What is an Entrepreneur?
You might have heard everyone around you talking about entrepreneurship and opening their own startup. 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? Does pro-bono consulting which creates value come under entrepreneurship? 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 define what an entrepreneur is. Let us see what the industry experts think of an entrepreneur.
While Oxford Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”, the Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an entrepreneur as “one who organizes, manages and assumes the risk of a business or enterprise”. According to BusinessDictionary, an entrepreneur is someone who “exercises initiative by organizing a venture to take benefit of an opportunity and, as the decision-maker, decides what, how, and how much of a good or service will be produced”. We think an entrepreneur is much more than that
Dan Zone, the former Editor of BusinessZone, believes an entrepreneur is someone who “sees an opportunity which others do not fully recognize, to meet an unsatisfied demand or to radically improve the performance of an existing business”. He has the self-belief to make any aspiration real with hard work and commitment.
According to the Economist, entrepreneurs are people who come up with new, innovative ideas and embody those ideas in high-growth companies.
Rory McGwire, the founder of The Marketing Donut, believes that “an entrepreneur is someone who, rather than working 8 hours a day for someone else, would prefer to work 18 hours a day himself”.
Marc Ventresca, a professor at the Said Business School, prefers to think of entrepreneurs as system builders, who create value by mobilizing and connecting disparate worlds.
Yoav Schwartz, the co-founder of Uberflip, says an entrepreneur is a person who would choose growth over profit and are utterly optimistic. A successful entrepreneur strives to deliver great results through perseverance.
Felix Thea, the owner of TrafficAndSales.com, believes that an entrepreneur is someone that can “sustainably serve an audience because they have a profitable business model”.
What Exactly Is An Entrepreneur?
Just like there is a big difference between a boss and a leader, there is a huge difference between an entrepreneur and someone who just runs a business.
An entrepreneur is not just his own boss. An entrepreneur is someone who is comfortable with uncertainty and long working hours provided he knows his freedom to bring his ideas to fruition shall not be compromised. An entrepreneur is someone who is willing to take huge risks to see concrete positive changes in the world through his work.
A true entrepreneur does not just talk about ideas but executes them in a stellar fashion as well. Entrepreneurs are disruptive and unstoppable. They are hustlers in the truest sense of the term.
An entrepreneur is someone who is not content with the current state of affairs and decides to take things into his own hands to bring a positive change in the world around him with his vision and scrappy attitude while accepting all the risks and hardships that come along with it.
So an entrepreneur can be anyone, even an employee in a big company who wants to lead and alter the direction of the company or his department for that matter or an independent consultant who wants to change how companies do business.
Even the biggest companies have started understanding this and realizing the importance of the “entrepreneurial spirit” in charting their own success story. That is why you would find that established giants like Cisco, Dell, American Express, Google etc. have started hiring such folks for positions like Entrepreneur-in-Residence that have only recently been created.
Entrepreneurs do not always need to innovate to be called one but they need to ensure that their solution and execution of it is unlike anything that has come before. The iPod was not the first music player, Uber was not the first cab service, Amazon was not the first e-commerce portal, Facebook was the not first social network and Microsoft Windows was not the first computer operating system. They succeeded because they revolutionized the industry they were in. They completely altered how people thought about these products.
Traditional economics says that a business is built on land, labour, and capital. While it is true, it is the entrepreneur who breathes life into these to build great products and presents them to the world for all to cherish and consume. No one is born an entrepreneur but you can be forged into one. And it starts with YOU too. As economist Israel Kirzner said, entrepreneurship is a process that leads to discovery. It is high time you discover yourself.
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