An Entrepreneur is a person who combines all other factors of production together to make profit. Am I talking like an economist? Okay, you could also say an entrepreneur is a problem-solver. He takes other factors of production and uses them to provide a solution to a problem and makes money in the process.
So the question comes up. What exactly does it take to be an entrepreneur? What category of people can be entrepreneurs? Can every Jack, Dick, and Harry on the street become an entrepreneur? Well, the thing is, everybody has the inner capacity to be an entrepreneur but not everybody can be a successful entrepreneur. There are some unhealthy habits or shall I say “personality traits” which once present in you will sooner or later derail the juggernaut of entrepreneurship running through the YOU.
No matter how smart your proposals or how insightful your ideas, the presence of one or more of these debilitating habits in you will make sure you never succeed as an entrepreneur. I’m not trying to transmit negative energy, it’s just how it is. So does that mean that the successful entrepreneur doesn’t have these habits? No, most of them actually do. But they learnt to change these habits, to change their personality and get rid of the unwanted personality trait. And that’s all you need do too.
On a personal note, I have compiled ten categories of people who no matter their efforts might never succeed as entrepreneurs. Let’s have a look at them.
10 Categories Of People Who Will Never Succeed As An Entrepreneur
#1 The Victim
The Victim is one of the most common types of entrepreneur, especially in Nigeria. He has a great business idea, extremely feasible if worked well, but he cannot get away from his belief that he is being victimized by forces all around. He complains about the actions of external forces congregating to kill his idea. There is no stable power supply for him to work, no good roads for him to move his products, no capital for him to start up, nobody wants to help him, everybody is working against him. Victims are usually very spiritual people. Their grandma in the village is doing them, their father’s second wife is a witch, she doesn’t want them to succeed and all sorts of irrational blames.
The Victim blames everyone else for a critical fault in him: he does not take chances. He is waiting for everybody to give him everything he needs before he acts on his idea. He is a waiting for the ball to be tee’d up perfectly before he takes his shot. He does not realise that an entrepreneur does not wait for a chance, he goes right ahead and takes a chance and he controls that chance. So the Victim jettisons his great idea because he believes “everything” is against him.
Unfortunately, a lot of people in Africa and Nigeria especially are in this category due to the poor state of amenities and infrastructure. And when you point out to them ways by which they can make the most of the situation, they stubbornly refuse to see it.
#2 The Money Doubler
The Money Doubler is a type of entrepreneur who has a good business idea which is quite feasible. However, the business will take a long time to bloom and be successful. And the Money Doubler is not ready to wait. He is in a hurry. He is greedy. He wants to make money. He wants to turn twenty into forty instantly. He can’t wait for one business to take five years before making money. He needs cash, fast cash! So what does he do? He abandons the business. He neglects it. He starts looking for ways to expedite his money making. He gambles with the business on unreasonable odds.
Ultimately, his actions lead to the death of his young business. And further down the road, he regrets his actions. Or maybe not, if his gambles pay off. But one thing is sure. He won’t be making money from his business.
#3 The Leper
Taking action is the defining quality of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is different from just any person with an idea in that he takes action on his ideas.
The Leper has a very good business idea. He has worked on the theoretical aspect of it. He knows the pros and the cons. He is ready to make it work. He is patient and ready to wait until it works. He has the target in his sights. But you know what? He never takes the shot.
The Leper suffers from a case of intense actions paralysis. While he has a lot of knowledge on and about the business and has made a lot of preparations, he can’t start. His body is paralysed; with fear. He is frightfully scared. The unknowns are killing him. He is scared of circumstances beyond his control, the “what ifs”. What if it doesn’t work? What if I don’t get the money to start? What if people don’t come to me? He keeps postponing his actions. He is a procrastinator. He is not a risk taker. He is paralysed by fear. He is so much caught up in the analysis of the risks involved that he takes no action till time is gone.
And his dream is gone, his idea is lost, someone else has taken the leap and the leper has lost his chance.
Don’t be a Leper. Take a chance
#4 The Money Bag
The Money Bag is a pompous idiot with a lot more money in his hands than he knows what to do with. He has a great business idea but he chokes it with money. He spends money liberally in all the wrong places and the wrong times. He has no proper adviser. He tries to outspend the competition. He seduces his workers with money.
Having capital is important and good. Spending it without brain is bad and dangerous. The cash flow might run out just when it is critical to the operation. And then the whole thing falls apart like a house of cards.
If you’ve got a lot of capital, spend it when necessary and not more than is needed. Don’t be a miser but don’t be a prodigal idiot either.
#5 The Sleeping Beauty
It is generally true with some exceptions that to sleep, you have to be comfortable. The same thing applies to the Sleeping Beauty. He is comfortable. He is in a safe zone. He is okay. He has great ideas running through his mind, he has plans on what he should do and how he should do it but he simply ain’t ready to leave his comfort zone. He has a good salary, he can’t leave that to start a business that might not work. He has a good car. He can’t sell it to fund his business. He isn’t ready to stake anything that he might lose.
