A look at what creates entrepreneurial spirit and how to turn it into a successful mindset – By Bev James

Bev James - Founder and MD of EBAEntrepreneur is a term bandied about by many these days, especially in an economic climate where it is not just desirable to be of the entrepreneurial persuasion but something to be greatly admired.

Some business people may talk wistfully of an associate having entrepreneurial talents or being a ‘true entrepreneur’ but do we really know what makesan entrepreneur and, more to the point. what makes asuccessful entrepreneur?


Because there is a difference! You may have an entrepreneurial spirit but you may not be able to translate that spirit into an entrepreneurial mindset – it is the mindset that often means the difference between success and failure for many entrepreneurs.

So how do you know if you have the entrepreneurial spirit, or to put it more simply “How do you spot an entrepreneur at 100 paces?”

If you are looking at someone who has most if not all of the following characteristics, then chances are you are looking at an entrepreneur:

  • Brimming with confidence backed up by a strong self image
  • Enthusiastic and always keen to take action
  • Brave: able to feel the fear, but will go for it anyway
  • Passionate about everything they do which translates into abundant energy
  • Innovative and creative – able to spot opportunities that others may miss
  • Full of ideas and unfailingly optimistic

Sound familiar? It should do, most of us have one or two of these qualities, but the successful entrepreneurial will display most if not all of them. However, many people, despite an abundance of these traits fail to take advantage of them and don’t turn it into success.

The word entrepreneur has become inextricably linked with the concept of a successful businessperson, despite the fact that you can have an entrepreneurial spirit (see the characteristics above) but not have the right skills or mindset to turn it into success.

This is why coaching, specifically business coaching, has become so popular with entrepreneurs, senior executives and CEOs. It takes that spirit and shows you how to turn it into success by having the right mindset.

The successful entrepreneur will also display:

  • A sense of urgency tempered by self discipline
  • A vision that is future focused and objective
  • The ability to set and stick to goals
  • Determination fuelled by confidence and passion
  • Predisposition for calculated risk-taking and defying the norms
  • And a head for business, which is essential for any successful entrepreneur

How coaching can turn the entrepreneurial spirit into success
Mindset is the watchword of 2009. With the economic downturn in full swing and looking set to last for some time, having the right mindset can make the difference, not between spirit and success, but more importantly between success and failure.

So how does coaching bring about that mindset – the one that will show you success? It does so by addressing the common issues that many entrepreneurs face, dealing with those issues and turning them into strengths.

Lack of objective judgement, difficulty maintaining focus, inability to take action, poor follow through and fear of failure are the downsides of the impressive characteristics listed above. These are the common challenges that you, and many other entrepreneurs, may face.

An entrepreneur’s strength of passion, confidence, ideas, optimism and bravery can often dim the very important light of the practicalities of success. A coach will enable you to compartmentalise and see where your strengths are actually becoming weaknesses so that you can address them and reverse the trend.

To be successful you must be able to have the IDEA; recognise the right OPPORTUNITY; take appropriate ACTION; ensure FOLLOW THROUGH and drive the project to COMPLETION. If any of these pieces are missing then the picture is not complete and success may always be just out of reach. A coach helps to bring all the pieces together and create the right mindset needed.

Entrepreneurs can benefit immensely from coaching as it is often the chalk to the entrepreneurial cheese. A coach will help the entrepreneurial mind to externalise, use objectivity, be focused, break the vision down to a logical sequence of actions and, most importantly, to challenge itself and be accountable.

The Accountability of the Entrepreneur
Accountability is a core part of the coaching process. Being accountable impacts so many issues faced by business people, especially the entrepreneur. So if you are missing a piece of your ‘success puzzle’ then coaching and accountability can often be the answer.

Being accountable does not simply mean that you have to turn up to the next session having done your ‘homework’. Accountability is a mindset and an approach that should run through everything you do, making you more effective and dynamic.

Accountability of the entrepreneur results in:

  • Turning passion and energy into consistently performing to maximum potential
  • Encourages a continual ‘raising of the bar’ on achievements
  • Keeping the vision focused and on track – less apt to be overwhelmed with ideas
  • Removing ‘limiting beliefs’ – accountability highlights each success and achievement
  • Crystallising larger goals into specific steps to ensure action continues and passion remains

Accountability and coaching are both extremely empowering tools for the entrepreneur, because you do the work, not your coach. All the answers, techniques and mindset are already within, and your coach will enable you to bring them out through a process of understanding, motivation, clarity, accountability and challenge. Without this process many potentially successful entrepreneurs may remain simply spirited.

The Entrepreneur and the Credit Crunch
Now is the time to recognise your entrepreneurial spirit for what it is and take action to turn it into success. Those who plan, build and develop during these difficult economic times will be the ones to flourish as we move out of the recession.

An entrepreneurial spirit will see the current climate as a great opportunity and challenge to succeed and thrive where others are failing. The successful entrepreneur will ensure they take action, driving forward to completion; they will have all the pieces of their puzzle and will be able to utilise each one to achieve their success – not just dream about it.

By Bev James
Founder and MD of
Entrepreneurs Business Academy