What Sustains Entrepreneurship? Entrepreneurship Series Part 6

Kudzanai Vere
9 Min Read

Entrepreneurship, by design, is loosely connected to “The event of starting something of your own”. While this is true, the event is just about 25% of the real journey. It’s just the start, a lot goes into actually making the entrepreneurial journey work – Dinesh Rohira Founder & CEO, 5nance.com

What Sustains Entrepreneurship?

1. Authentic Purpose

Piecing through Rohira’s sentiments, you quickly come to the conclusion that that is why many so-called entrepreneurs fail to grow beyond what the eye can see.

Let me be more factual and realistic here, the motive behind starting that business of yours determines how far you will go. I have noted in Zimbabwe that almost everyone started something they are calling their business. Is that entrepreneurship?

There is a difference between being self-employed and being an entrepreneur, though most entrepreneurs are self-employed.

Here is the distinction with practical examples. In being self-employed, the major factor that’s distinguishing you from that employee is the salary, which you now hand down to yourself after 25 – 30 days. Most self-employed people are not worried about sustainability. They can just jump into another venture that’s in the money at that particular time. The driver is money to replace the forgone salary. This is nowhere near entrepreneurship and is not sustainable.

Real entrepreneurs are known for purposefully, passionately and uniquely pursuing their life purpose fronted by the need to solve societal challenges and in the end make money.

“Newly found hobby! Very relaxing…Pen fattening and Breeding…” taken from Langton Mabhanga’s Facebook page. He’s describing his pen fattening and breeding project on his 2-hectare model. You should be so passionate about it for it to be sustainable.

Real entrepreneurs tap into opportunities that avail themselves in the marketplace with the core purpose of providing a unique solution to a challenge.

It is the genuine purpose of a company that becomes its “unique selling proposition,” or USP.

2. Values (Personal, Professional & Social)

Entrepreneurship is not a values-free, amoral process.

The very act of starting and building something of significance should require consideration of values, of combining what is done with how it is done.

Values are basic and fundamental beliefs that guide or motivate attitudes or actions. They help us to determine what is important to us. Most entrepreneurs fail to adhere to their values and as such, they will not last in the trenches.

Personal Values

Simply put, one needs to be a good human being before one can be a good entrepreneur.

Personal values that an entrepreneur needs are attributes such as honesty, passion, determination, and confidence. No one likes to do business with people who are arrogant, selfish, dismissive and egotistic. 

Any business venture is a reflection of the entrepreneur’s personal values, attitudes, and beliefs. And if you are working on having a great personality, it is certainly going to help your business to thrive.

Professional Values

Ethics in the business world is the domain of professional values. While personal values reflect on the entrepreneurs’ personality traits, professional values correspond to their abilities to conduct themselves in the business environment. What matters is healthy competition, self-determined work environments and also doing the right thing by adhering to law and order.

Especially in places that are heavily influenced by corruption and deceit, it is very important that one’s professional values reflect one’s own business measures in accepting or rejecting such undertakings.

Professional values guide an entrepreneur towards being a great team leader. It is important that employees are provided with opportunities to grow and to have the support to also fulfill their personal and social responsibilities towards their families and friends.

It is also important to think of potential customers or business partners as part of your company. What matters is to create win/win situations. If you celebrate achievements, you should include them because they were part of the journey. It is also important to equally fulfill the expectations of your customers and to provide vendors with the required resources in order to remain part of your journey in the future as well.

Social Values

Successful entrepreneurs must also adhere to social values and give back to or shape society. Businesspersons who look beyond business life possess great social values. As their businesses develop, it creates value for society as a whole.

There are generally two ways of creating a high social value through your business. The first way is to create products or services that benefit society and provide solutions to problems that otherwise cannot be solved. The second way is to invest more money into corporate social responsibility (CSR) by supporting a social cause that one believes in.

Doing a great service for society in whatever way possible will most certainly have ripple effects on one’s reputation. When the business is portrayed as responsible by looking towards the needs of society, it is easier to get everyone’s attention, new potential customers, a positive image and brand. The result? Success!

3. Singular Focus

“I don’t care how much power, brilliance or energy you have, if you don’t harness it and focus it on a specific target, and hold it there you’re never going to accomplish as much as your ability warrants.”

Zig Ziglar

It is not bad to diversify, but a number who have tried it ended up losing focus. Entrepreneurship is not a walk in the park. It calls for great attraction as challenges evolve around your business axis on a minute by minute basis and you need to be alert to these.

4. Hard work

A dream does not become reality through magic; it takes sweat, determination, and hard work. Colin Powell, former U.S. Defense Secretary

It remains undone until you do it. In order to succeed, there is a time when you have to put on the overalls and get into the trenches doing the digging.

Someone asked me this question, “Do you really get time to rest?” My response was, “yes I do” but the Bible in John 9:4 says I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work. And I must work hard.

In entrepreneurship, the effort that you put is directly proportional to the rewards you get.

Sustainability comes when you put that extra effort in your working hard. Elon Musk, entrepreneur, advised that no matter how hard you work, someone else is working harder. 

5. Network

In our global, networked economy, you can’t allow your social capital to lie dormant. Porter Gale 

It stands true that your network determines your net-worth. You need to connect at whatever cost for you to succeed at a personal and business level.

You’re good but you can be better through networking.

The solution to your challenges is two-three people away from you so you need to get your people to factor right

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