Friday, 2 December 2011

Entrepreneur: Crazy or Genius?

Dear Entrepreneur, society has been trained to think you are crazy. 

Because of the risks involved in entrepreneurship, most of your family, friends and other people around you are going to think you are crazy. They may not say it to your face, but they will probably be thinking it inside. They have seen the stats, they have heard the horror stories and the failures. They will dwell on those negative thoughts out of concern for you. What they will fail to realize is that every bit of shopping they do and every service they use is a success story. They will not be able to visualize what you do and will have trouble seeing you as one of the successes. You know differently though and must look past their doubt so that you can build your dream into a reality and prove them wrong.

The funny thing is, when you succeed, society will suddenly think you are a genius!
Then they will be coming to you asking how you did it. Asking if you could help them do the same.

My entrepreneurial hero is Sir Richard Branson, the owner of the Virgin group of companies with over 400 companies under his private umbrella. He left school when he was 16 years old as he was having trouble with his studies due to dyslexia. He tried selling Christmas trees and budgies with no success. Then he started a newspaper for students. This found great success and he expanded, bringing a small staff into a crypt to use as an office. Once the paper seemed to be maxing out their circulation, he started selling records by mail order on the side, using his own paper to advertise. From there, Virgin records was born. Over the years he branched into retail record stores, soft drinks, airlines, television, radio, financial services, cellular communications and even space travel! The thing that I love the most is that he did not venture into these ventures because he understood them. He entered them because he saw a need and wanted to fill it for the consumer. He had the vision and then surrounded himself with people with the technical know how. He then motivated them and managed then to a mutual success. He is no were near finished either. I am always excited to hear of his next idea.

I am sure Mr. Branson had his share of people telling him he was insane (he probably still hears it from time to time) but is now seen by most as an absolute business genius.

Don't let it bother you that people think you are crazy for wanting to build your own business. Listen to constructive criticism but dismiss those that just write off entrepreneurship as a whole. They think you are crazy now, but wait until they see you 5 years from now. They will marvel at what you have built.

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