The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

The Entrepreneurial Journey

Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset

Tuesday, June 1, 2021, by Dr. Frederick Crane

Many people aspire to be an entrepreneur. But most do not really know what it takes to be a successful entrepreneur. Before you embark on the entrepreneurial journey you will need to seriously reflect on whether or not the journey is right for you and whether or not you are ready for the journey. Many experts suggest there are distinctive personal characteristics that are required to be a successful entrepreneur. Some have described this as the “entrepreneurial mindset.” There has been an age old debate as to whether an entrepreneur is born or is made. My research shows it is a bit of both – the classic nature and nurture phenomena. One thing is for sure, the entrepreneur is different from the non-entrepreneur. Less than 10 percent of our population are entrepreneurs, so they make up a unique niche within the population. So, what makes them different? And, do you have what it takes to become part of this special group of people?

 

My research shows that successful entrepreneurs share several key personal attributes that are necessary for the entrepreneurial journey. What I want you to do now is to be honest with yourself and reflect on whether you possess these key attributes and/or would be willing to acquire them? These attributes are: (1) dispositional optimism – the most important attribute – (2) persistence, (3) resilience, (4) work ethic, and (5) adaptive.

 

Dispositional optimism is a mindset that focuses on abundance not scarcity; that good things can and will happen; that one can achieve his/her objectives; and the glass is half-full and not half-empty. All successful entrepreneurs I have studied are extremely optimistic in life and in business. And, I suggest it is the most important attribute an entrepreneur can possess. In fact, it is an antecedent as to why entrepreneurs are persistent, resilient and work so hard. They did so because they believe positive outcomes can be achieved. Why would an entrepreneur work 100 hours a week to start and to grow an enterprise if they thought they would fail? Well, they don’t believe they will fail. And, contrary to belief successful entrepreneurs do not throw caution to the wind, they do not take excessive risk and they do not adhere to the fate, chance, luck or magic model of business. Successful entrepreneurs engage in calculated risk-taking using information to recognize, discover or create new business opportunities. And, entrepreneurs are adaptive. They flex and pivot given evolving conditions and situations around them. Sometimes best laid plans have to change!

 

Before you start the entrepreneurial journey you are going to have to do a head, heart and gut check – an honest check. If you get positive confirmation from all three realms of your being, then you probably ready for the entrepreneurial journey. It will be difficult and challenging but, more importantly, very rewarding and satisfying. But, this is just the beginning of your journey! In the articles that follow this one I will discuss the importance of the right opportunity, the right business model, the right brand and the right go-to-market strategy. This are all key elements that must be mastered on your own entrepreneurial journey.

Author

Frederick Crane serves as a Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

 

Dr. Crane is an Executive Professor of Entrepreneurship & Innovation at the College of Business at Northeastern University; Former Editor of the Journal of the Academy of Business Education; and co-founder of Ceilidh Insights LLC – an innovation management training, intellectual property consulting and consumer insight company. He was formerly a professor of marketing and entrepreneurship at the University of New Hampshire and a Chair and Full professor at Dalhousie University.

 

At Northeastern, he developed the graduate new venture creation course; the undergraduate innovation course – which is now taught campus-wide; and developed the online MBA course on innovation and enterprise growth. He also serves as the Faculty Advisor for the Private Equity and Venture Capital Club. Every semester at least one of his teams from his new venture creation course goes on to commercialize a business.

Citation of Article:

Crane, F. (2021, June 1). The Entrepreneurial Journey Part 1 – Are You Ready – The Entrepreneurial Mindset. The International Council for Small Business, Small Business Gazette. https://icsb.org/the-entrepreneurial-mindset/

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Alternative Investments and Cryptocurrencies

Tuesday, May 18, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

 

There are numerous investment options for traditional investment classes, such as real estate, precious metals, equity investments, fixed-income securities and cash. However, over the past few years, investors worldwide have witnessed a rapidly evolving alternative finance landscape. Cryptocurrencies or altcoins receive close attention from investors who are captivated by tremendous growth opportunities and fast and easy options to invest in them.

