How Entrepreneurs And Managers Are Alike
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Nowadays many managers and entrepreneurs are inclined to believe that they are the same thing.
From the outset, it's good to ask yourself the question, are you? Let's explore why.
What is an entrepreneur?
Here's the ultimate definition of an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur is someone who starts or runs a business without outside help.
Essentially, a "business owner" is someone who has a net worth in excess of $1 million, has control over the decision-making power of their business and can, with capital and proper planning, operate their business without being involved with it day to day.
An entrepreneur knows everything about the business, from the success or failure of it, to the demand of it and the efficiency or operation of it. The best entrepreneurs can build a business from scratch in six months, and then continue to add value to the business, even after their exit.
Why am I saying this?
Before we get into the shortcomings of the definition of an entrepreneur, let's examine this definition.
By definition, the entrepreneur is an individual who has limited formal education, has to work hard and must be extremely effective, or risk his or her chances of getting the next job.
The definition of entrepreneur is rather selective. It defines certain individuals who are able to create new concepts and applications. But if we look closer, we see a real-life example of a person who is described as an entrepreneur.
You may know this person; he is the head of the company you're currently working for. In essence, this is a manager. You may know that he's been managing the company for a long time. In this case, he is not an entrepreneur.
The qualities of the manager are similar to the qualities of an entrepreneur, but the title and the status do not define them. Does this mean that you can't call your manager a "manager"?
No, the title may be misleading. It's just that you will find your managers to be much more effective when they have an entrepreneurial mindset.
Why is that?
I was recently in a session with a manager and we were discussing the problems that she was facing. She could not believe that I, a manager, could understand what she is going through, when I am managing a business.
After some candid discussion and learning, we finally identified that she had an entrepreneurial mindset, and that she could apply what she was doing in a manner that did not require much of her time.
Instead of being overwhelmed by the enormity of a company's future, she was in the habit of seeking the best opportunity and then she would adjust her business strategy accordingly. Her mindset provided her with a realistic outlook.
This is what I meant by the word "entrepreneur," and this is the best of what managers can provide.
What does the word "manager" mean?
What does it mean to call a person a manager? The simple definition is: a person who has limited formal education and works hard, and is given a level of authority and control over a business.
To gain such authority and control, the manager must do what an entrepreneur is doing, only without the name and the status associated with it. The very fact that the manager has an authority and control over the organization means that there is more value in what they do, and it can be communicated.
How to develop an entrepreneurial mindset
If you are a manager, how do you develop the entrepreneurial mindset? You have to do a little bit of research and then do some self-awareness.
This involves self-discipline. As the saying goes, "Do what you don't want to do, and you will get what you don't want."
Without discipline, how can you develop an entrepreneurial mindset? But now, what does that look like?
Be careful, because a lot of managers have their own perspectives on what they're doing, and their conclusions might be far from the truth. If your manager takes credit for the efforts of others, then you may find yourself in a conflict situation.
On the other hand, if your manager's perspective allows you to see the value you're creating, you should know that your efforts can be recognized. You will be more likely to get more for what you produce, because the manager is part of the equation.
To be clear, it is helpful to have a view of your organization from the outside to avoid being blindsided. Otherwise, you may simply view things from your personal perspective, and then when you make a mistake, you're screwed.
To be honest, most entrepreneurs understand this. And sometimes they get involved in conflicts with the managers of the companies that they are doing business with.
I have seen many business owners end up getting into big trouble.
What's the solution?
Fortunately, there are some really effective ways to develop an entrepreneurial mindset. The first is to learn from the work of great entrepreneurs.
I remember reading an article about Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon. He was interviewed, and the writer, Brad Stone, asked Bezos what made him successful.
He replied, "Organizational culture," then he went on to detail how he hired people who were willing to go above and beyond. If you look around your company, you can find examples of people who are putting in long hours, taking on extra responsibilities, and who are willing to give the organization their best.
You can learn from people like this. A great entrepreneur will help you identify people who are taking initiative and thinking differently about the tasks.