This is the third in a series of articles where we take a look at how entrepreneurs grow and adapt from early mistakes to big success
The Expert Entrepreneur
Fast forward a bit of time (probably 10 years or more), and the Builder has become something of an expert. This level of entrepreneur has hit his stride, and he has a map that shows where a lot of the land mines are hidden. He has developed a kind of x-ray vision that seems to keep him out of trouble more often than not. He has learned to ask the right questions of himself and of those around him. He is on his way to making a success of it all, but he does not take success for granted. He knows that there are things beyond his knowledge and control, but he is prepared for that and embraces it as part of the game. Expert entrepreneurs are very confident, and they usually have a basket of projects that they are evaluating at any given time. They have learned that their networks are important, and they are engaged with many more and different types of people than the less-experienced entrepreneurs they hung out with in the past.
The expert has seen a lot and overcome many obstacles. Whereas at the beginning he may have thought that ideas were the most important aspect of his work, and later likely concluded that persistence was important, he has moved beyond both and come to understand that experience is his greatest asset. Experience allows him to avoid problems and to recognize opportunity. The structural contours of business are becoming visible to him, and he has great confidence in flexing his entrepreneurial muscles and demonstrating his capabilities.
Flexibility is also a very common survival characteristic of Expert Entrepreneurs. Folks that are rigid and try to assert their view of how the market should respond to their products and messaging usually don’t last long enough to carry their business a decade or more down the line, so most seasoned business builders become more flexible and less rigid over time.
Another common characteristic of seasoned expert entrepreneurs is that they have often had a “Win” or two behind them. But they are probably not satisfied in the way that they thought that they would be when they were getting started. Selling a business or hitting a home run feels great, but it is surprising how fast you get over the thrill and need to get back into the race to do something bigger or better as your next project.
Where you may have imagined as a beginner that building a company and selling it would be the big goal, it turns out for most people that this is just a starting or intermediate point. The proposition of sitting on a beach in a hammock and relaxing with a Mai Tai in hand for any more than a few days doesn’t usually work for the type of person that went through the process of building a business and selling it successfully.
● Often believe that experience is the entrepreneur’s most valuable asset.
● Know that problems arise but instinctively avoid many of them through strategic thinking.
● Know that nothing in their plans is above being changed. They are prepared to change radically (or abandon) a project if needed.
● Recognize that the world is very complex, and that they don’t have all the answers.
● If they have had a Big Win, they probably believe that the next Big Win will be the reward.
Read the previous articles in this series:
Entrepreneurship’s Foolish Beginnings.
Beyond Foolishness, The Business Builder
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