On a Key Trait of the Entrepreneur


Lately, much of my reading has focused on that rare breed of business leader known as “entrepreneurs.” As I’ve studied the maverick product designer and the venture capitalist, I’ve come to appreciate the parallels they have to┬áthe nonprofit sector. In particular, I’ve been taken aback by how start-ups have to deal with an environment of limited resources.

The difference is that, in the nonprofit sector, we tend to relate to the context of “not enough” from the place of deficiency: There’s a finite amount of charitable dollars for which we must compete, and that’s what we get to work with. Resource constraints become our ceilings and walls.

In contrast, entrepreneurs tend to relate to “not enough” as a constraint to be transcended: It is not something that one should allow to stop them, but rather a bar over which we must leap. Resource constraints become our floor.

When you butt up against “not enough,” are you choosing to be stopped by it? Or are you choosing to reach beyond it?