In the Sunday Times on Sunday 11th February, there was a interesting article entitled Are entrepreneurs born or made? Which talks about a theory put forward by Adrian Atkinson of Human Factors that entrepreneurs are born not made – no matter how much effort the individual puts in. To quote, “This theory that anyone can become an entrepreneur is absolute nonsense”.
Contentious stuff indeed. This may be applicable for lifestyle start-ups where you are going it alone, but I think it’s a real stretch to apply this to a start-up where real team effort is required – and looked for from VCs.
Yes, of course a focused, driven, visionary individual is always required to drive things forward, but to use a simplistic evaluation about whether you are prepared to mortgage your house and work seven days a week to evaluate whether you will make an entrepreneur is just not realistic – contributing characteristics yes.
Unless, you start a business before you get married, have children and sign up for a damn big mortgage just to get a roof over your head (or decide not bother with all these trivialities of life). Or you start later in life when the children have grown up (you can’t say “and left home” these days can you?).
Mind you, if you score low and believe what you are being told, then you are definitely not of an entrepreneurial bent. A real entrepreneur will shrug this off and get back to the job of making their venture successful no matter what – but this would mean you do have a good entrepreneurial attitude! You will only find out whether you are an entrepreneur or not BY DOING.
Anyway, if you want to find out whether you will be successful as an entrepreneur you can spend 5 minutes completing the following questionnaire or go to the web site and spending some money – www.humanfactors.co.uk/pep
How to see if you have what it takes
For each of the following five groups of statements choose the one that best describes what would be most Important to you when starting your business.
A Working with other like-minded individuals
B Making a big effort to get the company structure right
C Willing to work seven days a week
D Realising that technical excellence is the key to success
E Getting some qualifications before starting your business
F Only starting the business with all the finance in place
G Keeping your existing job until your business is established
H Seeing work as relaxation
I Making sure you have a social life as well
J Be willing to sell your house and car to start your business
K Taking your time to make all the important decisions
L Plan your exit strategy from the beginning
M Not selling more than the company can deliver
N Making sure the product is perfect before getting sales
O Be willing to fire people who perform badly
P Developing business plans to make strategic decisions
Q Always involving colleagues in decisions
R Only aiming for the highest quality
S Be willing to sacrifice family life to build the business
T Realising that all that matters in business is making money
Score 4 points each if you chose C, H, J, 0, S
Score 3 points each if you chose A, E, L, P, T
Score 2 points each if you chose B, F, K, M, Q
Score 1 point each if you chose D, G, I, N, R
To see your what your score means:
What it says about you
Depending on the statements you selected, if you have the appropriate personality, intellectual ability and values, then you are likely to be an Expert, Corporate, Enterpriser or Strongly Entrepreneurial wealth creator.
Score of 5 to 9: EXPERT
Not so attracted by personal risk or by commercial challenge. Sees value in getting processes right and focuses on achieving high-quality work. Prefers functional role using technical knowledge and expertise.
Score of 10 to 14: CORPORATE
Interested in developing a business within a structured context. Achieves this by energising groups in organisations. Willing to take business risks rather than personal risks. Looks for challenges in medium to large organisations.
Score of 15 to 18: ENTERPRISER
Seeks excitement from making things happen. Finds personal risk-taking exciting but prefers to share risks and rewards with others. Focuses energy on achieving goals but maintains reasonable work/leisure balance. Dislikes routine and constantly seeks challenges.
Score, of 19 to 20: STRONGLY Entrepreneurial
Enjoys starting own businesses and devotes all energy time to make things happen, often at the expense of family, possessions and reputation. Restless and often dissatisfied with what is achieved but very.resilient and able to pick up and start again. Sees work as relaxation.