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What are characteristics of entrepreneurs?

Know the Score

Posted: August 8, 2008 8:55 p.m.
Updated: October 10, 2008 5:03 a.m.

To be a successful entrepreneur you must have patience, perseverance, honesty, fidelity and the personality of a self-starter. There are many who have fine staying qualities, but poor starting qualities.

Now good and faithful workers are needed in this world, since there's a great deal of machinery to be kept running and chores to do. If that's all you can do, or want to do, I hope you get your due wages and become a faithful member of the team. I'm not throwing bricks at you and I hope you'll be respected and protected, but if you want to rise from the ranks and be somebody - you'll have to be a self-starter.

A great deal of stress is placed on luck, acquaintances and having "pull," but the trouble is these things are only of value to the man/woman that can get along without them. Everybody helps the one who helps himself or herself and nothing succeeds like success. Everybody wants to lend money to the banker, so after all is said and done whatever you do you must do it yourself.

Nobody showed Marshall Field how to do business, and nobody was responsible for John D. Rockefeller's money except John D. Rockefeller himself. So forget about the pressure of starting your business - just start.

Holy grail

Pressure is always with us like a low ceiling that makes us stoop, but if we succumb to it, it will curtail our liberty, destroy our individuality and reduce us to the dead level of mediocrity. If we allow it to rule, it will force us into set, conventional and artificial shapes and that's not what entrepreneurs are about. We don't conform to anybody's predesigned shape!

When we succumb to pressure, many an employee has been swept by this huge wave on to corporate crimes, follies, cruelties and stupidities, of which as individuals we wouldn't have dreamt. It might even tempt the self-starting entrepreneur to embellish his advertising which is a fatal mistake.

Truth in advertising is the entrepreneur's holy grail. The cleverest man in the world is the man that tells the truth, and tells it all the time, not occasionally. A man is as good as his word, and if customers can't trust your advertising how do you expect them to trust you? You can sometimes profit by a lie but it's dodging the bullet, and you never know when you'll get hurt. It's a form of gambling and any sort of gambling is not business.

The fundamental laws of business are just as accurate and as well established as the principles of geometry. Most of us can see the crooked dollar coming today, but not the 10 straight dollars it's going to lose us tomorrow. Real business success is cumulative! It grows like a snowball, and the thing that keeps it growing is our persistent truthfulness and dependableness.

If you put an ad in the paper announcing goods worth $5 for sale at $2, and people buy only to find out the stuff is not worth 10 cents, you may make one day's gain but you've alienated a lot of indignant customers.

Credit and trust

What you have just done is started to saw away the posts that uphold your reputation. If you're in business to stay, and want regular, returning, increasing, satisfied and friendly customers, it will pay you to stick to the old-fashioned "truth in advertising."

It doesn't take long for the people in the community to get the habit of discounting 25 percent of all you say. But if you habitually state only what is soberly, honestly true, by and by everything you say will be way above par.

An entrepreneur's repute for truthfulness is as much a part of his capital as are his store and stock - so much so that he'll be able to raise money on it.

More and more we're seeing business becoming an affair of credit and of trust. The very foundation of big business is trustworthiness, so if you're ever to get beyond the peanut stand stage of your business, you must establish a basis of dependableness. There's nothing in this world that can be of more value to you than building up a reputation that make people say, "your word is as good as your bond."

It's well to be clever and Johnny-on-the-spot, to look out for number one and to know a good bargain, but best of all is to have your peers say of you, "Whatever that man/woman says can absolutely be relied upon."

That's success!

Maureen Stephenson is a local author and owner of REMS Publishing & Publicity, which is based in Santa Clarita. Her column represents her own views, and not necessarily those of The Signal.


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