You have your own business. Sales are growing and you have lots of ideas on where the business should grow next. So, are you an innovator or an entrepreneur?
The world is full of innovators. In the words of Nolan Bushnell, who founded both Atari, Inc., and Chuck E. Cheese, “Everyone who has ever taken a shower has had an idea. It’s the person who gets out of the shower, dries off and does something about it that makes a difference.”
Those people are entrepreneurs. They’re the people who make things happen. You see, it takes a lot to move a concept from the idea stage to a real, viable product or business. It takes focus. It takes diligence. It takes flexibility. It takes a willingness to persevere against obstacles, refusing to give up long after others would have become distracted or lost hope. That process requires a certain kind of personality. Not every innovator has what it takes, which is why many of the world’s greatest ideas remain just that. Ideas.
Entrepreneurs don’t always have the best ideas. It’s a big misconception among innovators that in order to be an entrepreneur, you have to have the very best idea out there. There are a ton of mediocre ideas that people have turned into real, live, operational and sometimes even profitable businesses. It really, really isn’t about who has the best idea, or who did the most market research or tested the best in a focus group. The only difference between an innovator and an entrepreneur is the wherewithal to continue marching forward long after everyone else has lost sight of the goal.
Entrepreneurs aren’t always original. Do you want to be an entrepreneur, but don’t have an idea? That’s okay! Just go find an innovator and offer to make their idea happen. Now, tread lightly here. Intellectual property is a real thing, and stealing other people’s protected business ideas, product plans or brand elements is against the law. That’s what trademarks and patents are for. But there’s a difference between exactly copying another entrepreneur’s business idea and creating something that solves the same problem in a different or better way. You’re not going to invent the wheel. It’s already been invented. But if you try, you might improve upon what other innovators have already done by turning your idea into action.
So, as an entrepreneur, stop worrying whether your idea is the best, or if there’s something else already out there that is similar. Just make it happen.
Entrepreneurs aren’t afraid of risk. But what if it doesn’t work? What if it’s too hard? What if we can’t break even? Yes, all of those things are possibilities. The unfortunate truth is that while you can endure many bumps in the road, the possibility does exist of reaching a deal-breaking, insurmountable challenge. That’s a reality that entrepreneurs have to face every day. The difference is that the kind of folks who make things happen are excited by those risks. They see potential risks as challenges, as adventures on the pathway to success. Instead of being held back by the risk of failure, they are motivated and inspired to try even harder.
Based on these definitions, are you an entrepreneur?
Source: Meredith Wood is the editor-in-chief at Fundera, an online marketplace for small business loans that matches business owners with the best funding providers for their business. Prior to Fundera, Wood was the CCO at Funding Gates. She is a resident finance advisor on American Express OPEN Forum and an avid business writer. Her advice consistently appears on such sites as Yahoo!, Fox Business, Amex OPEN, AllBusiness, and many more. She is also the senior financial and B2B correspondent for AlleyWire.