Not everyone understands what's behind entrepreneurship

Who still understands the entrepreneur ?

Everyone seems to understand the entrepreneur nowadays. All kinds of agencies promote entrepreneurship, more and more consultants rise up and all seem to have the official certification in guiding entrepreneurs and businesses. Few have ever attempted starting their own business, few understand the emotional life concealed behind entrepreneurship. All of them however have worked out procedures and methodologies.

Recently I observed a group of entrepreneurs at a convention getting enormously annoyed at consultants offering their services. It’s not the first time that I see an entrepreneur in such an environment stand up from his chair to confront the speaker with what entrepreneurship is in reality. Time after time I hear offended entrepreneurs complain about the incomprehension of their actual challenges.

Don’t get the wrong idea, entrepreneurs do get value from specific services and procedures, and at the same time they are fed up with people wanting to guide them who have never experienced what it really is to be an entrepreneur. They might know what entrepreneurship is, but they will never fully understand because they did not experience the day-to-day process of being an entrepreneur themselves.

Entrepreneurship is no exact science

The essence of a starting entrepreneur exist of 20% technocracy and 80% emotion and passion. The starting and growing entrepreneur deals with insecurities and doubts on a daily basis, with as their only true root a trust and belief that there are opportunities out there for their idea. This root is what they carry in themselves, and makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur. 

The starting entrepreneur wants to bring to life his very own essence and wants to become a visionary in his own domain. He thinks and acts faster than his shadow but wants to see his plans implemented in the correct way. He wants the structure to follow, to model itself in function of his aims. These aims tend to alter sometimes, exactly because the entrepreneur adapts flexibly to the changing situations within the market. The entrepreneur works with his own financial means, this as well is emotion.

The more the entrepreneur self-realises his ideas as he grows, the more emotion and technocracy will find a balance. But keep in mind that imperfection drives creativity and that the entrepreneur will always operate from a high level of emotion.

The entrepreneur who starts to ponder about slowing down contemplates on his successors and often needs to face emotional decisions towards his family.

These are only a couple of examples that convey the constant emotional engagement that is an inherent part of what’s behind entrepreneurship - in whichever phase the entrepreneur may find himself.

I ask you: which advisor who never was an entrepreneur himself can sincerely say he fully understands these feelings, what kind of advice takes into account the emotional life behind entrepreneurship?

Help is not what an entrepreneur is looking for

Entrepreneurs have a deep need of the empathy of two kinds of entrepreneurial people. Firstly, in his business the entrepreneur looks for co-entrepreneurs, starting with a co-entrepreneurial manager who knows how to adapt the structure of the business to changing aims based on the vision of the entrepreneur. Second, some entrepreneurs need an external source of inspiration that supports them in their feeling for opportunity and at the same time senses where the risk lies.  

These are advisors that have taken on the entrepreneurial life themselves in the past, they have known their personal ups and downs, they carry their past with honour and made their prior entrepreneurial undertakings a conscious experience that allows them to get in an empathic conversation with the entrepreneur whom they guide.

These advisors fully perceive that entrepreneurs do not look for help, they look for understanding. These advisors also have a shared mission: the multiplication, the strengthening and ultimately the rooting of entrepreneurship.

Olivier Goetgeluck