In a recent USA Today article, columnist Steve Strauss asked the question, What makes someone a great entrepreneur? Among the many successful business leaders he spoke with at the EY Strategic Growth Forum / Entrepreneur of the Year Awards was Andy Taylor, Executive Chairman of Enterprise Holdings. Here is how the writer describes their discussion:
Andy and I swapped stories about our dads, the entrepreneurs. Taylor’s father started Enterprise with one employee after WII. Taylor and his company … are obsessed with finding and nurturing great talent and … [are] driven far more by values than by profit.
This is not to say profit is not important, of course it is and must be for any entrepreneur. But in answering the question “what makes a great entrepreneur?” we see other things at play.
For example, Enterprise has created a company that really supports its employees and fosters intrapreneurship – the idea that motivating your staff as you would an entrepreneur is what works. For Enterprise, that means sharing local profits, giving branch managers a lot of autonomy, and promoting from within for a job well done.
So, what makes an entrepreneur great? Yes, it is the usual suspects – passion, obsession, risk-taking, teamwork and creativity, but it’s also something else, something a little less expected: