Today I read an article by a respected University Director on Entrepreneurship championing the idea that Entrepreneurs are Made not Born. I respectfully disagree –
Here’s my response…
Born or Made? Nurture or Nature?
Great post and great question.
After working day in and day out with Entrepreneurs in a consulting role – I am forced to lean towards the “Born” side of the debate. Entrepreneurs are not government workers – they never will be.
Can they be more successful with training? Absolutely!
But can someone without the Gifts, Mindset, DNA or Passion be successful with the same training? Nope.
Most of the Entrepreneurs I’ve worked with were demonstrating their gifts starting out in elementary school – and definitely before college.
I had the opportunity to work with an experimental “field advertising” unit within P&G’s food division right after college. One of the quirks of this position was we were on the road 6 months at a time – often with 6 – 7 radically different assignments within that time period. At one point, a few of us were sitting around and started going over our backgrounds. We discovered we were clones. All had started little businesses in high-school or college. All of us had been in campus leadership positions at our respective schools. All of us were generalist. All of us had participated in competitive sports.
And you can probably guess what happened. Within 6 months of being hired many of these people had started their own businesses – some where actually running mail order businesses from hotel rooms as they traveled across the country while working for P&G.
Oops! P&G had spent considerable resources hiring probably the worst employees you could get.
Compare that to the former VP of Ford’s Bronco division who said he’d help me with my resume. He took one look at it, looked up at me and lowered his glasses and said, “I wouldn’t hire you. You’ll be sitting in an office 6 months from now, look out the window and be gone.”
Work with Entrepreneurs. Then work with the accountants they hire. I think the “Born” argument will gain just a little more credibility.