We're now 7 Entrepreneurs… Said our MD just before launch.
Ok so we’re not all classic entrepreneurs, I don’t believe you can just decide you’re going to be one. Entrepreneurs often have certain personality traits, different ways of looking at situations, and a built in drive/craving to develop something new or see an opportunity and run with it. This is very well described by Chris Oakley OBE:
"An entrepreneur sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognise, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business. They have unquenchable self-belief that this opportunity can be made real through hard work, commitment and the adaptability to learn the lessons of the market along the way.
They are not diverted or discouraged by skepticism from 'experts' or from those from whom they seek backing and support, but willing to weigh all advice and select that which will be helpful. They are prepared not just to work seriously hard but to back their judgment with personal investment at a level which will cause problems if they are wrong about the opportunity. They understand that achievements are the result of teamwork and knows how to choose the necessary blend of talents and inspire them with their vision."
The above, I am proud to say, sounds just like our CEO and MD.
Although I don’t think you can ‘become’ an entrepreneur, I think you can change your mindset and approach things differently; you can build self belief, look for opportunities, be brave, personally invest and surround yourself by the best people.
Startups need a team of only the best people, and all those people are responsible for making it work. If you’re part of a startup and you only have your one role, you’re not in the right business!
That’s how we are here, everyone wears several hats! No one is just a ‘developer’ or ‘designer’ or ‘product manager’; everyone has an entrepreneur mindset. Everyone is a marketer, brand ambassador and product manager. Having a core skill set that you focus on is important, but these other things ... you don’t chose to do them, they just happen. You can’t help but tell someone you bump into what you do and how it might benefit them (or someone they know). You’re proud, excited, dying to share it with the world!
With this passion, you’ll take on these other roles without realising. You’ll spend your evenings and weekends looking at the stats of the business, wondering what could be improved, what is the gap in the market which you could fill, what is that one thing that’s going to make your customers go ‘yes! that’s what i’ve been looking for’.
As the Operations Director.. I like process, I hate change, I think way too much about every decision that is made, and naturally approach everything with a ‘what if’ pessimistic outlook. Whilst this will always be a part of me and provides a good balance with other roles, I am changing how I approach situations, and love it.
I am buzzing about what Kong could be for our customers, and don’t want my ‘processy pessimistic’ approach to get in the way of seeing opportunities and creating something awesome, with a quick pace.
I am now making bold decisions .. and I am comfortable with the fact that some will be wrong. I have an amazing team around me which means we can react to things quickly and learn from experiences.
I am excited to think that I could be one of those people I’ve always looked up to that can see opportunities, come up with ideas and drive things forward. After all I’ve always been incredibly determined and love a challenge.
Different personalities and skill sets are crucial to a great company, but whether we like it or not we’re now all entrepreneurs too. How can you launch a startup and not be?