You know the feeling when the whole world has let you down. Isn’t that what we are experiencing right now? To get you in the right frame of mind, let me ask you this: What would you do if you were at the beginning stage of an enormous snowstorm that showed no signs up letting up? Surely, to get ahead of it, you’d grab a shovel and start shoveling or jump in your car to buy the last snow blower on the floor. Well, in our current economic mess, the solution is right in front of us, too. Hire the best and brightest entrepreneurs (yes – that’s us!), and put them to work! Who else is going to try something new that will shake us out of these tiresome doldrums? Here are ten things entrepreneurs can do that make them smart power resources.
1. Diagnose and fix the problem. It will take a whole slew of entrepreneurs to see what nobody else sees, do what nobody else can do and act on a sustainable global solution. An entrepreneur knows how to bring good ideas to life and turn them into viable enterprises. They also know that to treat a crisis, you have to identify it first and then offer plenty of options. For entrepreneurs, those options are only as limited as their imaginations.
2. Fix problems of any size. For the entrepreneur, no job is too large or too small. Besides, it’s not the problem that is worth tackling, it’s the challenge, which empowers an entrepreneur to do something, anything, to mitigate the problem.
3. Give you accurate and timely results. Entrepreneurs are known for taking baby steps (and jumping leaps and bounds too, if required to get a job done), tracking progress, reporting results and tweaking a plan as they go.
4. Help you control expenses. How many entrepreneurs have started a business on a shoestring? Raise your hands. Mine’s up. An entrepreneur knows that every penny counts even after sales and profits roll in — or don’t roll in, whatever the case may be. Many entrepreneurs track monthly sales and gross margins by hand until they get a feel for the health of an organization. Once you’ve been in a “How do I pay my people?” position, you never forget or go there again without involving the people.
5. Achieve results. Where there is a will, there is a way. There is no greater will than that of an entrepreneur’s spirit. But before an entrepreneur can achieve results, he or she must take financial responsibility for an idea and morph it into something we hadn’t envisioned. Think Sam Walton. Steve Jobs. Thomas Edison. A good example of this is in The Wall Street Journal article, "Entrepreneurs Can Lead Us Out of the Crisis".
6. Reach a whole new level of work ethic. A product, service or whole new business launch, for example, is not complete to an entrepreneur unless, in the process, ideas continue to spread, profits are made, jobs are created and there’s a great feeling of, “We’ve changed the world!” Nobody knows this eureka notion better than the Kauffman Foundation, often referred to as the world’s largest foundation devoted to entrepreneurship.
7. Take action until it’s right. We don’t want bureaucratic inaction. We want smart small-company or entrepreneurial action. Never underestimate the vast creativity and importance of the entrepreneur. It’s not so much the size of the operation that matters; it’s the ability to turn ideas into viable enterprises or turn problems into marketable opportunities.
8. Assume significant accountability for the inherent risks and outcome. Think the employees at Enron or WorldCom thought this way? Had each of them thought it was “my” business instead of “theirs,” things might have turned out quite differently. For entrepreneurs, there are no excuses, just results. Entrepreneurs don’t let excuses or distractions get in the way. If they screw up, they take the blame and talk next about how to make it right.
9. Focus on value-add and value-creation. Call it what you may – vision drive, passion – but entrepreneurs have what it takes to formulate a unique selling proposition that no one else can duplicate. They are experts at this and clearly let nothing get in their way of keeping the value chain clean and clear.
10. Look at crisis as an opportunity. The Chinese word for crisis shares a character with that for opportunity. Have you ever known an entrepreneur that did not look at a crisis as an enormous opportunity?
In that spirit, let’s collectively take charge of our future. Hire that smart power resource called an entrepreneur, and let’s start celebrating our successes.