What makes for a successful business owner or entrepreneur during transformational economic times? I will admit that I have enjoyed nothing more than to listen to stories from entrepreneurs about how they transformed an idea into a thriving business. For anyone that is fortunate to work alongside these self-made
makers of strong companies, it’s truly inspiring to listen as they share their stories facing adversity or overcoming obstacles, regardless of economic conditions. While 2011 was proclaimed the year of the entrepreneur, the current market conditions and new competition will keep even these entrepreneurs on their toes. As the Canadian economy shows signs of economic improvement, what can we learn from the sentiment of Canada’s leading entrepreneurs?
Well, the Ivey Entrepreneur Index indicates that business confidence and optimism is on the rise. Twice annually, the index surveys graduates of the QuantumShiftTM program. These business owners and entrepreneurs lead high-growth companies; on average these companies are growing 25 per cent per year. The spring 2011 index was distributed to 280 entrepreneurs whose companies have average revenue of $30 million with an average of 380 employees.
The net increase in overall optimism about the Canadian economy reflected in the spring 2011 index, relative to the fall 2010 Index, is a whopping 20 point difference (89 per cent vs. 69 per cent) capturing
entrepreneurs’ forward-looking view. Not only do the business owners and entrepreneurs surveyed see positive prospects for their own businesses, they also foresee growth in the overall economy.
The results of the spring index see these business leaders as bullish and expecting to participate in the economic uptick. Ninety-two per cent of the 280 executives surveyed expect their company’s revenue to grow and 89 per cent expect their company’s profit to grow. These results may indicate a more stable economy is on the horizon.
What did these entrepreneurs do this year to help capitalize on current
They took care of their balance sheets over the past year, strengthening their financial position through improved operating results and taking full advantage of easing credit markets. Reading between the lines, these business owners have improved earnings and cash flow and expect to continue to grow and build value in their business. They are certainly adopting an optimistic outlook on their future growth.
Entrepreneurs have become smarter about how they run their businesses, having managed through a challenging couple of years. Adopting an optimistic viewpoint can certainly fuel the entrepreneur’s personal drive toward success, sparking the “can do” approach that leads to a competitive edge. Does this optimism lead entrepreneurs to take more risks? Does optimism help entrepreneurs take stock of business opportunities with an open mind, better enabling them to take advantage of transformational economic times? Does optimism unencumber them to make decisions and take action? The results of the Ivey Index survey certainly lead one to think so. Optimism coupled with the ability to embrace change is definitely “straw man” components for a business owner’s blueprint for business success.