Entrepreneurs do two things in particular that set them apart from the average person: First they identify a need, second they identify how to satisfy that need. Every successful entrepreneur has satisfied both criteria, however many entrepreneurs or even the average person has satisfied both criteria, without ultimately becoming successful. The thing it seems that sets true entrepreneurs apart from everyone else is the act of actually doing; identifying the need and actually putting in place a system, business, policy that actually satisfies that need. Entrepreneurs are doers.
The majority of my business experience has come from being on the administrative team in charge of managing a Canadian Forces Band department as well as acting as the Vice-President of my ship’s Junior Rank’s Mess executive committee. In both capacities, I have held positions responsible for organizing, leading and mentoring groups of people, as well as planning appropriate allocation of our annual budget, be it on personnel training, acquisitions or operations. At times I have been the lead on planning operations, upon approval from my head of department, other times assigned specific tasks that fit into a larger plan requiring collaboration both intradepartmental and interdepartmental.
As my relatively near future will almost certainly involve entrepreneurship in the form of running a chiropractic practice, I have become nearing on obsessive learning about the topic, devouring books such as Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie (1), The Power of Habit (2) and Smarter Faster Better by Charles Duhigg (3) and The Lean Startup by Eric Ries (4). While each book offers different ideas on personal productivity, how to manage people and run a business it has become clear that being an entrepreneur, specifically a successful entrepreneur, requires a balance of strong leadership, passion for the product and the business, an ability to inspire employees and the public and perhaps most importantly the ability to face adversity head on and keeping doing, because entrepreneurs are doers.
The Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC) entrepreneurial potential self-assessment is a quiz which compares your answers to the average obtained by entrepreneurs (5). My general profile result was just below that of the average entrepreneur with my attitudes falling somewhat below average, aptitudes at average and motivations above average. The attitudes sub section which I scored lower in is titled “action oriented”. I believe this is an accurate reflection of myself as I do not often need to complete easy tasks in order to feel successful, I often prefer to conduct thought experiments when addressing a task, or complicated situation rather than jumping into action. Charles Duhigg devoted an entire chapter to this concept in Smarter Faster Better analyzing the true productivity of performing certain tasks, be it doing all the shorter, easier tasks first to achieve a feeling of success or jumping into the difficult task first and leaving the simpler tasks for later (3). It seems to me the successful entrepreneur is action oriented enough to want to do things, in other words, they’re a doer, while not always just reaching for the low hanging fruit for their daily fix of success, which can ultimately result in stagnant growth.
With that, my ideal practice is one that I own and operate, with a diverse team including front desk staff, physiotherapist, massage therapist, associate chiropractor and eventually a naturopath and general practitioner. It is important that my staff and I share the same values when it comes to business and health care, as that will extend through us to our patients, who represent the cash flow/life blood of our business. While it is essential that the power dynamic is strictly understood, I will ensure that my staff feel they have a feeling of control over their element of the business and feel that they will be heard, as that is a necessary component of sharing and continuing to share the same values. Ultimately, my ideal practice is one that satisfies my idea of success, whatever it may be at any time, and I will achieve that by listening to my staff, my patients and never becoming stagnant. Being an entrepreneur is a lifelong endeavour, entrepreneurs are doers, I am a doer.
1. Carnegie D. How to win friends and influence people. 1st ed. New York: Simon and Schuster; 1981.
2. Duhigg C. The power of habit. 1st ed. New York: Random House; 2012.
3. Duhigg C. Smarter faster better. 1st ed. Penguin Random House; 2016.
4. Ries E. The lean startup. 1st ed. Crown Publishing Group; 2011.
5. Self-assessment, test your entrepreneurial potential [Internet]. BDC. 2017 [cited 2 February 2017]. Available from: https://www.bdc.ca/en/articles-tools/entrepreneur-toolkit/business-assessments/pages/self-assessment-test-your-entrepreneurial-potential.aspx