The problem with a comfort zone is nothing is going to grow there. The Sleeping Beauty is going to remain in a spot. He knows it and he knows what to do about it but he just can’t risk his comfort zone disappearing. He is not ready to wake up from his beauty sleep.
To be an entrepreneur, however, to create something, you have to step out of your comfort zone. Or it will become your prison.
#6 The Idea Junkie
I’ve got a friend, he is extremely smart and creative. He comes to me every other week and while we are talking, he always let’s slip one new idea he has thought of that can be really great. He is a walking encyclopedia of great business ideas. He can spot business opportunities from a thousand miles away. He is an Idea Junkie. The major problem with Idea Junkies is that they live in a fantasy land, namely, the inside of their head. Just like any other junkie. They believe anything is possible and so they conceive every brilliant idea there is. And that’s all they ever do. They never back up their ideas with actions. They are like an idea machine created just for the purpose of thinking up and spouting off great business ideas, but not doing anything about them.
We’ve all heard the saying that the graveyard is the richest place in the world, right? Because of all those beautiful ideas people had but never developed. Well, Idea Junkies are the richest people there.
They never become entrepreneurs because they never act. And other people use up their ideas.
#7 The Star Gazer
The Star Gazer is a dreamer. He dreams vividly. He dreams continuously. He dreams of having a big business, of becoming a successful entrepreneur, having a lot of money, living large and spending big. He dreams all night and day. And of course mixed in with his dreams are ideas. His dreams are built up from his ideas.
The problem with a Star Gazer is that he is not just a dreamer, he is a perfectionist. He needs everything to be in perfect order before he can take action. The money needs to be ready, the timing needs to be perfect, the stars need to be aligned. He needs a perfect lay-up so he can have a slam dunk. But as we all know, nothing is ever perfect. So the Star Gazer never acts. His conditions are not yet met, so he keeps postponing and procrastinating until someone else takes the idea and acts on it. So the Star Gazer never becomes a successful entrepreneur.
#8 The Lone Wolf
We’ve all heard the saying that “many hands make light work.” Well, the Lone Wolf doesn’t agree with you. No, he doesn’t. He can do it all. Management? He’ll do it. Accounting? He’ll do it. Publicity? Aye, aye captain. CEO? He’s your man. He has a young business and so, therefore, he takes all parts of the operation on his shoulders. He refuses to ask for help. He is a loner and he would prefer to do things himself than delegating it to someone else.
But as they say, “jack of all trades and master of none”(the Lone Wolf still does not agree with you by the way). The Lone Wolf does a lot of things but none of them properly. He refuses to get specialized help and as such, some aspects of the business are seriously deficient while others are only marginally better. The business suffers mediocrity. It eventually crashes.
At times, the Lone Wolf hasn’t even started a business. All he has is an idea. But he won’t share it with anybody. Therefore he loses the idea. He does not get to be a successful entrepreneur.
#9 The Wanderer
There is a saying that if you don’t know where you are going, you should know where you are coming from. Each of these (where you are going and where you are coming from) is a fixed point of stability. But the Wanderer doesn’t have this. Entrepreneurship is a journey with stops all along the way, the wanderer doesn’t know his stop. He is going around in circles and squares and triangles and every shape imaginable. He works a lot but he gets nowhere. He is like a person running on a treadmill. He is running fast but he is getting nowhere.
The Wanderer likes to call himself a serial entrepreneur. He dabbles in all kinds of business all around without actually getting serious with anyone. He doesn’t know what he wants. He is like a kid in a candy shop, everything catches his fancy. Today, he is in the oil business, tomorrow, he wants to enter transportation.
The definition of the Wanderer’s problem is lack of focus and commitment. And sometimes, lack of an original idea. The Wanderer has no focus on any particular business because he has no business idea originally. He is simply doing what people are doing, so he follows the trends. Today, it’s fashion, tomorrow, it’s music. He ends up frustrated. He is chasing several rats at once. He is going to lose all of them. So, until the Wanderer generates an idea of his own and focuses on it, he is never going to be successful as an entrepreneur.
#10 The Old Mountain
He used to be the tallest monument. Now there are skyscrapers towering over him. The Old Mountain used to be the biggest guy on the scene. He is an entrepreneur and he once succeeded in his business. But he has rested on his haunches. The world is moving on and he doesn’t realize it. Innovations are gradually pushing him out of business and he doesn’t know it. He still thinks he is the biggest guy on the scene. He is not improving. He had a formula that worked and he is refusing to change. He doesn’t want to kill the golden goose. Unfortunately, while there are far better ways to get golden eggs now without a golden goose, but he doesn’t know it. So soon enough, he is pushed out of business. He has failed to realize that entrepreneurship is a journey, not a destination, so he has been overtaken.
The truth of the matter is that we all belong to at least one of these categories of people either in part or fully, we are all faulty. But no great person ever accepted his fault. If you wish to be successful as an entrepreneur you’ve got to find out which of the above faults you have and look for ways to overcome it/them. Only then, you can be a successful entrepreneur.