The Entrepreneur Self-Test

Some of the many benefits of my job are meetings with entrepreneurs. Many of these individuals have gone through the University of Michigan and are living their dreams. Some of them lead companies, others buy and sell companies, and others invest in companies. Entrepreneurs are as different as can be. It would be hard to pick them out from a lineup.

 

But, there are two commonalities I see in them and that have now become two of the most important questions for me when students walk into my office.

 

Entrepreneurs, irrespective of age, are not defined by what they are, but rather by what they want to be. They cannot stop thinking of their companies, the way their inventions are going to change lives, and the tremendous opportunities that are in front of them.

 

This recognition has become the first question of a two-question entrepreneurship test that I use many times a day: what do you want to be? I couldn’t care less whether you are a freshman in Mechanical Engineering or a graduated MBA, a retired entrepreneur, or whether you are in a suit or in torn jeans: what do you want to be?  Do you want to change the world? Do you want to solve the big challenges of this century? Do you want to run your business?

 

And, there is a second question that distinguishes people dreaming about their future from others who are just having fantasies: what are you doing about it? That second question goes to the heart of the recognition that we control many aspects of our future. I always remember the joke of the man who prays each evening about becoming a Lotto millionaire. He prays for years and never wins anything. After ten years finally God speaks to him: “Help me out and buy a Lotto ticket”!!

 

Many would-like-to-be-entrepreneurs behave the same way. They have great dreams and aspirations, but they always move action to tomorrow. They even write proposals or talk about bringing in money, but they don’t fire on all cylinders. Sometimes, they come up with excuses that are perfectly reasonable– there are finals, there is lack of funding. But, entrepreneurs are not people that start tomorrow, they are people that get to it now.

 

So, you ask me, “Am I an entrepreneur?”

 

Well, what do you want to be, and what do you do about it?

 

Comments (10)
  • Max Ray

    February 6, 2009

    Hey thanks a lot for such a wonderful information. I was actually looking for these information for quite a long time and i believe i have landed at the right page. I really liked your ways of expressing thoughts. You write too well. Moreover your article contains some worthy information which i guess will help lot of people. Thanks once again. Keep up the good work. God bless you.

    Regards

    Max Ray
    Community Member
    AmPminsure

  • Turnkey Business

    April 23, 2009

    In my experience, the difference entrepreneurs and employees is the dreams. They all have a vision of what they want in life. Then they take action toward fulfilling that dream. No obstacle or excuse gets in the way. True entrepreneurs do not allow “can’t” into their thoughts, focusing only on the already achievement of their goals

  • Dana Forsythe

    December 3, 2010

    I was trying to find such information, but i didn’t find such information except here. This article is very rich in information. Thanks for this post.
    http://cfe.engin.umich.edu/blog/2008/10/the-entrepreneur-self-test/trackback

  • Probiotics Supplements

    December 3, 2010

    But, there are two commonalities I see in them and that have now become two of the most important questions for me when students walk into my office.
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  • ShyEntrepreneur

    October 13, 2011

    I would say that entrepreneurs see the business model for what it really is. Individuals who are under the belief that one must get a good education in order to get a good job and to ultimately make good money are adopting the employee paradigm.

    I believe each person is his or her first business and working as an employee is operating a business with one customer.

    Entrepreneurs seem to take a step back and question how value is created or how a need can be met.

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    December 12, 2011

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  • Latterkursus

    December 13, 2011

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  • Latterkursus

    December 19, 2011

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  • Skin Picking

    April 16, 2013

    Hey, adam here! Just found your blog through a friend and wanted to start at the beginning! Great post, I enjoyed it because I consider myself an entrepreneur… Anyways, I’ll be reading more!

  • flaier

    December 30, 2014

    Hi this is a good article. I’m going to e mail this to my pals. I came on this while exploring on google I’ll be sure to come back. thanks for sharing.
    Been searching everywhere on information regarding this. Really thanks a ton

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