Entrepreneurship is not a job nor a vocation. Entrepreneurship is an attitude.

Almost without exception all companies started as an entrepreneurial venture… Some would say an adventure. Indeed, we would argue that entrepreneurs are the adventure seekers amongst you. They are those that trust their own instincts. Those that are prepared to motivate themselves and not afraid to ask questions and propose solutions.

It is in you if you have the ability to see opportunities and take action to pursue these. It is in you if you find original ways to achieve something. If you are impatient. If you are not motivated by money (although money is important as it allows your business to be sustainable).

Our advice to you? Go out there and develop, create or solve a problem. Entrepreneurs are hungry, curious, and observant, always on the lookout for opportunities. For lucky breaks.

Entrepreneurship is about experimentation and determination. It’s about having the courage to go where no man or woman has gone before but sometime it is also to go where everyone has been before, just doing it better and more intelligently and creatively.

It can be a very individual journey, one where you find out what your strengths are, and sharpen those to a fine point, or it could be about looking at the wide blue ocean and seeing what is new and exciting out there that no one has tried. In each and every one of us lays a gift, a contribution, to use our individual skill to better the world we entered.

Entrepreneurs create magic. Entrepreneurs suffer setbacks. A lot of setbacks. They neither follow crowds nor do they ignore them. They watch and observe and constantly adjust their business to accommodate a need (and when you satisfy a need you solve a problem and people who solve problems are wanted).

Entrepreneurs can achieve great things. They create businesses. They make things happen when no one thought it could happen. They very often do it without any resources or funding, but simply by virtue of them putting their heads down and working hard when their friends are out partying. Entrepreneurs understand the value of time and money and very often they will not splash it out on fancy symbols to show off… They will invest their time rather than spend it. They see life as a big game, a game with very strange rules that are unwritten/ They learn them intuitively, often creating their own. Contrary to popular myth, entrepreneurs – at least in our experience – are exceptionally honest people for they realise that to cheat and lie will harm them in the long run. Entrepreneurs know the value of their reputation. They understand that they are a brand.
You, dear friends, are brands and brand managers in one.

Ask yourself if you are an adventurer. An explorer; a creator; a magician in life’s great game. Do you want to create amazing things? Go out and be amazing.

One of our mentors – many years ago – told us that if we don’t make any mistakes then we are not trying hard enough. Go out and make mistakes. Learn from them. You are in charge of your own destiny.

Don’t assume you know everything. Learn and share from others. Don’t place value on your business idea , it is after all just an idea. Make it work, then you can have a real conversation, a real business!
We started with a business idea that we battered and remoulded and reshaped for 6 months on the back of feedback we heard and action we saw from the market place (or inaction, to be more accurate). If the market shifts we try to stay ever alive and ever ready to change and adapt because as the great scenario planner Clem Sunter once said – Yours is to either adapt or die. Talk to people, they are your feedback mechanism and listen when they talk. But remember to take feedback cautiously. Ask yourself what makes the person giving you advice a specialist in that field. Heed advice but be careful. Just because it is meant well (family and friends) does not mean it is valid for the situation. Learn to tell which is which.

Entrepreneurs are not a specie that is very different from the rest of humankind, they are people like you and us that want to make a difference, make some money, have fun, interact with people and make sure that this life time has been one worth living where you did all you could do, with your own rules and you go out leaving the world a better place than you found it in.

Then, dear friends, will you be real entrepreneurs.

Written by the business partners Thakhani Tshivhase and York Zucchi. Thakhani and York met while doing the Entrepreneurship MBA at GIBS (in Johannesburg)

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