The Chinese Zodiac does not have a sign for it, but this week marks the start of the “Year of the Entrepreneur” at ProActive Communications.

At the recent ProActive Communications Leadership Training Week guest speaker Rick “Doc” Walker, the former Super Bowl Champion of the Washington Redskins, remarked that an entrepreneur can be described as one who risks his capital for a dream.

While you may or may not have financial capital at stake in your venture, you no doubt have your career or your credibility on the line in your main ventures, which brings to mind some key questions at the start of the Year of the Entrepreneur:

  • What are your dreams, professional or otherwise?
  • What kind of capital are you willing to risk to achieve your dreams, such as time, energy, and creativity beyond what are expected?
  • How do you define success in a more entrepreneurial environment, individually and within your business unit?

In an article at entrepreneur.com titled, “The Role of the Entrepreneur,” writer Brian Tracy effectively defines the meaning of an entrepreneur as follows:

“Entrepreneurs seek disequilibrium – a gap between the wants and needs of customers and the products and services that are currently available.

Entrepreneurs are optimistic and future oriented; they believe that success is possible and are willing to risk their resources in the pursuit of profit. They’re fast moving, willing to try many different strategies to achieve their goals of profits. And they’re flexible, willing to change quickly when they get new information.

Entrepreneurs are skilled at selling against the competition by creating perceptions of difference and uniqueness in their products and services. They continually seek out customer needs that the competition is not satisfying and find ways to offer their products and services in such a way that what they’re offering is more attractive than anything else available.”

Tracy goes on to recommend key steps in developing an entrepreneurial business:

1.       “Identify the steps you could take immediately to operate your business more efficiently, especially regarding internal operating systems.

2.       Tell yourself continually “Failure is not an option.” Be willing to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks if necessary to build your business.

3.       Use your creativity rather than your money to find new, better, cheaper ways to sell your products or reduce your costs of operation. What could you do immediately in one or both of these areas?

4.       Imagine starting over. Is there anything you’re doing today that, knowing what you now know, you wouldn’t get into or start up again?

Imagine reinventing your business. If your business burned to the ground today, and you had to start over, what would you not get into again? What would you do differently?”

Many of these themes are familiar because they reflect our core principles at ProActive Communications.

Ironically, Brian Tracy wrote this article on the role of the entrepreneur before our current economic recession. His points of guidance are actually more relevant today. This is the perfect time to make strategic investments so that we are poised to increasingly add value for our clients, and leap ahead of the competition when the economic recovery begins to take hold sometime in the next year or two.

So what investments and risks are you going to make starting today to best capitalize on the Year of the Entrepreneur?

Read the full article of “The Role of the Entrepreneur”.