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Mon 21 Jul 2014 03:11 PM

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To be or not to be an entrepreneur

Tamara Pupic explores start-up motives of entrepreneurs and what they really need to succeed

To be or not to be an entrepreneur

A tall, blond, very attractive young woman comes to our office to meet me and tell me more about her charity-oriented business.

During the photo shoot, she enjoys confidently posing for the photographer for quite some time. Not all charity activists are humble to the glare of the spotlight I think, before berating myself for being too cynical.

A few direct questions and confusing answers later, it soon becomes clear her start-up doesn't actually have a license to operate yet and she is only at the start of the long, tiring road to becoming an entrepreneur.

It soon becomes clear the glare of the camera and the chance to be interviewed was more a draw for her than putting in the hard work, so I quickly thank her for her time and we part ways, wondering if I will ever see her again and if her charity ambitions will ever see the light of day.

Although I still admire her ambition in pitching herself and her business idea to the media, I believe you can only do so after you have earned the right to call yourself an entrepreneur, which brings us to the main question – why is the tag ‘entrepreneur’ so attractive these days?

In this land of sand dunes, I meet many people who claim they are starting “something completely new” or their service is “the first of its kind in Dubai” and they have “discovered a gap in the market.”

In most cases they actually are right and, bar a few exceptions, they confirm the rule that Dubai has attracted many talented individuals and managed to keep them here with its start-up initiatives and business-friendly policies, among other things.

But before you hit on the right idea, the bigger task is to work out why you want to go into business for yourself, what is your motivation and what skills you may be lacking to turn your idea into a thriving business.

In his famous bestseller, 'The E-Myth', a must-read for all entrepreneurs, small business guru Michael E. Gerber explains that going into business is as much about who you are and who you want to be as a person as it is about the business itself.

He has figured out why 40 percent of small business fail in the first year, and why over 80 percent fail before year five, and what you can do about it.

Simply put, it’s because you don’t recognise and manage all the parts of an entrepreneur’s persona needed for success.

For those who haven't read the book, here is the breakdown: Gerber says you should be 10 percent entrepreneur (the visionary), 20 percent manager (the one who ensures goals are met) and 70 percent technician (the one who does the work).

So if you haven’t done enough soul-searching to discover your core motivations for setting up a business, you’ll have a very hard time doing all other things that have to be done before you even get to the PR side and promoting the final product.

Spending 70 percent of the time slogging away and working to make it work may leave you miserable, leading to an abundance of stress, anxiety and fear.

But once you've achieved that goal, only then can you fully enjoy the spotlight, knowing your hard work has really paid off.

If gaining media attention is your goal, there are many ways of making yourself irresistible to the media.

But your real motive for starting a business will soon become apparent and will be difficult to hide.

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khalid 6 years ago

Great article Tamara. (more of the same please)
there are lots of ' entrepreneurs ' that rather have a nice picture of themselves in the media than actually do the work and get their business functioning (if it ever does) eg. fashion gurus/lifestyle experts/new media consultants etc...