These three qualities are equally valuable and important in relation to any level of research. This is an extract from my 2008 book, One Man Show – the smallest of small business. This book, now available free, features my and Shakespeare’s experiences as sole operators. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested.
In their book The Innovation Formula – how organisations turn change into opportunity (published in 1988 by Ballinger Publishing Company), Michael Robert and Alan Weiss state that entrepreneurs are often viewed as ‘business swashbucklers who catapult new ideas into public prominence while they storm the walls of the establishment‘.
However with the benefit and wisdom of 20 years of research, these authors present a very different picture with their descriptive yet prescriptive statement that they found ‘true entrepreneurs aren’t pirates, but disciplined sailors who anticipate the winds and tides of change’.
In their book The Entrepreneur, (second edition published in 2003 by John Wiley and Son (Asia) Pte Ltd) William E Heinecke with Jonathan March present 25 Golden Rules. Here are some of them, with my own comments in italics:
- Find a vacuum and fill it – find a gap in the market, and create or adapt a product or service to fill it: if possible, be first in the market.
- Do your homework – know and understand your product or service, your market, your competition and your customers.
- Set goals (but go easy on the ‘vision’ thing) – set short-term achievable goals – which means being achievable within six months.
- Trust your intuition – but don’t overlook the facts or evidence.
- Learn to sell – identify, promote and sell both the features and benefits.
- Embrace change as a way of life – but not change for change sake – or change that is not accompanied or followed by consolidation.
- Develop your contacts – you’ll probably join anything and everything at the start of your One Man Show and then become selective as you become clearer about your product or service and busier in your business. You’ll then be able to set clear priorities for the use of your time.
- Use your time wisely – the traditional criteria for allocating time are (1) urgency, (2) importance, and (3) relevance: each criterion has a triple ranking of high, medium and low. For example, if a call – or opportunity – for your time earns a high ranking in all three criteria, it becomes a high priority. Don’t forget to allocate appropriate time for your private and personal use.
- Don’t put up with mediocrity – the best test for mediocrity is when the minimum becomes the maximum, when performance only meets the minimum requirement. For example, look for suppliers who treat you as a valued customer or client, and are able and willing to add value to your One Man Show. If mediocrity appears in your relationship with that supplier, you can invite that supplier to address the drop in performance: if this doesn’t bring the desired improvement, call for three quotes for this service and invite him/her to be one of the three. Competition is a great motivator!
- Chase quality, not dollars – but be aware that you cannot produce and ensure quality with insufficient dollars.
- Act quickly in a crisis – a crisis management strategy is featured on page 44 of One Man Show.
- You won’t be committed if you’re not having fun – enjoy and be passionate about your One Man Show – and about yourself and your whole life.
Entrepreneurs use the principles and practices of innovation as a basis for entrepreneurial activity.
My trusty Dictionary defines innovation as ‘something newly introduced, such as a new method or device: inventing or beginning to apply methods or ideas: renewing or creating something new from what already exists’.
A common myth about innovation is that innovation is only about new ‘things’. Innovation can also be about improving, changing – or even doing away with – existing ‘things’.
Entrepreneurs are people, not organisations. Entrepreneurship is a personal characteristic or quality, not an organisational function. There is no such thing as an entrepreneurial organisation. Why? Because an organisation is an intangible entity. You cannot touch ‘an organisation’. An organisation of any kind is simply a group of individuals – and the people within that group can change, as can the level of interest in and commitment to entrepreneurship.
A One Man Show – by its very nature is an entrepreneurial business – can be adversely affected if the person loses or ceases to embrace innovation.
Businesses don’t make plans or decisions: people do. If you are attempting to influence, guide, change or control a business, your target is the people who govern, manage or operate that business.
If there are people within a business who grasp or create the opportunity for innovation, they – through their personal characteristics and qualities – confirm the entrepreneurial character of that business.
As a One Man Show, you will govern, manage and operate your business – and the entrepreneurial character of your business will depend on you.
There is a process of creativity, and it’s possible for any person to be creative.
Some of us create conceptually: others technically. Some create easily: others with effort. Some create visually – dreaming dreams and seeing visions: others through research – digging into facts, gathering opinions or examples, examining case studies, and comparing statistics.
It’s possible – and highly desirable – to schedule creativity into your work schedule, in the same way that you schedule ‘paying accounts’ into your work schedule. To do so, requires an understanding of the process of creativity.
The one essential ingredient for creativity is emotion.
Think of the many thousands of thoughts that come into your mind each day- most of which simply pass on into your subconscious or out into the ether. Thoughts can flow from many sources, including events, observations, conversations, dreams, reading or experiences.
The thoughts that connect with your emotions are those you will keep in your conscious mind to work with in some way. The connecting emotion can be positive, negative, or somewhere in between.
The essential ingredient for creativity is the connection between thought and emotion. There is no more powerful force than this. You can become excited, angry, concerned, interested, confused, desperate, traumatised, fulfilled, exhilarated in an instant response to a thought – what you are experiencing is the triggering of a creative response.
If you simply allow your emotional response to dominate your thinking, the opportunity for creativity may pass. But if you respond intellectually to the emotional response, you are on your way to creativity. It’s then a matter of allowing your natural creative style to lead further thoughts along this tangent to develop into a concept plan, and then with more work into a project plan.
Two wonderful quotes from Victor Hugo:
- There is nothing as powerful as an idea whose time has come
- A stand may be made against the invasion of an army; no stand can be made against invasion by an idea