The Development Source

What Can Proposal Professionals Learn from Entrepreneurs?

I admire entrepreneurs, although I certainly do not consider myself one. From my uncle who built a successful mattress and box spring factory in my hometown from scratch to today’s Silicon Valley titans, entrepreneurs seem to have certain traits in common regardless of their interests.

In a recent article in the Huffington Post, Joe Van Brussel discussed the things entrepreneurs do differently from the rest of us. I will apply some of them to proposal professionals because I think we can adapt many entrepreneurial traits to our own day-to-day tasks.

They are brave enough to take risks. Entrepreneurs have the confidence to take risks and feel comfortable functioning in an uncertain environment.

They think of their customers more than they think of themselves. Although we often tend to think of entrepreneurs as giant egoists, in the business world they often are relentlessly customer-oriented.

They never stop learning. For me, one of the most admirable traits of entrepreneurs is their willingness and ability to keep learning – from everybody and from everything around them.

They are tenacious and rarely give up. Entrepreneurs are optimists and believe that persistence will lead to success.

They do not mind failing. There are no successes without failures. Entrepreneurs try to benefit from their mistakes and failures and learn to “fail better,” in the words of Samuel Beckett, the next time.

They find and fill needs. Entrepreneurs understand that the way to success involves solving problems and satisfy peoples’ needs.

Whether you are a proposal professional in a modest cubicle or in the front office, these are traits that can benefit you and your organization. Find ways to think and act more like an entrepreneur, and you and your proposals will improve.

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