Entrepreneurship is raw, it’s uncluttered and brings with it new ways of thinking…it doesn’t have to be revolutionary, it challenges the status quo, pushes the boundaries and it is the lifeblood of the global economy powering businesses at all stages and creating jobs.
The importance of entrepreneurship cannot be understated.
Think about where we are with regard to the global economy right now…household names have disappeared from our lives, with many companies struggling to compete in an economy where technology has leveled the playing field and provided everyone with a chance to provide better, cheaper and faster.
Entrepreneurship is not just for the innovative start-up companies however, it’s for the world’s largest organizations who need to ensure they remain competitive in a shrinking world.
It’s for individuals who want to develop new ways of thinking and to break through barriers.
Entrepreneurship is important for everyone.
I’m passionate about entrepreneurship and even more so about entrepreneurial thinking.
Getting my own children to think “outside of the box,” or to ask them to think creatively to solve challenging problems, are skills they can use for the rest of their lives and if I had my way, entrepreneurship would be taught in schools at the earliest opportunity.
Entrepreneurship provides the innovation for new technology, it also provides the framework for that technology to be widely used and adopted and the thinking that comes with it gives people the chance to find a sense of freedom from within.
I’ve been an entrepreneur since the age of nineteen and am now fifty-six — I have a constant start-up mentality, am always looking to find better ways of doing things and I love helping entrepreneurs and igniting the spark to develop an entrepreneurial way of thinking.
What is entrepreneurship
So what exactly is entrepreneurship?
I am going to give my own definition here:
“Entrepreneurship is taking the raw, instinctive qualities you were born with and then applying them into a field.”
— Neil Franklin.
For me, it is much better than the traditional business definition that talks about taking risks by starting a business and generating profits.
Here is one such definition.
It is a philosophy and it is not just confined to the world of business…it can be applied to anything.
If you take say starting a business, you may immediately think of the word “entrepreneur,” but many people start companies who are not entrepreneurs.
As a business coach and mentor, I have seen a wide range of businesses, from all over the world, where the owners are not entrepreneurs — they are businessmen and there is a huge difference.
Businessmen, in my definition at least, run companies and they may have started them after a career in a specific field and they may have acquired a business education along the way.
Entrepreneurs are more likely to be instinctive, generate ideas, and find revolutionary ways to do things and some of them are not “businessmen” in the true sense of the word…but they are fast learners and in my case, learn from my mistakes.
I believe that we are born with the qualities of entrepreneurship and it is simply a matter of applying them.
Qualities such as:
I believe it is these qualities that provide the foundation of entrepreneurship and for some of us, we remain connected to them throughout our lives, but for many, we lose touch.
Where do entrepreneurship opportunities begin
I will be specific here and in relation to my own experiences.
I was a shy schoolboy, who failed academically — I look back at my life and through some of the photos of my early life, plus listen to the stories of my friends and family who tell me what I used to get up to at the age of 3!
I couldn’t believe how much confidence I portrayed to the outside world because, by the time I was around ten, I had, in my own mind, lost it all.
Now, my parents divorced when I was 7 and that was uncommon in the UK at the time and subsequently, I was raised by my grandparents, while my mother went out to work.
It must have had an impact on my life, but it is impossible to quantify.
When I was seventeen, I started to learn martial arts, which then gave me the confidence I was longing for, and all of a sudden, I was expressing it in competing.
I then started to channel that confidence into other aspects of my life and by the age of nineteen, I had started my first business in the field of direct marketing, helping companies sell home improvements by calling homeowners door-to-door in the evenings.
I had already taken a job doing the same while I was at college and to earn some extra cash, but now it became a business in its own right.
Just before launching, I started to research the local business directory to see what companies placed the biggest advertisements — I figured that the ones with the largest ads had the most money and in one day became a motorcycle courier, lawyer, dentist and a host of other professions that I was totally unqualified for.
So I stuck with direct marketing.
I went through a few successes and failures in my early entrepreneurial career before starting my main global technology staffing business from my living room in South London.
The entrepreneurial opportunities will come into your life at various times and it is a process, like anything else.
When you start to question things, you start the ball rolling, then you start to find the answers in your own mind, which is like putting gasoline on a spark…then it becomes an inferno!
I cannot go into a restaurant, bar or hotel, without thinking about how I could make it better…or any business for that matter.
It’s a way of life, powered by a certain way of thinking, that stays with you for life!
But I do find that most of my thoughts and ideas come when I am relaxed — stress for me is the nullifier of ideas and no matter how big the problem or challenge is, I need to stop thinking about it to let the creativity flow, followed by the ideas.
Entrepreneurship for all
As I have talked about in the opening part of this article, entrepreneurship is not confined to the world of business and it is a quality that larger corporations are starting to understand and value to ensure they stay ahead of the curve in these volatile and uncertain times.
And, as I also said — if I had my way it would be taught in schools and from a very young age.
Our children are the foundation for everything and they suck up knowledge like a dry sponge in a bath!
Take creativity as one quality — it is one of the hallmarks of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial thinking.
It is essential for children to learn numeracy, written and verbal communication skills…and subjects like the sciences, history, psychology, but creativity lies deep within those subjects — even the more rigid ones such as the sciences.
Over the years I have worked with many engineers, mathematicians, and IT professionals.
You would not think that the qualities of entrepreneurship and creativity, as we are talking about here would be necessary, but they are essential.
Many CEOs and business leaders do not understand the intricacies of artificial intelligence (AI) for example and some of the best AI experts are not good at articulating what they do and in layman’s terms.
By embracing some of the qualities of entrepreneurship, highly technical people will be able to more clearly explain and articulate the benefits of what they do.
I have actually taught a few highly technical people how to sell, which of course is another key component of entrepreneurship and it is easy to teach, once you have established the connection between those same entrepreneurial qualities I have explained that you are born with.
You can see the look of amazement in the faces of engineers when you explain to them how to think creatively in areas such as:
- Selling themselves
- Articulating the benefit of what they do to their industry
- Developing better relationships with non-engineering personnel in their own organizations
- Selling to customers
You simply have to be able to help them build confidence and to re-connect them with the qualities they were born with.
I do the same with graduates when it comes down to landing that all-important first job interview and I also help senior executives to be more entrepreneurial in their approach to solving problems and making decisions.
And let’s not forget the more traditional entrepreneur and the one that seems to make all of the definitions.
I hope you can see how entrepreneurship is important to everyone and to also move away from the traditional definition of limiting entrepreneurship to business.
Entrepreneurship and more importantly to me, entrepreneurial thinking are vital qualities that everyone can learn to apply to their lives in general.
Please help me share the importance of entrepreneurship by sharing this article and spreading the word.
If you feel I have missed some points, or simply want to discuss any aspects of entrepreneurship, then please get in touch with me:
Last modified: September 8, 2020