Wednesday, March 21, 2012

What Does it Take to Be an Entrepreneur?

"Who can be an entrepreneur, you ask? Anyone who wants to experience the deep, dark canyons of uncertainty and ambiguity and who wants to walk the breathtaking highlands of success. But caution—do not plan to walk the latter until you have experienced the former." Anonymous Entrepreneur

In their book, "Never Bet The Farm", authors Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli provide many stories of those who walked that path of entrepreneurship.  One example is that of Sam Walton, the founder of Wal-Mart. 

While Wal-Mart is perhaps today the world's largest retail chain, Sam Walton knew what it was to suffer a setback or two.  Here is a small excerpt from this book, which we encourage you to add to your reading list:

Sam Walton "... had turned his very first store—a Ben Franklin franchise in Newport, Mississippi—into one of the most profitable stores in the region. However, when he signed the lease for the building that housed his store, he neglected to include a clause that would have given him the option to renew after the first five years. Seeing what a success Sam had made, when the five years was up, the landlord (who wanted to take over the thriving retail business) kicked him out. Though Sam was tough enough to negotiate compensation for the franchise rights, fixtures, and inventory, it was still a dark moment in his career:
It really was like a nightmare. I had built the best variety store in the whole region and worked hard in the community—done everything right—and now I was being kicked out of town. It didn’t seem fair. I blamed myself for ever getting suckered into such an awful lease and I was furious at the landlord. [Walton, 1992, p. 39]

But Sam Walton soon recovered, and with the money he received from the landlord started his second venture in the little town of Bentonville, Arkansas."

What follows are a few thoughts that were provided by the publisher, John Wiley & Sons.

In Never Bet the Farm two leading entrepreneurs, Anthony Iaquinto and Stephen Spinelli, turn much of the so-called expert advice for entrepreneurs on its head. They show that by preparing for setbacks and using a framework that can help reduce risks and simplify decision making, entrepreneurs can increase their probability for success. They refute the idea that there is an ideal entrepreneurial "type," and show that luck can be as important as a business plan in many enterprises. Above all, the authors emphasize that entrepreneurship is a career, not a one-time event, and winners are those who can keep themselves in the game. Never Bet the Farm is an easy-to-understand and attractive tool for anyone who has a business idea, but who might be wary of the risks implied in starting their own business.

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