Resilience, confidence, awareness: Andrew Maren on the entrepreneurial spirit.

If you ever get the chance to chat with Andrew Maren, CEO and founder of the Fintech company ProfitShare Partners, somewhere in your conversation, you’ll hear him refer to the “entrepreneurial spirit”, that special something that sets entrepreneurs apart from others.

So, what does he mean by “entrepreneurial spirit”, and how can you tell if you have it? “True entrepreneurs all have several things in common,” Maren asserts. I’ll list these here and explain – but note that these are broad and by no means the only characteristics that entrepreneurs share.”

Risk-taker – not afraid of failure

“Entrepreneurs have that edge about them that enables them to take calculated risks,” says Maren. “However, it’s the courage to take a risk in combination with no fear of failure that makes this an attribute of the spirit. Many people can risk a fair bit – but then worry themselves into trouble and give up before getting the desired results. The entrepreneurial spirit takes risks and deals with what it brings. If, at first, they fail, it isn’t the end of the world or their idea – they’ll try again, this time with more knowledge.”

Future-orientated and highly adaptable

Maren notes that, while living in the moment, those with an entrepreneurial spirit are able to keep an eye on which current situations may present problems or opportunities in future. “We can’t give up every time a challenge arises,” he says. “When we can deal with today and be ready to deal with a very different tomorrow, we’re likely to be at the front of the queue, with a whole new set of ideas, when opportunities arise.”

Customer-orientated and efficient

“If you are in business for you, you’re in it for the wrong person.” According to Maren, the real entrepreneurial spirit is one that has found a way to contribute to society, the broader economy and themselves. “If you have a business idea that will make you rich, I guarantee it is one that is needed and/or wanted by your community and country – which is how anyone actually gets rich in business.” He adds that bringing a good product or service to your community is only half the battle won. “When your customers realise that you really care about them and meet their needs with efficiency, they’ll notice something about you. Your entrepreneurial spirit.”

Self-awareness and humility

“Firstly, it must be noted that self-awareness is not self-centeredness,” Maren warns. “Self-awareness is your ability to focus on yourself and how your thoughts, feelings and actions align with your ethics and values. It assumes that we know what our own standards are and align our business within that ethical framework.” The real entrepreneurial spirit may be competitive, quick to make decisions, able to negotiate to suit both the customer and themselves – but at their core, they are honest and transparent and less likely to cheat to get ahead, he says. “Humility,” Maren adds, “is defined as ‘the recognition and acceptance of reality through open-mindedness and truth. Humble leaders understand their own capabilities in relation to others and the situation at hand.’” This combination of awareness and humility, Maren says, is one that makes both customers and your own staff trust you with their business and their livelihoods.

“As noted before, these are not the only things those with an entrepreneurial spirit have in common, but they are apparent if you take a quick inventory of yourself and look out for them in others.”

Andrew Maren