Five (5) Characteristics of Entrepreneurial Drive

I counseled a small business owner last week and she kept stating that she realized she just needed more patience. She was so frustrated with her firm’s performance that she felt debilitated. She kept stating that she knew that with patience she would eventually achieve her goals. I countered that it will take a lot more than patience.

My Webster dictionary defines patience as enduring without complaint; tranquil waiting or expectation. I don’t like these definitions. My beef with the tranquil waiting without complaint or expectation is that it lacks energy. I do like Webster’s definition of patience as endurance and perseverance. It takes discipline, consistency, perseverance, endurance, and motivation.

1. Discipline – entrepreneurs have to have the discipline to make sales calls, market the business, and get the customers’ work done on a daily basis. Do you think your daily behavior is disciplined?

2. Consistency – business owners have to develop routines and business systems that they execute consistently. Attending to customers, sales, and marketing must be consistently carried out every day. Do you try things once or for a short period of time and quit when there’s no immediate reward?

3. Perseverance – Webster defines this as the ability to persist despite difficulties. When you hit a road block, you find a way to go under, over, or around it. Webster also defines this as having a high sense of holding on to a worthy course against all difficulty, opposition, or hindrances. Do you persevere or do you cave in?

4. Endurance – Endurance requires energy. It helps to be in good physical and mental shape. It helps to be around energetic people. I recently distanced myself from a friend because he is incredibly lethargic and negative. His negative energy drained my positive energy and left me feeling depleted. His disinterest in doing anything more than being a couch potato unnerved me. I recently talked to a guy who said he did not understand why folks felt they needed to be surrounded by like minded individuals. Well, for me, at the very least, being like minded means having matched ambition and drive. What is your level of endurance?

5. Motivation – I think that many entrepreneurs know what they need to do to achieve the goals they want to achieve. However, many do not work on it because they lack motivation. There has to be something there to motivate small business owners to work as hard (and hopefully as smart) as we do.

Many years ago, I completed a Certified Public Manager training program. We studied Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs in our introduction to motivation theory. We learned that people are motivated to get work done so as to satisfy needs. So, business owners need to not only reflect on their own unsatisfied needs but also the needs of other people they rely on to get work done through. The Maslow hierarchy of needs ranges from a pyramid’s base physiological needs (air, food, water, sleep, sex); to safety and security; to social friendship and belonging; to self-esteem, respect, and recognition; to the pyramid’s peak, complex self-actualization needs (challenges, creativity, growth, achievement, advancement).

According to Maslow, a person advances to the next level of the hierarchy only when lower needs are minimally satisfied. Take a moment to self-reflect. What are your unsatisfied needs? How can working on your business satisfy your needs?

One of my favorite woman owned small business advocates is Nell Merlino, founder of the Count Me In program and Make Mine a Million (M3) race. She teaches that women business owners need to save themselves. In Nell’s book, Stepping out of Line, she advocates that it helps to create a whirl of activity around us similar to a political campaign. Patiently and tranquilly lying in wait for your season or your day to come is not going to get it done. Actively working on our shortcomings and unsatisfied needs just might get it done!

By Clovia Hamilton, President, Lemongrass Consulting, Inc.
Clovia founded Lemongrass Consulting in 2005 with nearly 30 years of government work experience and serves as a procurement counselor in the Georgia Tech Procurement Assistance Center (GTPAC). Lemongrass Consulting provides strategic planning solutions including government contracting strategic marketing plans, intellectual property, social media marketing strategic plans, and other services. Contact Clovia at:
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