The Drive Be­hind En­trepreneur­ship

SLOW Magazine - - Contents - Text: Linda Chris­tensen Image © istockphoto.com

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.

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