Business acumen, what is it and how do you know you have it?
In the end it’s all about stupidity
Are business owners or entrepreneurs born or made? Or rather, what does it take to become a business owner, Do you have business acumen? What does business acumen look like? How can you tell if you are a budding entrepreneur or not?
I find it a really interesting question, I’ve thought about it many times, especially since becoming a business coach, helping small business owners turn their dreams into reality. I have also written about the Entrepreneurial types here and I have created a survey to help you determine what type of entrepreneur you are.
To answer the question, we need to dispel one myth first of all, and that’s the myth that there is an “entrepreneurial type”. There may indeed be such a type, but it’s not just those types that become successful business owners. I think business owners are as varied in their types as there are people on the planet. Having said that, I do believe that there is one character trait that stands out as something unique to most entrepreneurs, and that’s this:
Business owners are people who cannot conceive of having their lives controlled by others.
For a business owner type, the idea of spending her entire working life having to report to others and being part of an organisation that does things, and takes directions that are outside of her control, fills him with dread.
Your most troublesome employee
I am certainly like that myself. I worked for a large organisation for 5 years in the early part of my working life, and found myself fighting the system every day. Having my boss, or his boss, or the bosses boss make a directive and being informed of such a directive and having to fall into line with the directive, whether or not I agreed with it, would simply make steam come out of my ears.
I was that employee you’d hate to have work for you.
And the thought that my days would be controlled like this for the rest of my life sent shivers down my spine. I was only 25 by the time I knew something had to change and I naively decided it was time to go out on my own. In hindsight, it’s a good thing that I was as naïve as I was. If I’d known then what I know now about becoming a small business owner, I might have held back and attempted to become a better adjusted and happier staff member instead. I say ‘a good thing’, because I am incredibly glad I made the step when I was young and stupid. I don’t regret anything about becoming a business owner and employer rather than an employee.
Standing in the centre of your life
I’ve loved standing in the centre of my life, knowing that I was equally responsible for anything bad that happened in my business (and my life) as well as for the successes. But it does get progressively harder and scarier to take the step to becoming an entrepreneur as you grow older.
People think that business owners are somehow braver than non-business owners, because they get out there and face the world on their own. I don’t think it’s courage so much; I don’t consider myself more courageous than the average person. Most people who start their own business, get to a point in their lives where they simply feel they can’t do anything else, they’re compelled. The mark of courage is not how fearless you are, rather it is in how you overcome your fears. I don’t remember feeling fear so much when I decided to become my own boss. I simply had to do this thing, there was no other option.
And hence, to answer the question: What is business acumen and what does it look like? Maybe the common characteristic of business owners is … Stupidity.
#StupidInBusiness #EntrepreneursAreBorn #FunInBusiness #BusinessAcumen
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