 

There are hundreds of different crypto exchanges around the world, each offering opportunities to buy cryptocurrencies. The majority of the exchanges have user-friendly mobile interfaces making it very easy to invest, but not all exchanges are trustworthy. When choosing a crypto exchange, it is important to compare many features such as costs, limits on withdrawing coins, lists of alternative currencies, transaction speed, trading volumes, and check if you as a user can control your digital wallet keys where your digital tokens/coins are stored. Crypto exchanges can be classified into centralised and decentralised. All centralised crypto exchanges follow the “Know Your Customer” registration process, which requires formal identification for all clients. These exchanges run their transactions on their private server and typically provide some level of insurance to protect their users if their system fails. Thus, it is essential to ask about your insurance coverage and, most notably, the amount of insurance. Decentralised exchanges do not have a central authority, and each computer inside the network is part of the server. Due to their decentralised status, they are not under specific monitoring of any regulatory body.

 

The security and safety of digital cryptocurrency tokens remain as significant concerns. Purchased cryptocurrency tokens need to be stored in a secure location. Numerous retail and institutional custodians provide services for storing your cryptocurrencies in a secure online wallet. You can also keep your digital cryptocurrencies on external devices and print keys on paper and store them physically in a safe box. However, some cryptocurrencies exchanges do not allow users to control their digital wallets.  It is necessary to understand the risk and return relationship in cryptocurrencies trading. The markets are speculative and highly volatile, so it is essential to do your research and remember you can rapidly lose your investments. It is crucial to check your tax implications for capital gains and losses when trading cryptocurrencies.

 

As one of the most popular cryptocurrencies, Bitcoin is classified as a store of value coin, also known as “Digital Gold” among cryptocurrencies. The widespread Blockchain adoption was linked to Satoshi Nakamoto back in 2008. Bitcoin is differentiated from other cryptocurrencies by having a fixed supply of 21 million tokens which can be mined.

 

Recently, concerns were raised in relation to the Bitcoin network’s energy consumption as miners are continuously running computers to solve complex algorithms/puzzles to discover a new block. Once a new block is mined, the miners are rewarded with bitcoins. The University of Cambridge’s Centre for Alternative Finance has introduced the Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, which shows that the yearly electricity consumption is 150.04-terawatt hours, which is expected to grow further. Interestingly, the amount of electricity consumed by the Bitcoin coin in one single year is sufficient to provide power to all kettles used to boil water for Europe and the UK for 5 years and meet the University of Cambridge’s energy needs for 853 years.

Author

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is Global Certificates Manager at ICSB, a Higher Degree by Research Supervisor at Excelsia College and Adjunct Academic at the University of Technology  Sydney, Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. She was invited to join The Housing Connection, a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia as Treasurer and Board Member from November 2019. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is the Associate Editor for the Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB). 

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Re-imagine Series: Depression

Monday, May 3, 2021, by Ruth Dwyer

 

Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood.

Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.

– Marie Curie

Problem: Depression—lack of early detection leads to lost potential for individuals and society.

New Tech Implications:

  • Developments in sound recognition is promising for early diagnosis.
  • Telemedicine provides a convenient way for many patients to receive care that they would not otherwise engage with.

Change Hypotheses:

  • New technology available to help people self-diagnose mental illnesses virtually
  • Help doctors diagnose during visits
  • Increased publicity on how to treat early
  • New medications

Dream:

  • Everyone will have depression and anxiety diagnosed at its earliest stage
  • Increased healthy lifestyles
  • Decreased substance use
  • Increased productivity for the world

Marie Curie’s quote shown above points to so many truths. Today, I would like us to think about how the stigma attached to depression keeps us from knowing more about it. This lack of insight into an individual’s pain not only creates a bigger problem for that person, but also a big problem for the world.

Depression affects over 300 million people suffering from depression worldwide. Almost 800,000 people die by suicide a year*, AND IF treated early 80% and 90% of people with depression respond quickly to treatment and gain some relief from their symptoms within 4-6 weeks on a medication and/or therapy regimen**

Challenge Questions- What can we do?

Start at home:

  • Early detection
  • Ask these questions of yourselves and share them with you family/friends.
    • How are you feeling? When was the last time you went outside? Had fun?
    • Are you eating and sleeping regularly?
    • How do you feel about yourself? do you ever feel like hurting yourself?
    • How are things going with your friends?  Do you ever think they would be better off without you?

If these questions prompt a yes, please do not ignore them. Rather, look for information from trusted sources on the internet, talk to your doctor, a counselor, or call a helpline, and be sure you are safe.

Reflect more on safety with these questions:

  • What medications do you have in your house? Who can get to them?
  • Is there anything else in your home that could be used for self-harm?

