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The Entrepreneur's Toolbox

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Claudette Rowley

The Entrepreneur's Toolbox
Claudette Rowley
Copyright 2003

Entrepreneurship is largely an inside out proposition. Whether
you're trying to create a technology or develop a product,
entrepreneurship starts with who you are, and blossoms out from
there. In other words, as an entrepreneur, your style is unique
to you. You can take every class on how to "do" entrepreneurship
- learn business strategy until you could teach at the Harvard
Business School, and network until you know everyone in the
phonebook. While the knowledge base required for entrepreneurial
success in your field is critical, no one can tell you how to
"be" an entrepreneur. That you must discover for yourself.

In my experience, entrepreneurs of all stripes require an
internal skill set that I call the Entrepreneur's Toolbox. These
tools, just as much as what's happening in the business
environment, can make or break the fulfillment of your
entrepreneurial vision.

The Tools:

Intuition - Intuition is knowing something without knowing how
you know. In other words, it's a form of inner guidance or "gut
feeling" that allows you to know things that your rational mind
can't. Developing your intuition is critical to your
entrepreneurial success. Sometimes it's all you've got.

Self-trust - Believe in yourself. Trust your intuition.
Understand that your idea, your vision, or your product is needed
in the world. True innovation can't exist without self-trust.
Innovation requires us to leap into the unknown. Unless you
trust, you won't leap.

Vision - This is your ability to establish the big picture of
what you want, and pursue it. It's closely tied with passion.
Have a BIG vision. It's much easier to scale back a grand vision
than it is to amp up a small one. Big visions are based in
passion and generate enormous energy.

Passion - If you're not passionate about your idea or vision,
what's the point of pursuing it?

Human resources - Any successful entrepreneur will tell that she
didn't do it alone. She drew on the experts she needed to build
her business. She also developed and maintained a group of
people who continued to believe in her when she forgot to believe
in herself. This is crucial.

Risk taking - The tolerance and ability to take risks is
paramount for any entrepreneur. We don't get guarantees in
advance, as much as we'd like them. Sometimes not taking a risk
is the biggest risk of all.

Openness to change - Many people resist change. As entrepreneurs,
we must embrace it. By putting a vision, idea or innovation out
into the world, we expand what's possible, and in doing so,
change the status quo.

Recognition of self-sabotage - We all do it. At some point in
time, we've all sabotaged ourselves out of fear. The key to
dealing with self-sabotage is to recognize it. Signals to
recognizing self-sabotage: You notice yourself comparing yourself
to others, you judge yourself as not being good enough, or you
hear your "inner critic" saying things like "soon everyone will
realize what a fraud you are."

Head and Heart - To make sound decisions, you need both. When we
only listen to one, we list to the side and veer off course, the
way a car does when it's out of alignment and you let go of the
steering wheel. Often there's a misconception that heart, or
emotion, doesn't belong in business. It very much does. Your
ability to be aware of and use your emotions effectively will aid
in your success.

Honoring your gifts - I'm convinced that fully acknowledging your
gifts - to yourself, first and foremost - will catapult your
business and your life into bold new arenas. Here's why: When you
don't acknowledge your gift of, for example, building businesses
or innovating new technologies, you hold back from full self
expression. When you don't acknowledge your gifts, you can't
capitalize on your innate human resources. YOU are your business'
most valuable resource. Honor what you don't do well - In fact,
know it well and compensate for it. Too often, I hear people beat
themselves over the head with statements like, 'Well, I should do
my own bookkeeping" when the last time they balanced their
checkbook was 1978. Know your weaknesses. Compensate for them by
hiring or bartering or getting someone to do the task for you.

Each one of us carries these tools around with us at all times.
The question is whether we tap into them or not.
Entrepreneurship is a process of self-discovery. At the same
time that you introduce a new product or process into the world,
you uncover new awareness about yourself. Use these tools to not
only grow your businessPsychology Articles, but yourself.

Coach and author Claudette Rowley helps entrepreneurs harness
their potential and soar to new heights of prosperity and
fulfillment. Contact her today for a free coaching session at 781-676-5633 or Sign up for her free
newsletter "Insights for Savvy Entrepreneurs" at

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Coach and author Claudette Rowley helps entrepreneurs harness their potential and soar to new heights of prosperity and fulfillment. Contact her today for a free coaching session at 781-676-5633 or Sign up for her free newsletter "Insights for Savvy Entrepreneurs" at

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