Successful Entrepreneurs Learn First

The APPRENTICE is a type of new venture novice who is moving through the learning curve (curve hasn't flattened out yet). Those in this entrepreneurial profile type are referred to as "APPRENTICES" because of their interest and willingness to acquire venture capital and entrepreneur start up skills.

Essentially, you have a knowledge of the entrepreneurial script (the pattern for achieving success in a new business venture), and you show a high desire to be involved in a new business venture (ready to take action to make it a reality you'd rather "plunge in" than miss a great opportunity). In fact, this combination makes the APPRENTICE a potential expert. What's missing, however, is the capability to discern the progress of a new venture. Consequently, most wise APPRENTICES leave the venturing to others until this capability is more developed. (The APPRENTICE is unaware of the detailed and highly-complex patterns of knowledge required for success in venturing). At this point, you lack the depth of discernment to detect whether or not a venture is in compliance with its "success script" (knowing when a venture is "on" or "off" course). You're also lacking the experiential learning that characterizes great entrepreneurs.

Therefore, your first ventures on your way to be a successful entrepreneur are likely to be troublesome (some even failing) since the gaps in your expertise are filled with guesswork, and the supply of resources (cash, contacts, experience, infrastructure, technology) is low. However, should you persist and learn from your mistakes, there is great hope that your understanding and ability will develop.

What You Should Do

This is the most promising entrepreneurial type, especially when a mentor can help during the learning process (to lessen and moderate the scale and scope of expected initial failures). Your best course of action would be to ally yourself with an expert (or experts) and "learn the ropes" before you undertake a new venture on your own.

If you are an APPRENTICE who wishes to become involved in launching a new business opportunity, an internship or an entrepreneur program would provide an ideal vehicle to facilitate the venture capital process. If you are already into a new venture and are experiencing turbulence, you should form an advisory board of experienced venture capitalists (try to find advisors who show up as EXPERTS on the Entrepreneur IQ profile, if possible). Also, it is possible that an experienced start up venture capitalists may be available through the federally funded SCORE program (retired executives), who would be willing to help on a regular basis. Outside mentorship programs, we will also help you as an entrepreneur develop skills to acquire investors, private equity funds, and venture capital interest. Each, or a combination of all these ideas have the potential to make an EXPERT from an APPRENTICE.

Dr. Ronald K. Mitchell is a specialist in entrepreneurial cognition, global entrepreneurship, and venture management. He developed the Entrepreneur Assessment which won the acclaimed Heizer Award for this groundbreaking research. Find out more at

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