Partner Piece – The Entrepreneur’s Shadow

February 16, 2021

The pandemic has created a social experiment where we all face difficulties and must pause to reflect and in some cases pivot. For those with an entrepreneurial spirit the current circumstances set them apart – they challenge conventional wisdom and see opportunities where others miss or dismiss them.


The hallmark of entrepreneur’s is a sense of curiosity that enables them to see a gap in the market and ask, “Why not?” That gap may be a product or service that just does not exist. This provides an opportunity for invention. Or the product or service may exist, yet can be significantly improved or adapted, to meet the more specific requirements of subsegments of the market. Here there is an opportunity for innovation. Hence the idea of an entrepreneur as a disruptor of the status quo.


However, business success does not only rely on the market opportunity and ‘what’s out there’.  It is also very much impacted by ‘what’s in here’: You.


Just as a business plan requires making assumptions and testing different scenarios, so too you need to examine what makes you tick. In your eagerness to get your idea off the ground have you taken the time to reflect and enquire to discover yourself?


Such self-knowledge may be dismissed as ‘touchy feely’ by the hard-nosed business person, yet most businesses do not fail simply because of their product or service. The downfall of the business is often due to the unconscious, stubborn, desperate or hasty decisions of the owners or leaders.


Entrepreneur’s are often very passionate, strong-willed and believe in themselves. These are important contributors to success. However, if overplayed they can lead to blind spots and poor decision making.  Do not just assume you know what makes you tick. You need to dig deeper to uncover what your real drivers, ambitions and fears are.


Paul O’Donnell is a Bluebox Ambassador, an investment banker turned business consultant and serial entrepreneur. Sylvana Caloni is a leadership coach who works with clients internationally. Previously she was a bond trader and equity analyst. They have brought together their considerable experience and insights into a concise and easy-to-read book Humble Crumbles: Savouring the crumbs of wisdom from the rise and fall of Humble Pie published by Powerhouse Publications and available in paperback and ebook on Amazon.

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