- By Donna Douglas
They say that entrepreneurs don't do that well in school. Makes sense, I guess. Steven Spielberg (the world reknown movie producer) has his grade 5 report card sitting on his desk. His teacher's comment is a single line: this young man will amount to nothing.
That says it all, really.
So often, the entrepreneurial spirit gets in the way of the academic group activity heading in one direction to meet one goal. That spirit is frequently running the other way, just to see what's out there. Those with that spirit often don't comply satisfactorily. They ask a lot of questions. They see different ways to do things. They often cut corners because they see waste of time and effort. They try out new things. They make decisions quickly. They are creative enough to get out of the trouble that they get in by making decisions quickly. They can usually take any bad situation and turn it around. They learn. They get to be able to see things coming.
Entrepreneurs don't spend a ton of time blaming other people. They take the lesson, learn from it and move along very quickly. In fact, if they're successfully self employed long enough, they recognize that every 'mess' they get themselves into is likely going to turn into an opportunity if they just look for what's right about what's wrong.
People who are self employed are sometimes interested in other people. Sometimes they're so intensely involved in what they do that they don't deal with people so well. Sometimes they may seem abrupt but it's because they just cashed in their RRSPs to buy a piece of equipment for their business and they're hoping the investment pays off. They carry stress that the employed population doesn't have because they've made a dozen sales calls during the evenings all last week, working on their business activities all day in an effort to keep business activity continual.
Entrepreneurs live in a spirit of optimism. They balance an incredible load...running their businesses, investigating insurance plans and figuring out what they can afford, giving the best service they can and hoping to build a loyal customer base, learning about technology that lets them run their businesses and promote them effectively, keeping track of their financials so they can grab time to do their 'books', listening to the hopes of other, younger entrepreneurs as they reach out to give back.
When you pull into a parking lot and see somebody's business name on a truck... that's a risk-taking entrepreneur. When you pull into your driveway and see a lone flyer stuck in your door... that's a promoting entrepreneur. When the truck pulls a trailer up to the house three down from you and two people jump out and start lawn mowers... that's an entrepreneur making the great number of stops possible on a sunny day. They're all over our community, these entrepreneurs. Some of them get bigger and start hiring people and buying fancier equipment and kicking their whole business idea up a notch. Others stay in their little shop at the back of the house turning out wooden heirlooms or iron functions made to order. Whichever, they are the backbone of this community. They open the doors to stores all over town. They tutor our kids. They take our seniors to doctors appointments. They clean houses. They unplug toilets. They fit eavestroughs onto rooflines. On and on and on...
This is Small Business Week across Canada. This is the week of recognition of the economic engine which is so Canadian. If you are a small business person, call another small business person and congratulate him or her. You'll likely receive the same congratulations back. You are our economic fuel. You are the face of our working community. You are the risk takers. You are the idea launchers. Congratulations. And thanks!