Success doesn’t mean taking risks.

Before writing Entrepreneurial Intelligence, I shared a common held belief that most successful entrepreneurs were risk takers.

Researching content for the book, I came across countless articles and papers that would have you believe that neither governments, nor the community, can trust entrepreneurs because of the risks they take. Here was the proof I needed: countless men and women were risking everything for the possibility of making a few bucks.

But, as I dug deeper, I came to realise nothing could be further from the truth.
The fundamental premise of Entrepreneurial Intelligence is a simple, four-part formula, made up of one-part vision, one-part passion, another part called brand and a fourth part, a healthy dose of emotional intelligence.

Four parts to a formula that every entrepreneur needs to achieve success.

Vision is the foundation on which every great entrepreneur will build their success. Not some warm, fuzzy, ego statement, but a clear picture of what success will look like.

Nor is Passion a nebulous, narrow concept, but an underlying force in every entrepreneur – passion to succeed, passion for a particular hobby, passion for a particular thing – whatever it is, passion will transform what success looks like.

The third part of the formula in Entrepreneurial Intelligence is an innate understanding of, and the ability to harness, the power of brand! Far too many people view brand from a very narrow perspective – a logo, a particular style or a message, or a clever advertising line that appears to sum up the product’s promise. Such a one-dimensional view of brand is dangerous and wrong. Successful entrepreneurs don’t fall into this trap. They intuitively know that their brand is the key to building loyalty and generating repeat purchase and trial.

And, finally, the fourth part of the formula is that elusive, but essential power of Emotional Intelligence. Simply put, EI is an individual’s ability to be both aware of their own emotions, and the emotions of those around them, a trait employed to powerful effect by great leaders.

If that is the formula for entrepreneurial intelligence, and therefore, by default, entrepreneurial success, then how can those very same people be described as risk takers, a concept which is defined in the dictionary as the adoption of practices which are inherently dangerous.

The very notion of entrepreneurial intelligence defies taking risks. Successful people don’t take risks with their money. What they do is invest their money, their time and their energy in their vision. They do so with passion and by building a solid foundation through their brand. That is not about risk, or risk taking. That is about having confidence in the direction you want to take, having the necessary commitment to stay the distance while ensuring you have a market-focused structure in place that can empower the resources you apply to the journey, to make it happen.

Allan Bonsall
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