my feet have hardly hit the tarmac.  I was fortunate enough to attend a good friends 2010 presentation that left me gasping for air - do you realize exactly HOW BIG the games next year are going to be?  I had no clue and am considering leaving Vancouver for the duration ... although I know that my curiosity will get the better of me and I'll end up staying just to see all the fun and games around the city.

Working with entrepreneurs and small businesses as I do, I feel a little shamefaced that I haven't clued in sooner.  Now I have, you'd be surprised how many e-mails I sent to clients and close friends all of whom can benefit directly from the games.

Then on Wednesday I received a mass e-mail from the MD of the Vancouver Board of Trade asking for comments to pass onto Minister Stockwell Day regarding the US's proposed protectionist stance.  Again another surprise as I was able to rattle off a reply in literally no time at all - I never realized I had such strong views on the matter.  The next post is a copy of the e-mail sent, feel free to let me know what you think!

And then finally I was treated by my husband (who also arranged a baby sitter!) when we went out Thursday night t0 see the Opera Carmen.  The Israeli woman who played Carmen played her in a delightfully slutty way and was just wonderful.  Made me want to take up singing again... although whether I'd ever be able to reach the dizzy heights of a pure and clear top A is doubtful.

All in all not a bad week as it was one in which I discovered more about myself and this amazing city which I call home.  

I'm now looking for ways to expand my business into 2010 - JV anyone?  Wish me luck.