What does it take to be a successful entrepreneur? Before you eye the careers of wealthy executives, consider the fact that not all successful executives are successful entrepreneurs. The best executives keep focused on their primary purpose of growing a successful enterprise: keep customers and shareholders happy, optimize profits, and keep things running smoothly as possible.

The entrepreneur however, is a challenger whose eyes are fixed beyond the material aspects of business. There is the original vision, the dream of bringing the business to life, the sense of ownership (which can be very strong at times) and expectation of happy customers (being a goal). Having shared the ‘entrepreneurial experience’ more than once with clients and on my own, I collated this list of ideas that I have suggested to other challengers:

  • A Dream and Imagination: The dream is very important for entrepreneurs. It is their vision for starting a company. Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Michael Dell, Bill Gates, and in fact, every great entrepreneur had a vision or dream or imagination. Imagination coupled with knowledge breeds innovation. True entrepreneurs are always following their dream.
  • A Genuine Idea with a Proper Action Plan: To turn the dream into reality, every entrepreneur must have a genuine idea.
  • Explore Your Idea: Before you jump into an idea, explore it: Where do you want to be? Who should be involved and why? How can you get there? Understand the true “voice of the customer.” Combine technical depth with a sense of business and markets.
  • Believe in Your Idea: Not only must all entrepreneurs have a genuine idea, but they must also believe in that idea. The goal should not be how to make a quick million but rather how to build an effective organization.
  • Take a Never Give-up Attitude: If effective entrepreneurs believe they can do something and decide to do it, they won’t give up. How do you sustain such determination? It is in your heart. It is your passion. If you don’t make it your passion, you will never achieve your goal. If you believe in yourself, the day will come when others will believe in you, as well.
  • Act on your idea: Implementing an idea is as valuable as coming up with an idea in the first place. If you are an entrepreneur, you don’t have just the idea. You have the idea plus an action plan. Acting on the idea is what makes you an entrepreneur.
  • Cultivate Discipline and Determination: Discipline and determination turn dreams into realities. Discipline is essential in life. Determination is a show of heart that transcends natural instincts.
  • Embrace Failure as well as Success: Failures may occur, but they’re all part of the game. You should accept failure, analyze the failure, and learn from it. Effective entrepreneurs do not blame their co-workers when failure happens.
  • Treat People Right: Effective entrepreneurs always treat their people right.
  • Putting Customers First: Effective entrepreneurs strive to put their customers first in everything they do. It is critical to understand that, without customers, neither the enterprise nor the entrepreneur exists.
  • Find Opportunity within Problems: Effective entrepreneurs are always opportunists. Whenever a problem arises, entrepreneurs are busy spotting the opportunity that lies hidden within the situation.
  • Understanding Social Welfare: Most entrepreneurs want social change. They understand that a business should be run not merely for financial gain but also for the benefit of society and humanity.

Corporate leaders who behave like venture capitalists and sponsor internal entrepreneurs are richly rewarded by unexpected and unplanned innovations, some of which make big differences.

Entrepreneurship- Collaboration with Thought Leaders

Babson College, USA

  • James E. Henderson
    Assistant Professor of Strategic Management
    Next Generation Business Handbook
  • Mark P. Rice
    Jeffrey A. Timmons Professor of Entrepreneurial Studies
    Next Generation Business Handbook
  • Andrew Zacharakis
    Paul T. Babson Term Chair in Entrepreneurship with the Arthur M. Blank Center for Entrepreneurship
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, USA

  • Sankaran Venkataraman
    Samuel L. Slover Research Professor of Business Administration
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Fisher College of Business, Ohio State University, USA

  • Mike W. Peng
    Assistant Professor of Management
    Next Generation Business Handbook

IMD, Lausanne, Switzerland

  • Benoit F. Leleux
    The Stephan Schmidheiny Professor of Entrepreneurship and Finance
    Next Generation Business Handbook

INSEAD, Fontainebleau, France

  • Javier Gimeno
    Professor of Strategy
    Next Generation Business Handbook

INSEAD, Singapore

  • Philip Anderson
    INSEAD Alumni Fund Professor of Entrepreneurship
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Leeds School of Business, University of Colorado, USA

  • Dean A. Shepherd
    Assistant Professor
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Leonard N. Stern School of Business, New York University, USA

  • Fernando Alvarez
    Clinical Associate Professor of Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Richard Ivey School of Business, University of Western Ontario, Canada

  • Charlene L. Nicholls-Nixon
    Assistant Professor of Strategic Management and Entrepreneurship
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Tuck School of Business Administration, Dartmouth College, USA

  • Michael Horvath
    Associate Professor
    Next Generation Business Handbook

Consultants and Executives

  • Thomas A. Hiatt
    Managing Director, Centerfield Capital Partners
    Next Generation Business Handbook
  • Ian White
    Independent Consultant
    Next Generation Business Handbook