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.
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?