The term entrepreneur is not greatly understood I believe. Sometimes it is associated with really out-there ideas, ground breaking wonderful “hang on to your hat” type ideas, and other times it is associated with the little people starting with little ideas. In healthcare it is rare to hear of an entrepreneur – and I often think that is because it has been associated so closely over the last 5 years with ‘business’ and ‘youth’ that people have started to feel it is not something that fits in our industry – I completely disagree! There are so many entrepreneurs in the health care industry.
The term entrepreneur refers to a person who “creates a new business in the face of risk and uncertainty for the purpose of achieving profit and growth by identifying significant opportunities and assembling the necessary resources to capitalise on them” (Scarborough & Cornwall 2016). I think already you can start to look around and see people that fit into this description in health care – so many people. To be an entrepreneur you don’t have to launch a new business in an area that is untapped, you can still be an entrepreneur and purchase an existing practice or business. Like great students, and those that are not so wonderful, and great practitioners, and those not so wonderful, and great accountants, and those not so wonderful – there are great entrepreneurs and those not so wonderful. The power in being a great entrepreneur is the ability to develop skills in the areas that will drive success. The successful entrepreneur possesses a high level of emotional intelligence, being able to identify their own emotions, exhibit self-control, nurture self-motivation and understand the problems of others (Jaafar et al. 2015). Entrepreneurs can acquire a business through the creation of a new venture, or through the purchase of an existing business or franchise, and the successfulness of this relies on the entrepreneur to assess the amount of “ambiguity in the situation and their own level of expertise” (Murmann & Sardana 2013 p.192). You need to know what skills you have, what you are capable of learning, and how these match to the characteristics of the business you are looking to enter or purchase. The great thing about entrepreneurs in health care is their capacity to see an opportunity within a new idea or existing venture to fill a gap in the market, and are willing to work on mitigating risk to achieve success.
I believe one of the biggest factors that can really set apart a great entrepreneur in health care is the ability to be resilient. It is such an important concept, often overlooked. When we are talking about taking on risk, having a go, thinking of innovative ideas to solve problems – we must stop and realise that this is also associated with changes of ideas failing, things not going as planned, and “busyness” launching ideas. A successful entrepreneur needs to be able to bounce back from these setbacks, learn from them and still be willing to get an alternative way a try. We frequently instil this in our clients in health care – encouraging them to continue to work hard on their goals, despite obstacles, and we help facilitate ways to challenge themselves, and complete the steps required for their outcome. So is the same in the world of the entrepreneur and building our own resilience is especially important.
Resilience is “the ability to respond to disturbance without regressive behaviour” (Morisse & Ingram 2016, p4) and requires the entrepreneur to bounce back and continue to maintain business growth despite difficulties and challenges. It is an important quality of entrepreneurs and develops as a result of their interaction with their environment, and their experience over time. When faced with challenges or stresses in small business, entrepreneurs are able to use internal and external resources creatively to continue to move toward growth strategies (Ayala & Manzamo 2014).
When small business owners are faced with challenges or difficult situations, their beliefs about the ability to manage these, their sense of self-worth, and their inherent perseverance can affect their ability to continue on and achieve business success. An entrepreneur’s ability to manage change, challenges or extreme events, can be improved through the development of capacity management, robustness and stability, diverse offerings, flexibility, unique offerings, and contextual awareness (Morisse & Ingram 2016).
Resilience is a dynamic development of traits and skills over time, rather than one specific trait that occurs for the entrepreneur. Resilience in the entrepreneur allows the business owner to look toward the future despite the market or changes, and allows them to overcome difficult situations (Ayala & Manzano 2014). Research indicates that resilience is a learnt set of behaviours and attitudes over time and can be further developed. Resilience for the allied health practice owner would therefore be assumed to increase over time as they move through the stages of their business and overcome obstacles along the way. If you are seeking to be a successful entrepreneur you need to start with looking within. What are your skills – and how do they match to your ideas and wishes? Are there gaps that need filling and how will you achieve that? What is your resilience like? Have a go at completing an online resilience scale. Can you bounce back when things get tough? How can you build your resilience over time? These are the questions we all need to ask ourselves as entrepreneurs.
Ayala, J & Manzano, G 2014, ‘The resilience of the entrepreneur. Influence on the success of the business. A longitudinal analysis’, Journal of Economic Psychology, vol. 42, pp. 126-135.
Jaafar, J, Hassan, S, Kadir, H & Yusof, H 2015, ‘Effect of training towards emotional intelligence (EQ) and entrepreneur culture: an analysis’, Procedia Economics and Finance, vol. 31, pp. 730-735.
Morisse, M & Ingram, C 2016, ‘A missed blessing: resilience in the entrepreneurial socio-technical system of bitcoin’, Journal of Information Systems and Technology Management, vol. 13, no. 1, pp. 3-26.
Murmann, J & Sardana, D 2013, ‘Successful entrepreneurs minimise risk’, Australian Journal of Management, vol. 38, no. 1, pp. 191-215.
Scarborough, NM & Cornwall, JR 2016, Essentials of entrepreneurship and small business management, 8th edn, Pearson Education Limited, Harlow.