Typically, entrepreneurial spirit refers to a mindset. This mindset consists of a group of personal dispositions which lead to the innovative practice of identifying and/or creating opportunities, then acting to manifest those opportunities in a productive way.
Thus, the behavior of the entrepreneur reflects a kind of person willing to take risks for an idea, spend much time, capital on an uncertain venture.
But let us go further. In many religions, the Spirit, as opposed to the body, refers to the inner being, the essential life force; the soul.
In this regard referring to the entrepreneurial spirit is sometimes as the entrepreneurial mindset hardly captures the gist of the matter. To define an entrepreneur simply, let us imagine starting a business as sheep trying to cross a busy highway (andindeed it is!).
The first sheep that crosses the road is the entrepreneur and the rest (who follow frantically!) are the businesswo/men.
The entrepreneur is the leader who visualizes the future and how to create that future. This involves taking a lot of risks andso the entrepreneur must be effective in connecting with the people who work with her/him. This enables her/him to harness their intelligence, creativity and emotional engagement in order to realize the vision. The jury is still open on whether leaders are born so or made; one thing is clear though, timing, context, history and culture play a prominent role in developing leadership in us. This is why in times of crisis leaders emerge.
Entrepreneurs always realize opportunities and their potential to turn those opportunities into socially and economically viable and productive goods and service. More importantly, they (entrepreneurs) must have the desire to make this happen. It is this desire that makes entrepreneurial leaders.
Risk is part of entrepreneurship. But this risk must be taken in a calculated manner. This involves listening in four levels; the first is physical experience or observation. Here you actively listen to what is going on from various sources of information both formal and informal. Frankly,most entrepreneurs tend to be news freaks. Watching and observing is very important for decision-making. The next level of listening is in the mind or analysis. What you observed is scrutinized at this level. The decision is thus a result of proper examination of the matter at hand vi-a-vis all other relevant scenarios arising. Listening at an emotional level is absolutely important. Empathy that results from this level of listening (heart or feelings) enables the entrepreneur to fully grasp the important aspects of decisions s/he ought to take. Listening through insight where imagination and intuition and creativity are natured. This is commonly referred to as acumen it gives the entrepreneur the audacity to hung on and ach
ieve her/his vision
The spirit of entrepreneurship demands hope, faith values and stability. How else will one learn that is alright to make mistakes so that instead of panicking (due to lack of faith) they will learn from their mistakes and improve? It has been said the mistakes one makes is directly proportional to the amount of success they will have in future; as long as the mistakes are not repeated. As Thomas Edison said, “I have not failed; I have just found 10, 000 ways that won’t work.”
The Self-esteem of the entrepreneur is critical.Self-esteem is the inner essence of your being. It is the soul that leads you and helps you to keep your focus in times of adversity. It is different from your self-image which is how other people see you. What really matters is how you see yourself and what you are doing
As Napoleon Hill says, ‘Think and grow Rich’, Thoughts are ‘things’and powerful things at that, when they are mixed with definiteness of purpose, persistence, and a burning desire for their translation into riches, or other material objects.
The thought-behavior connection reflects the entrepreneurial spirit…or lack of it!
Sam Kebongo is a skills and business advisory services consultant. He also teaches entrepreneurship at Rwanda Tourism University College.