The Drive Behind Entrepreneurship
There is so much more to entrepreneurship than just an obsession with money or material goods. This drive for success is often misinterpreted as a ‘hunger’ for money or the ability to call oneself ‘the boss’.
David Krige, an MBA graduate from the University of Stellenbosch and the head of operations at Launchlab, says that becoming an entrepreneur requires extraordinary levels of motivation. He goes on to explain that meaning and purpose are the reasons that this motivation keeps entrepreneurs going through even the harshest of business storms.
“Starting one’s own business is certainly not for everyone,” Krige says. “Yet many embark on this challenging journey not out of necessity due to poverty, downscaling or retrenchment as many in our country do, but out of a desperate desire to find meaning in their work and to make a difference.”
The study that Krige conducted, following the philosophy of Victor Frankl that suggests that meaning in one’s life is the primary motivation of man, found that indeed most entrepreneurs site purpose as their primary motivator, instead of money. But he goes on to explain that there can be no set rule, and that some are indeed motivated by money.
“There are some entrepreneurs driven by the financial rewards, and it is not an uncommon phenomenon that people are frustrated with their work and the role that it plays in their lives,” he says. “However, not everyone starts a new venture as a result thereof. Nor do they venture off with a new business simply because they feel they are not being paid their worth. Ensuring that their work plays an important role in finding meaning in their lives is the largest contributor.”
According to Krige, these “new ventures” are of critical importance for economic growth, and getting to know entrepreneurial intent will only benefit a projects success in the long run. “This will assist greatly in improving venture creation, and will influence the success of entrepreneurship by understanding how to motivate individuals.”
We keep speaking about meaning and where or how to find it, but what does “meaning” really mean? The Oxford English Dictionary defines as an “important or worthwhile quality; purpose”. Krige’s definition is fairly similar in that regard, yet he does go further to say that it’s an incredibly subjective experience and that it differs from person to person, and from one stage in life to another.
“People have different priorities such as providing for a family, starting a career, dealing with a difficult divorce, or planning to have a family,” he explains. “People also define meaning differently. For some it is to make a difference in the world, doing work that is valuable to others, solving a problem or helping others, and for others it’s the opportunity to make their own decisions, to provide a unique service to the industry, to make a difference in their own lives or to be autonomous.”
Starting an independent venture can be very risky and may be a difficult decision. For those that are toying with the idea of starting up a business independently, Krige mentions five things that suggest it may be the right decision. Firstly, breaking out on your own may be the right idea for you if you constantly feel demotivated at work. Secondly, if you lack the motivation needed to do great, life changing work, it might be because you’re stuck in the wrong job. Thirdly, if you feel that your job isn’t contributing to the greater good and this hinders your mental health. Fourth, does your job provide you with a sense of meaning? If not, then moving on is probably the best road for you, Krige says. Finally, change paths if you feel that you need to do something with more meaning.
If you’ve got a business idea, but no way to action it, why not get in contact with Launchlab? They take entrepreneurs through the processes needed to build a successful business. They have an extensive number of connections, and will use them to connect you with people in the same industry.
For more information, contact Launchlab directly via their website www.launchlab.co.za.