The engineer and the balloonist part 2.

At the start of the last blog I told the joke about the hot air balloonist and his ability to identify the person on the ground as an engineer. There is a second part to that joke. It goes as follows:

The person below responded, “You must be in Management.” “I am,” repliedthe balloonist, “but how did you know?””Well,” said the engineer, “you don’t know where you are or where you’re going. You have risen to where you are due to a large quantity of hot air. You made a promise which you’ve no idea how to keep, and you expect people beneath you to solve your problems. The fact is you are in exactly the same position you were in before we met, but now, somehow, it’s my fault.”

This part of the joke also reminds me of many of the potential entrepreneurs that come my way. So often they believe that they have the answer to the world’s problems but that there failure is really the fault of the myopic potential punter.

Far too often they look to blame everyone and everything rather than accepting that they may have something that no one actually wants. One such case blamed every possible person, from local authorities for their rules, law enforcement for their desire to not hand over responsibilities to any Tom, Dick or Harry, businesses for preferring a far more efficient alternative and venture capitalist for failing to push endless streams of money into the scheme with no prospect of a return.

The reality was that it was a solution that sounded great on paper, but which was wrongly conceived, badly implemented and which the entrepreneur would not change even as the world changed about him.

One of the key success criteria for a budding entrepreneur is the willingness to take responsibility for their own actions. There is no guarantee of success, and simply labeling yourself an entrepreneur does not make you one.

Unlike the balloonist, the true entrepreneur is the one that sets out knowing where they want to go, can recognise when the wind is not taking them there and has the ability to take responsibility, land and plot a new route rather than floating around waiting for the wind to change.

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