Blog 8; Entrepreneurial Journey
Yes, we understand I borrowed the title from Darwin; however, after spending nearly 40 years working with entrepreneurs in both academic and business pursuits, I still do not have an answer as to "The Origin of the Specie,” in this case, an Entrepreneur?
I tried to find the answer in my Doctoral hypothesis "Entrepreneurs Are Born Not Made" with over 300 formal interviews of both gender-entrepreneurs, and counting. I have been lending money and giving advice to entrepreneurs as a banker and consultant, writing curricula and teaching graduate courses on the subject and ultimately authoring a book titled "Entrepreneurial Decision Making" and I still do not have a definitive answer and there just may not be an answer; at least one that fits all!
Let me begin with my own entrepreneurial journey because I had been an entrepreneur boot-strapping a start-up and taking it public (IPO) before I sold the company and sandwiched Corporate America in between my personal entrepreneurial endeavors, and starting an investment firm dedicated to purchasing financially weak banks and Mutual Funds, which we did before I sold my holdings in 1995 and started my present 20 year old FULL SERVICE business consulting firm, MITCHELLETTE & ASSOCIATES, and moved from San Diego to Minneapolis.
I have had the good fortune of being part of successful start-ups growing and/or saving good companies and their families; however, I have also witnessed, all too often, the collapse of a company followed by a similar fate for the family of the entrepreneur. I have even been a precipitator of bringing the local sheriff to the business and home of a business borrower in default to take possession of all their assets and that was something I could live without forever.
I even had to give one of my homes back to the bank to cover their perceived under collateralized loan, only as referenced above, to successfully take that same company public with a new lender and some additional investors. I was, and continue to be, my own
(turn-around) specialist and have used the same principles that saved my own company from disaster, to saving many of the companies of my clients from their own disaster.
I have definitely lived in and through the battles facing most entrepreneurs, which is why I am so adamant about helping entrepreneurs get through their own struggles and that can only be done if one has personal experience with the problem and the solution.
So here is the bottom line. I haven’t solved my own doctoral hypothesis and probably never will; needless to say, there are just too many reasons we become entrepreneurs but here are some questions to ask yourself to better understand why you are who you are as Decarte said “I am who I am.”
This is why I have dedicated my late years hoping to help aspiring and established entrepreneurs increase their probability of success by researching and writing about entrepreneurs and the subject of Entrepreneurship.
My own M & B test indicates that I am an ESTP (EXTROVERT- SENSING THINKING-PERCIEVER), which makes sense but provides little direction as to what to become, only that I probably would not be satisfied sitting in a cube office 10 hours a day for twenty+years. Sure, there are career coaches, who would have told me that I should be an attorney (my college choice) or in sales or a soldier et al but how many would have been nervy enough to tell me to be an entrepreneur?
Back to the conclusion of my doctoral research, which, I am sure, you have been waiting to hear. The male specie appears to be pre-disposed to characteristics that can direct him toward becoming an entrepreneur, including his historic early life GENE POOL as a Hunter Gather; however, our female sisters appear to become entrepreneurs by environmental forces; such as, divorce or death of a spouse and "Necessity the Mother of Invention" forces them into a survival entrepreneurial role and they are more successful than men in start-ups by 2 to 1.
Although that latter conclusion (1998) is outdated as today’s contemporary women is no longer in that survive or else mode, she actively decides, who she wants to be and when, if at all. Nevertheless, if she chooses to become an entrepreneur she will probably be armed with an MBA and the knowledge that her male counter-part is statistically not as successful as her sisters as entrepreneurs.
Now, all that being said, testing, introspection and my advice in my book, we still do not know, but can only make an educated guess as to, who will become an entrepreneur, under what circumstances and who has a better chance of succeeding as an entrepreneur?
Conclusion, in final analysis it is life's journey and the cards we are dealt and how we deal with them that ultimately determines our entrepreneurial choices, sometimes it may be a firing or lack of promotion or rightful recognition from an employer/job or a once in a lifetime opportunity and even something as simple as an accidental discovery/invention.
Nevertheless, the sooner my book is read and understood the better prepared you will be to make sound choices and seek the help and advice of a professional business consulting firm such as MITCHELLETTE & ASSOCIATES.