An entrepreneur, at the peak of their game, has the remarkable ability to change the very world around them. If and when successful, they can transform the way people go about their daily lives, how they interact with each other, and the way they conduct business. As such, entrepreneurism is a massive responsibility and to be fair, not one that most entrepreneurs asked for.
The Entrepreneur’s Responsibility
Certainly, a vast majority of entrepreneurs only seek to enrich their own lifestyles or to pursue their own passions. They do not necessarily set out to change the world. Yet, our society lives and thrives through their ideas and efforts, and whether they will or no, entrepreneurs do have a huge impact on our lives through the work they do.
So, how exactly are entrepreneurs so responsible for what goes on in society on a daily basis? Well, do they not innovate, and create, and invent new products and services every day? And with each new product and service they introduce, entrepreneurs not only become more responsible for their success, but they become accountable for them too, to employees, business partners, and most importantly, to the customers.
2013 was widely touted as being the year of the entrepreneur, yet 2014 is here now and the responsibilities remain, along with the challenges that entrepreneurs have faced before, and must continue to face throughout the rest of this year.
The Innovation Insecurity
Entrepreneurs are constantly, incessantly on the search for innovation – they need, or feel that they need, to continually come up with new ideas and to create new products and services. Yet, it doesn’t necessarily have to be like that. An entrepreneur need not come up with a large amount of ideas, but they need only to identify the truly great ones and to separate them from the rest. Thus, they can improve upon existing products and services, and build upon their company’s current success instead of wasting time chasing after new ideas that may not come to fruition this year, if ever.
The People Problem
Entrepreneurs are often impatient people who tend to make decisions based on gut instincts, particularly when they are in a hurry to enter the market. Considering that nearly 50% of all hiring decisions turn out to be the wrong ones, this can be rather dangerous and is not conducive to building a successful workforce. One the entrepreneurial challenges for 2014 then, is to reduce employee turnover and its subsequent costs by devoting more time and patience towards recruitment and towards understanding an employee’s motivations, abilities, skill sets, qualifications, and perhaps most importantly, their desire to effectively adapt to the company’s culture.
The Competition Conundrum
No matter how creative or innovative an entrepreneur gets with their products and services, the probability is that similar products and services will be introduced into the marketplace. It becomes particularly difficult then, yet even more essential than ever, to be able to stand out from amongst the crowd. And these difficulties are compounded by the fact that customers, both existing and potential, are smarter than ever before. Thus, to be successful in 2014, entrepreneurs will need to deliver products and services that not only meet but exceed customer expectations, surpassing the competition in the process, in order to develop customer relationships that the competitors will find nigh impossible to replicate.
The Funding Fix
Entrepreneurs require access to all sorts of funding, from across the spectrum, as they establish, then grow and continue to evolve their company. Yet one of the biggest challenges of entrepreneurship, set to grow even more complex in 2014, is being able to convince investors to provide the necessary funding. An entrepreneur needs to be able to sell their dreams, to make investors believe in their vision, and in their ability to transform those dreams and that vision into a profitable, successful reality.
The Engagement Enigma
Talk of social media, of networks such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest, and Tumblr, has been incessant across the internet and within board rooms. The virtues of social media as an incredibly powerful platform from which to reach out and to engage with customers, both existing and potential, have been discussed over and again. Yet, that potential and those virtues do not diminish, no matter how much people debate about them. As the world continues to swarm onto online social networks on a daily basis in 2014, entrepreneurs need to learn how to better engage with them and to hold and capture their attention.
2013 may or may not have been the year of the entrepreneur – that is for future generations to decide. What is certain right now is that 2014 has rolled in with its own challenges, and to make it their own year, entrepreneurs need to rise and meet each of those challenges.