Lessons About Entrepreneurship by Christopher Columbus

Lecciones acerca de cómo ser un emprendedor, por Cristóbal Colón.

 

The proposal for a day like today is to observe and analyze Christopher Columbus through the eyes of an entrepreneur. Columbus was an explorer and an adventurer who had all the characteristics to be recognized today as a 100% entrepreneur.

Christopher Columbus’ project of Christopher Columbus was a unique and risky adventure, an expedition to the Indies something that at that time was almost a challenge to death. And this project was latent in his mind and in his spirit long before sailing, he began his adventure even before to get ready his emblematic boats, La Santa Maria, La Niña and La Pinta. And his project, as any current business project, was plagued with difficulties in finding sponsors to guarantee financing large enough to perform the feat.

Stay Positive and Motivated

Columbus had mistaken in his calculations, his business plan was based on erroneous data and crazy calculations, but still, he did not lose confidence in himself and went looking for investors for his project.

First attempted with maritime travel expert at that time, Portugal. But King Juan II of Portugal consulted with three experts about the Columbus’ plan and rejected his proposal. Furthermore, Portugal had reached Asia via Cape Horn so the Columbus’ proposal was not found innovative.

Christopher Columbus was not discouraged and continued to seek investors in exchange for 10% of revenue generated, the title of Admiral of the Ocean and the government of everything he found.

He continued to seek finance for his project, insisted in England, Genoa and Venice, and in all those places his plan was rejected.

That was how he could get an interview, after establishing strategic and important contacts, with the kings of Spain, Fernando and Isabel. He shared with them his desire to venture into the ocean to find wealth on the other side of it. The Spanish kings, advised by examination boards, gave up the idea of ​​support him.

But after six years of insisting, he managed to convince them to contribute in financing the trip. And that it was how he could depart on August 3, 1492 from the port of Palos with three ships that would lead him to discover, unintentionally, a new continent riddled with natural riches that he had never even imagined simply because he did not know their existence.

As is common in some enterprises, he committed miscalculations and this resulted in underestimating the risks of the journey taking less provisions than the necessary for the number of days they were at sea. But also like many others, he had the confidence and stubbornness necessary to continue with the project, even if all distrusted his vision. Because of these characteristics, among others, we can recognize in the figure of Christopher Columbus. He was a genuine entrepreneur that from a distant position on the timeline, still can teach us many things:

Learn from the Past

The confidence overcame the negativity around him. He worked on his self-confidence so that generated confidence around him giving him the chance to achieve his dream.

Considering that confidence, we can infer his leadership. Columbus could convince the right people to fund his idea. He also knew how to handle people in his crew so when tempers were declining, he encouraged them rekindled in them the yearning to reach the end of the trip to get your reward. This is how entrepreneurs must lead their crew to achieve the goals that have been imposed.

Take Risks

The ability to take risks made him a personality in world history. He beat the midst of failure and assumed the risks that the adventure brought with it. No one can guarantee the success of a venture before realizing it, the only way to know how you’ll do is trying. To take risks we allow ourselves to innovate and thus achieve success.

Leverage Your Connections

His positioning capability enabled him to obtain funding for his adventure. Christopher Columbus had connection with different personalities of the Catholic church and that was how he achieved an interview with the kings of Spain. An entrepreneur must learn to join the surrounding environment, creating links and connections, standing in the center to extend their networks and lead it.

Christopher Columbus could create his own way, a new one that brought to him an unusual destination. Perhaps some may say that role in the universal history was thanks to errors and accidents but that does not take merit to the whole process of development which had his project.

His enthusiastic spirit and his constant curiosity were those that led him to discover a new continent. And this desire must nurture to the entrepreneurs. The desire to innovate and undertake can change the lives of many.