Think local:

  • How are you, your family, and friends doing?
  • Is there someone who you have not heard from recently
  • If you have a business, where are our employee pain points?
  • Is there a way you can add- healthy habits into the workday?
  • Is there a way of serving customers that improves their social interaction/lifestyle?
  • Are there ways it can be modified to fit more or different needs?
  • Is it possible that the person that drives you nuts is driving you nuts due to a mental health concern? If so, how can you modify your interactions with them, to improve things?
  • Is there an appropriate place to post a hotline number for people to see?

Go Global:

  • How do you interact with the wider world?
  • Could you post a message of encouragement during National Anxiety and Depression Awareness Week (May 18-23)?
  • Where are your financial investments?  Does your portfolio reflect your beliefs in how to promote a healthy lifestyle?

My response to the challenge:

Over the years, I cannot count the number of children I’ve know whose lives have been affected by a family member’s depression, anxiety, or their evil triplet substance use. It is a problem that is almost always more convenient not to deal with in the short term. Like many things, however, ignoring it makes it worse. In fact, this is true more for depression than most of the medical illnesses I’ve helped treat.

As we enter the spring of our year with COVID, take stock of yourselves and those you know.  Seek help if you are currently worried about someone in your circle. I do not have an answer for coping with the devastation in any of your personal lives that depression and substance use have produced other than to again encourage you to find the energy and courage needed to seek professional help as needed.

My dream for how to impact depression and anxiety is both smaller and larger. It is smaller because I dream of minimizing its effects through early detection. It is larger because before people will accept a diagnosis or seek treatment any stigma associated with it must be eradicated. Larger, because attitudes are hard to change. As with most things the answers lay within each of us. I encourage you to become informed and challenge any assumptions you hold that do not fit the facts, or the kind of person you want to be.

The world has big problems, and everyone is needed to re-imagine solutions that meet the needs these problems create. We can’t move forward if we do not understand what forward looks like. Please help by sharing this post and engaging below.

I look forward to our conversation,

Ruth Dwyer, MD, FAAP

PS:

– Did you know April is stress awareness month?  Or that Depression Awareness Week is May 18-23? (As a student, this seems especially well placed for me, if only I had time to acknowledge it:)

– Did you know that in the US on the last Saturday in April The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has been hosting the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day each year since 2010? (if you missed it this month- don’t stress over it they will do it again next October.)*. This is a great way to decrease people’s access to something that could be deadly. –It is especially important to think about if you have a teenager, they share.

( https://www.inspiremalibu.com/blog/news/national-prescription-drug-take-back-day/)

* Torres, Felix. “What Is Depression?” American Psychiatric Association, 2020, www.psychiatry.org/patients-families/depression/what-is-depression.

**Bach, Natasha. “World Mental Health Day 2017: Illness in the Workplace Is More Common Than You Might Think.” Fortune, World Health Organization, 10 Oct. 2017, fortune.com/2017/10/10/world-mental-health-day-2017-workplace-depression-anxiety.

Author

Ruth Dwyer

Ruth Dwyer

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Ruth Dwyer. MD,  serves as the Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Pivoting pediatrician interested in social entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the SDGs. Ruth has worked on numerous medical startups. She enjoys painting, playing games, shooting hoops, and time with my family.

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

The Crucial Elements of the Financial Decision-Making Process

Thursday, April 22, 2021, by Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

 

The reality is that every business venture can, at some point, be exposed to financial instability.  In the case of MSMEs, lack of sufficient and timely access to finance is typically a leading reason for business failures. The consequences of becoming illiquid can have a detrimental effect on business operations, forcing them to declare insolvency. MSMEs are more susceptible to broader economic conditions, thus, smaller enterprises’ survival rates are low compared to larger entities as MSMEs generally do not have the long-term capacity to withstand economic downturns. The increasing numbers of MSMEs exits and failures exacerbated by the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic emphasise the importance of understanding the reasons that could lead to this extreme outcome.

 

Recognising how to manage and deal with unforeseen financial events is essential for every owner-manager. The crucial elements of the financial decision-making process include (1) financial decisions – choice between equity or debt funds and associated costs; (2) investment decisions – choice of purchasing long term assets and (3) operating decisions to either reinvest profits back into a business and/or distribute profits back to the owners. In general, there are five fundamental principles to starting a new business: (1) evaluate your current financial conditions; (2) state your financial goals; (3) develop an action plan to achieve your goals; (4) implement your financial goals for your business, and (5) monitor and control the progress and introduce changes where necessary.

