What is an Entrepreneur? – Characteristics & Types

You might have heard everyone around you talking about entrepreneurship and opening their own startups. You might have yourself considered opening one.

Entrepreneurship is the “cool” thing to pursue in this age. Yet so many people are confused over what or who an entrepreneur is.

What does it really take to become one?

Is it just a businessman? Or is it a conceptualist or an “ideator”?

Can one become an entrepreneur without innovation?

Are some people born entrepreneurs or can someone be developed to become one?

Can someone call himself an entrepreneur if he does not own a company but is a leader and innovator in his own space?

The opinions are so divided and the questions so varied that we decided we had to do something about it. It was time to put an end to all this confusion and crisply explain what entrepreneur means and how to differentiate it from self-employed and other similar entities.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is an innovative initiator who acts upon opportunities and takes the responsibility to translate ideas into commercially viable innovation, entities, or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.

This definition of entrepreneur stands on five pillar key phrases. These are –

  • He is innovative: An entrepreneur is seen as an innovator – someone who is a source of new ideas, offerings, businesses, or initiatives. 
  • He is an initiator: An entrepreneur is the beginning of an initiative, a project, or a business. He’s the one who decides to build upon an idea and turn it into something bigger than just a mental construct.
  • He takes the responsibilities: The entrepreneur is the backbone of a venture. He’s the one who takes the responsibility of its success or failure from the start and the one who handles the venture’s growth direction and speed.
  • He finds and builds value: An entrepreneur is someone who not only ideates, but the one who converts the mental construct into a valuable innovation, entity, or business. He finds the apt direction for the idea to grow and builds it till it transforms into something valuable.
  • He takes more than normal risks: The entrepreneur has the highest stake in the venture, both mentally and financially. He’s the one who’s ultimately responsible for the success or failure of the venture. This makes his job riskier than normal jobs.
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But contrary to the common belief, one doesn’t have to be associated with a startup to be an entrepreneur. There are entrepreneurs, known as intrapreneurs, within companies who help the company develop new offerings, plans, models, etc. There are infopreneurs who are innovative initiators of information-based offerings who find opportunities and build a venture by bridging knowledge deficiency among the target audience.

No matter who they are or what they’re associated with, these entrepreneurs possess some identical yet distinct characteristics.

Entrepreneur Characteristics

Entrepreneurial spirit is a phrase often used by many but not understood by most. This spirit is the set of entrepreneurial traits that most famous entrepreneurs like Mark Zuckerberg, Jeff Besos, etc. possess.

Here are some of these entrepreneur characteristics –

  • Self-Motivated: Entrepreneurs are highly self-motivated individuals with an inherent burning desire to innovate and create. They have tremendous faith in themselves and their ideas which keeps them going in spite of all the obstacles. Decisiveness: Entrepreneurs need to make very hard decisions quickly that affect them and their venture’s fate. All of the workers, employees, and other stakeholders depend on their decisions. Hence, they can’t afford to be indecisive. 
  • Risk Tolerance: Entrepreneurship involves higher than normal risk-taking, which often results in failure and losses too. An entrepreneur accepts risks in return of success.
  • Creativity: Entrepreneurs are creative enough to see business opportunities where others don’t.
  • Optimism: Optimism and positivity help the entrepreneur go ahead in his path of high risks and tough obstacles. 
  • Future Orientation: An entrepreneur always thinks of the future before making any decision. All his decisions are oriented towards a big long-term gain rather than small short-term gains.
  • Independent: Entrepreneurs think outside the box and are not swayed by others who don’t agree with their ideologies. 
  • Flexibility: Entrepreneurs are flexible enough to try and do most of the tasks they can. They are also flexible to pivot and change their goals as and when required. 
  • Adventurous Mindset: Entrepreneurs choose this profession because of their adventurous mindset – that make it enticing for them to bet big to gain big.

Types Of Entrepreneurs

Entrepreneurship is a mindset found in small businesses, big companies, startups, social entities, and web-entities alike. Here are the five types of entrepreneurs that exist today –

Small Business Entrepreneurs

These are usual business owners who innovate and take more than normal risks. Often times, these entrepreneurs don’t disrupt the entire industry, but they do make a name for themselves and their businesses.

That being said, they are definitely different from usual business owners considering their innovative mindset and risk-taking attitude.

Also Read:  Understanding The Innovation Adoption Lifecycle

Entrepreneur vs Businessman

A businessman is an individual who runs a business, undertaking an unoriginal idea which might not involve more than normal risks.

Entrepreneurs, on the other hand, ideate and work on innovative concepts which involve more than normal business and financial risks.

Entrepreneur Businessman
Definition An entrepreneur is an innovative initiator who acts upon opportunities and takes the responsibility to translate ideas into commercially viable innovation, entities, or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks in order to do so.   A businessman is an individual who runs a business, undertaking an unoriginal idea which might not involve more than normal risks.  
Market position Market player Market leader
Risk undertaking Less risks High risks
Purpose of business To earn profit To solve a problem better / change the world / disrupt an industry / make a difference in the world

Scalable Startup Entrepreneurs

A startup is a business structure powered by disruptive innovation, high scalability, and extreme uncertainty.

Entrepreneurs behind startups are true disruptors that often change the traditional industries. These entrepreneurs are highly innovative but often bear a very high financial risk as they’re accountable to investors for millions of dollars invested.

Large Company Entrepreneurs

Also called intrapreneurs, these entrepreneurs actually perform the job of an entrepreneur within a company.

Precisely –

An intrapreneur is an employee with entrepreneurship skills who is given the responsibility and authority to use those skills to develop a new product without incurring the risks associated with it.

That is, if the product fails, the company will take care of it.

Intrapreneurs are half entrepreneurs – they do innovate and develop new offerings, businesses, initiatives, etc. but they get salaries in return, and they don’t bear all the risks of failures.

Social Entrepreneurs

Social entrepreneurs are individuals who innovate and develop an offering, entity, or business to help solve a social problem.

They are driven by a social objective and are not money-minded.

Infopreneurs

Infopreneurs are entrepreneurs who develop an offering, business, or an initiative to solve the problem with the information they have rather than an offering.

Most people know them as bloggers, vloggers, journalists, etc. But not all bloggers and vloggers are infopreneurs. An infopreneur is someone who innovates and starts a new information-focused venture, taking more than normal business and financial risks.

Go On, Tell Us What You Think!

Did we miss something?  Come on! Tell us what you think about our article on what is an entrepreneur? in the comments section.

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