Posted by: Nancy | June 20, 2009

Traits of a successful entrepreneur

Everybody should be an entrepreneur.

So says Neal Sharma, CEO of Digital Evolution Group, a 40-person Overland Park-based company delivering interactive web applications, enterprise software development, integrated e-commerce and related web solutions. He was the speaker at this month’s Technology Entrepreneur Speakers Program, sponsored by Missouri Small Business & Technology Development Centers and the Bloch School of UMKC.

Neal Sharma gives three reasons for his belief that entrepreneurship is for everyone. He introduces each reason with a single word that helps him tell the story that describes his views:

  • Think of a CAR. Would you rather be the driver or a passenger? He challenges that it’s riskier to be the passenger than the driver — just like in business. As passenger — or employee — you have to trust that the business acumen of the company’s leadership instead of trusting your own. “I’d rather control my own destiny,” he says.
  • Think of a couple of invitations to a PARTY. The first says come to a party from 7 to midnight, the second says come from 7 to ??? Which do you go to? “I’m going to the one without an ending time,” he says, “so I’m not limited by anything but my own potential.”
  • Every business is laying bricks. If you reduce every job to laying bricks, would you rather be laying bricks for a structure that’s an embodiment of your own beliefs and values — or someone else’s? It might be the difference between building outhouses for somebody else or building the CATHEDRAL you want.

Beyond his obvious zest for entrepreneurship, Neal also spoke about mistakes and challenges and other beliefs that drive him.

My favorite part of his discussion was when he spoke in words that I almost never hear in a CEO’s vocabulary — respect, dignity, humility, self improvement.

Can I put forth a thesis here? I predict that Neal will always be an entrepreneur — I think it’s in his nature — but I think his success comes from his understanding of the power of relationships.  “You treat people with dignity and respect,” he says. “How you treat people will always come back to you.”

It’s pretty simple, really.  Paraphrasing Neal: You have to believe that everyone has something to teach you, you have to believe that you can stand to be a better person, and you have to commit to working on that.

I found it refreshing to hear, especially coming from a young entrepreneur and leader who’s already familiar with success.  His respect for others sets him apart and — my guess — will drive his continued business success.

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