 

It is vital to plan for your business’s financial success and, when making decisions, always assess costs versus benefits and implied risks. Financial information has a significant impact on many business decisions. Financial statements report on the past, which is not necessarily going to indicate future prospects with 100% accuracy, but it can be very important in examining and evaluating your past financial decisions. In order to perform the financial statement analysis, every owner-manager needs to investigate past and current financial information of the business, industry benchmarks and competitors’ key financial indicators. The key financial ratios allow you to analyse the solvency of the business, liquidity of the business, the profitability of the business, ability to service short- and long-term debts, among others.

 

Your business’s success depends on many factors, and the economic environment in which your business operates creates the path for the future direction. At times of economic growth, there is an increase in business activity which is supported by strong consumer spending. During recessions, economy contracts and consumers tend to stay on the safe side and become very cautious with their spending plans. Economic indicators such as unemployment rate, inflation rate, gross domestic product (GDP), stock market index performance, exchange rates, government regulations and support suggest its future direction. Understanding and then applying in practice elementary economic indicators will help you think like an economist/financier when making financial decisions. The budgeting process allows the owner-manager to plan for the future and create strategic business plans in order to sustain business stability. This is the time for owner-managers to make sound business decisions related to revenue sources, spending, saving, investing, and, if necessary, pivoting towards new business ideas.

Author

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka

Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr. Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka, PhD, serves as the Global Certificates Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Dr Mariya Yesseleva-Pionka is Global Certificates Manager at ICSB, a Higher Degree by Research Supervisor at Excelsia College and Adjunct Academic at the University of Technology  Sydney, Australia. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka held teaching and senior academic management positions in Central Asia (Kazakhstan) and Australia. She specialised in general investments, personal and corporate superannuation investments while working for Westpac Banking Corporation and BT Financial Group in Australia. She was invited to join The Housing Connection, a not-for-profit organisation in Sydney, Australia as Treasurer and Board Member from November 2019. Her research interests include entrepreneurial finance, traditional and alternative ways to finance small and medium enterprises (SMEs), corporate finance, policies for the small business sector, innovation and SMEs, FinTechs and Blockchain. Dr Yesseleva-Pionka is the Associate Editor for the Journal of the International Council for Small Business (JICSB). 

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Re-imagine Series: Imagine all the People Livin’ Life in Peace

Monday, March 29, 2021, by Ruth Dwyer

 

COVID-19 has turned the world upside down with devastating effects that will continue for years to come.  However, it is essential to take a moment and remember that this is not the first challenge the world has faced, and, despite wars, famines, and plagues, humanity has made great strides to improve the quality of life across the globe. We will recover and rebuild—that is certain, but towards what? What can you envision as the best possible world?

At this moment, I would like to dream about what is possible in a world motivated by hope and optimism. Many of the topics will align with the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals, yet I would also like to look further into the future toward how we might conceive of an indeed just world. I would also like to engage in cross-pollinating ideas and practical next steps for the average person, business owner, and educator. Since every big plan is made of multiple actions, everyone is needed. That is why I ask that you all please join me as we explore what the world could resemble and how we can actualize this exploration.

Each month, I propose a subject and hypothesis and my journey to engage with said topic.

This week the subject is scarcity. Maslow notes that the most basic human needs are physiological needs for food, shelter, warmth, and rest.   What would a world where everyone’s basic needs are met look like? As the world undergoes a demographic transition, how can technological improvements impact people’s lives?  Furthermore, what societal changes can we personally influence?

Problem: Scarcity

Change Hypotheses:

Energy production and systems will become clean(er), relatively inexpensive, and widely available.

Recycled plastics and 3D printers will be relatively inexpensive and widely available.

Dream:

Everyone will have shelter and basic needs met.

The value will be placed on each person’s unique individual contribution.

Challenge Questions:

Start at home: What is your unique combination of gifts?  Are you fully utilizing them?  How about those closest to you? What are their gifts? What do they need to develop further?

Think local: How does your business, job, or position meet a community need? Are there ways it can be modified to fit more or different needs? Do you see a condition that is not being met at all? Who are the people with the greatest need?

Go Global: How do you interact with the broader world?  Do you have the impact you want?

My response to the challenge:

As a pediatrician, I have encouraged people’s abilities and dreams for the past 20 years.  While immensely satisfying, I still heard the small whisper that knew I was not using all my gifts. I longed (and even longer) for a time when all people can make a living sharing their unique talents. So, in the Fall of 2019, I enrolled in the online MBA program at George Washington University, and I am now pursuing an interest in social entrepreneurism with an international twist. Micro, small, medium-sized enterprises are a cornerstone of this worldview. How better to seek a better world than through the expression, development, and sharing of one’s gifts?

