Not Sure You’re an Entrepreneur?

Every once in a while we can get totally stuck on what to do next.

Tuesday was one of those moments for me.

I had just starting to speak about the importance of being an entrepreneur to a class of MBA students at a well-known university here in New York.

Since the university is a new partner in my new company, the Shift Group, they brought faculty to observe the presentation.  They asked me to speak to the students to recruit a few MBA interns for our new project together.

And while I’ve done this kind of presentation perhaps a thousand times before, these students were not having it. 

In fact they were completely uninterested and unengaged in the topic.

One student even gave me an annoyed look when I asked her to close her laptop, thereby interrupting her online chat.

I needed to generate quickly on the fly.

Blank stares followed, “Who in the room was an entrepreneur?”


Question:  What are the traits of a successful entrepreneur?

Answers started trickling in:

  • Great networker
  • Has a vision, purpose
  • Ability to raise/generate capital
  • Can see market trends
  • Knows how to sell
  • Can market effectively

Student engagement increases.

Adding to this list, I mentioned two crucial ones.  For without them, no entrepreneur can be successful, however you define success:

1)   Passion—creating a business is a lot of hard work.  But it is this passion that keeps you going, even when sometimes others think you’re whacked.

2)   Conviction—You’re going to get knocked down a lot along the way.  And while you may not know how you will ultimately succeed, as long as you know you will succeed, you’ll get back up.

Pivot continues.

Next question:  Describe the key challenges entrepreneurs face.

Now the answers start flowing:

  • Lack of money
  • Poor idea
  • Not enough experience
  • Don’t understand financials
  • Can’t build a solid team / infrastructure
  • Poor networking
  • Bad presentation / skills

The now fully-engaged students seemed to be justifying their blank stares to the initial question:  Who here is an entrepreneur?

Final question: Which of these answers is not the same for being successful in life?

As I packed up to leave, you could hear a pin drop.



Action Steps for the Week

Not sure you have what it takes to a successful entrepreneur?

Contemplate one question:  Can you afford not to be?