Toronto Entrepreneur's Thoughts – The Rising Importance of Personal Initiative for Business Leaders


Emily Lyons is a Toronto entrepreneur acclaimed as a “Woman of Influence.” She is the CEO and founder of Femme Fatale Media Group. In this brief piece, Emily's views on the importance of initiative for today's entrepreneurs in Toronto (and beyond) are presented.

“It will never rain roses: when we want to have more roses, we must plant more roses,” wrote George Eliot, the famed 19th century novelist – capturing in metaphorical form the truth that great things rarely happen without personal initiative.

And for entrepreneurs, in particular, the character trait of initiative – the willingness to act proactively (instead of responding reactively to circumstances), and the ability to act this way consistently despite obstacles – is practically a requirement for success.

It is also a character trait which will become ever more important to entrepreneurs and business leaders in the coming years – and decades.

So why do the business innovators of today need a stronger sense of personal initiative in order to succeed, compared to their 20th century counterparts?

There are two fundamental reasons why.

First, there is the reality that today's markets are beginning to experience hyper-competition – competition among firms to extreme degrees. Driving this hyper-competition is the globalization of business activities.

Globalization of business operations – made possible by internet technology –means that companies face competition not just from inside their home turf, but from other nations and regions, as well.

Second, innovation of all kinds – from technological innovation to business innovation – is proceeding at a breathtaking pace, spurred on by the unprecedented availability of information in virtually all fields and industries.

What is the consequence of such rapid innovation? From a business perspective, this rapid speed of innovation can quickly become a competitive advantage for a firm – but only if that firm can execute good ideas quickly, testing the potency of those ideas in the marketplace before a rival can do the same. And the willingness to execute new ideas is one of the signature features of initiative.

Because of this trend towards an extremely competitive marketplace, businesses commandeered by entrepreneurs who prioritize initiative – in themselves, as well as those they delegate tasks to – will have the greatest shot at succeeding and gaining traction in the marketplace (as well as securing investors). Not only that, but business leaders who lack a keenly-developed initiative will find themselves rapidly sinking under the great weight of competing forces.

The aspiring Toronto entrepreneur (and those elsewhere, too, of course), then, would be wise to seek out ways to hone the indispensable character trait of initiative – that willingness to make things happen, instead of standing around and waiting for something to happen.

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