I am still searching for how to generate more global impact. Through the internet, I have met people in more places than I could ever visit, and my dream for the world has become more expansive. This project, “Re-Imagine,” and the ICSB Womenpreneur “WE” program  (July 11-16, 2021 in Paris) are part of this journey.

The world has big problems, and everyone is needed to re-imagine solutions that meet these problems’ needs. We can’t move forward if we do not understand what the future looks like. Please help by sharing this post and engaging below.

I look forward to our conversation,

Ruth Dwyer, MD, FAAP

Author

Ruth Dwyer

Ruth Dwyer

Senior Project Manager

Dr. Ruth Dwyer. MD,  serves as the Senior Project Manager for the International Council for Small Business (ICSB).

Pivoting pediatrician interested in social entrepreneurship, small businesses, and the SDGs. Ruth has worked on numerous medical startups. She enjoys painting, playing games, shooting hoops, and time with my family.

La sustentabilidad en las Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas (PYME)

La sustentabilidad en las Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas (PYME)

La sustentabilidad en las Pequeñas y Medianas Empresas (PYME)

Monday, March 29, 2021, by Dr. Francisco Navarrete-Báez

Parte fundamental de todo emprendedor, y su interés de crear una nueva empresa, en lugar de emplearse en una ya existente, es que todos los recursos invertidos en este StartUp se vean capitalizados por muchos años. De hecho, no se piensa en que esta aventura algún día terminará con el cierre de la empresa, al contrario, se imagina hacia futuras generaciones.

Recursos como el tiempo, al invertirle muchas horas desde su idea, conceptualización, escenificación, y sobre todo la puesta en marcha. Dinero invertido, que, al principio, sale de los propios ahorros personales con el riesgo y el sacrificio que esto implica. Y el esfuerzo de combinar esta tarea de iniciar un nuevo negocio y tratar de acoplarlo con el trabajo actual y los intereses personales y familiares.

Bajo este principio, es lo que denominamos la creación de una empresa sostenible. Es decir, que su vida se extienda por un largo periodo. Entendiendo que sostenible y sustentable son anglicismos que el español ha adaptado a estos nuevos términos que se han pronunciado a partir de este siglo XXI.  En lo particular a mí me gusta más el termino en francés que lo denomina: développement durable, que se aproxima más a lo aquí explicado, es decir, un desarrollo durable por un tiempo indeterminado.

Pero para entender lo que realmente implica el desarrollo de la sustentabilidad de la empresa, será necesario implementar, adoptar y monitorear una serie de prácticas que coadyuvarán a su logro continuo.

La mayoría de estas prácticas de inicio, se centran en el aspecto económico, enfocado principalmente en los ingresos obtenidos por las ventas de sus bienes o servicios que ofrecen al mercado. Esta siempre ha sido una visión reduccionista que solo conducirán, tarde o temprano, al fracaso de este emprendimiento. Ya que no hay visión a otra de serie prácticas indispensables para alcanzarlo.

Basado en el principio de la conceptualización del Desarrollo Sostenible, en donde nos muestra los tres pilares básicos para poderlo mantener: social, ambiental y económico. De igual manera, estos principios universales de sostenibilidad deben aplicarse al de las buenas prácticas de una empresa, especialmente a las pequeñas y medianas que por su naturaleza son más vulnerables al no contar con todos los recursos necesarios para su sobrevivencia.

Es así que la nueva PYME, o bien aquella que se quiere replantear estos principios, deberá observar dentro de sus prácticas el aspecto social, es decir, el trabajo hecho hacia la parte social interior y exterior de la empresa, como son las relaciones con sus empleados, sus políticas laborales, así como la relación con sus grupos de interés externos, como son proveedores, clientes, competencia y comunidad.

La parte ambiental, con una serie de prácticas orientadas hacia la conservación de los recursos naturales que lo involucran. Y la parte económica, que no solo consiste en las ventas, sino el compromiso a la investigación y desarrollo y la orientación emprendedora.

Por último, es importante recordar que estos principios son dinámicos, es decir, que todos los días hay que aplicarlos y buscar nuevos horizontes en donde impactar.

Autor

Dr. Francisco Navarrete-Báez

Dr. Francisco Navarrete-Báez

Profesor Investigador Universidad del Valle de Atemajac (UNIVA)

Guadalajara, México