EntrepreneurA Lifestyle - a Vocation
Entrepreneur – How Others Describe it.
The question “what is an entrepreneur” has been answered in many ways by different people. For example, I’ve seen the following definition of, “essentially, an entrepreneur is a person who starts a new business venture”, as well as an interpretation by Richard Branson who said, “Entrepreneurial thinking is all about problem solving”.
Apparently, the word “Entrepreneur” was used by the Economist Jean-Baptiste Say (according to Investopedia) and is usually translated as “adventurer”. “Say” pointed out in his own writings that it was entrepreneurs who sought out inefficient uses of resources and capital to then move them into more productive, higher yield areas. This would indicate that entrepreneurs are “profit driven” adventurers, creating new products and markets while doing so.
Dictionary.com describes an entrepreneur as “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk”. I like that definition, because of the fact that every entrepreneur must indeed balance the creative, innovative and adventure side of an idea or project with the risk he or she is taking.
Entrepreneur – My Interpretation
Entrepreneurs are also artists or inventors. I would argue that, as innovators, they are constantly looking for new opportunities to create or improve. A chef for instance, can be called an entrepreneur, as he or she is always looking for the next best recipe. The flip-side of the chef’s example is however, that a chef may not have the business sense to develop or morph his/her idea into an actual business. See my article about the “Chef’s Syndrome“. Thus, may not be a true entrepreneur, right?
I myself, when I left Gillette, had to weigh getting another corporate job against starting my own business. Getting another job would mean following rules and policies and procedures of that particular company. Starting my own business, I needed an idea, a product or service, and would have to organize and manage all of the above myself, at personal risk of not making money. And as per Richard Branson’s comment above, I would have to be the leader of problem solving.
Problem solving in the entrepreneurial world does not just mean solving a problem when something has gone wrong. No, far from it, entrepreneurs more often than not try to solve a problem that others don’t even see or know exists. Take the cellphone for instance, invented by Martin Cooper. He must have thought one day while shopping for his wife, how on earth do I know what lettuce to buy?! Why can’t I quickly call her to find out? An every day problem presented itself and Martin with his entrepreneur hat on may have thought, how can I call my wife with a phone, without a wire, and solve my lettuce issue? That’s the entrepreneurial thought process and spirit!
Entrepreneur – Final Thoughts
Entrepreneurial-ism is all about trail-blazing, finding solutions, following a path of adventure in territories, of (mostly) business, you and sometimes no one has ever gone. Most likely with a profit target as ultimate goal, although some entrepreneurs simply do so for fun and recognition. As an entrepreneur you must be able to handle the “roller coaster” lifestyle, because one day you make money, the next day you don’t. One day everything is working, the next day nothing works. Sometimes you wish Murphy was the cause (i.e. Murphy’s law), at least you had an explanation of why things are not falling into place. And then suddenly, everything falls into place and it is wonderful to call yourself an “entrepreneur”!
by Hans van Putten
Entrepreneur Mentor and Startup Quarterback