Finding the ENTREPRENEUR in You

Thursday 2nd March, 2017

‘I am really good at many things, but I am not an entrepreneur.’ This statement was sincerely said, without any false modesty, or negativity, by one of my close mates at a boys’ night out a few weeks ago. We were talking about our professional ’sweet spot’, so it made sense that he was defining himself, but I have been thinking about it ever since.

You are probably thinking that it was/is a perfectly reasonable statement for someone to make about themselves and if you know me, you will know I am not the type to over-analyse things, but still, the I am not an entrepreneur part niggled me. After all, from a background of middle middle-class, hands-off-ish parents and a relatively sedentary upbringing, my mate is now an involved dad, the CEO of a highly successful company and an endurance athlete.

My mate is, indisputably, a successful innovator in life. Yet, he excludes himself from the rank of ENTREPRENEURS.I get it and I don’t. I get it because the word is scary. Entrepreneur invokes images of tremendous success: Uber, Google, Silicon Valley angels, private equity and my personal favourite, teen donut mogul, Morgan Hipworth of Bistro Morgan.

I don’t get it because when you strip it down to basics entrepreneur is really just a word that describes someone who take a thing/process/product and makes it better: better rides, better search experiences and better donuts.

So, let’s put down the impossible weight of the word, entrepreneur, in its modern interpretation, and go back to its French origins, meaning one who undertakes; at which point we can all be entrepreneurs.

The thing is, we can’t all be giants a la Steve Jobs, but we can all certainly do better and be more.

My business partners and I named our business Evolve for two entrepreneurial reasons. Firstly, because we knew we could do a better job at what we had been doing for a long time. We could take talent to a better place. Finding ways to innovate, however marginally, and work with people who believe the same. We evolve all the time, our business model, delivery model, technology, processes and our interactions with our clients as well as our staff and each other.

The second reason for the name – Evolve – is that talent is all about maximising (evolving) human potential on many different levels; from individual development to holistic enterprise-wide people strategy. You have heard that a business is only as good as its people, well, we say for a business to be entrepreneurial and innovative, it needs to look at its people with an entrepreneurial lens. Better talent in every way.

We are entrepreneurs because we choose to undertake to do better. That’s the macro take on things.

On the micro level, each of us under the category of human beings can choose to be entrepreneurial in small ways; walk 11,000 steps (why stop at 10,000?), read that book (rather than let it be the coaster on your bedside table), use the language app you downloaded last year, or start the business plan for your great idea. Do whatever, but do it - a little better, today. Undertake and who knows where your small undertakings might lead…

The next time I see my mate, I will tell him he is an entrepreneur.


Gareth Jones is Evolve’s Chief Customer Officer and one of our co-founders. To read Gareth’s take on exceptional leadership qualities, please follow this link.