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Entrepreneur: The Meaning and Steps to Begin Your Journey

Discover the hurdles entrepreneurs encounter when launching new ventures

How to be an entrepreneur

Who Is an Entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is someone who starts a new business, taking on most of the risks but also getting most of the benefits. Starting a business is called entrepreneurship.

Entrepreneurs are important in any economy because they use their skills and drive to meet needs and bring new ideas to people. When they manage the risks well and their business does well, they can make money and grow their business.

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Why Do Entrepreneurs Matter?

Entrepreneurship is seen as a key part of making goods or offering services in economics, along with land/natural resources, labor, and money. Entrepreneurs mix these elements to create or offer something. Usually, they make a plan, hire people, get resources and money, and lead and manage their business.

The exact meaning of "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurship" hasn't been agreed upon (the word "entrepreneur" comes from a French word meaning "to undertake"). Although the idea of an entrepreneur has been known for a long time, old economic theories didn't include them. These theories thought everything needed was already known, so there was no room for taking risks or discovering new things. It wasn’t until the mid-1900s that efforts were made to include entrepreneurship in economic theories.

Three thinkers, Joseph Schumpeter, Frank Knight, and Israel Kirzner, led the way to include entrepreneurs in these theories.

Schumpeter thought entrepreneurs were the ones bringing in new ideas to make profits, not just the big companies. Knight saw entrepreneurs as the ones who deal with uncertainties, taking on the risks in financial markets. Kirzner believed entrepreneurship was about finding new opportunities.

Today, entrepreneurs face many challenges while building their businesses. Three big challenges often mentioned are dealing with rules and paperwork, finding good people to hire, and getting enough money to keep going.

What Are the Varied Forms of Entrepreneurs?

Entrepreneurs come in different shades, with distinct aims and approaches. Here’s a glimpse into a few types of entrepreneurs:

Builder: Builders are driven to establish scalable enterprises swiftly, often surpassing $5 million in revenue within the initial two to four years, with aspirations to escalate further to $100 million or more. They strive to lay a robust infrastructure by recruiting top-notch talent and engaging superior investors. At times, their vigorous personalities, while conducive to rapid growth, may strain personal and professional relationships.

Opportunist: Opportunists are buoyant entrepreneurs with a knack for identifying financial prospects, entering at the right juncture, staying aboard during growth phases, and exiting at the pinnacle of a business’s success. Their primary allure is the profit and wealth accumulation, often gravitating towards ventures with potential for residual or renewal income. Their quest for timely opportunities can sometimes lead to impulsivity.

Innovator: Innovators are the scarce breed of entrepreneurs who conjure groundbreaking ideas or products that fill a void. Icons like Thomas Edison, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg epitomize this category. Fueled by passion, they unearth business avenues through their visionary insights. Unlike their counterparts, innovators prioritize the societal imprint of their offerings over financial gains. They are the idea powerhouses, often delegating the operational helm to more managerial adept individuals.

Specialist: Specialists are analytical, risk-averse individuals with a solid expertise in a particular domain, honed through academic or practical training. They organically expand their ventures through networking and referrals, which might lead to a more gradual growth trajectory compared to builder entrepreneurs.

4 Modes of Entrepreneurship

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Different entrepreneurs establish varied types of businesses based on their goals and resources. Here are the primary categories of entrepreneurship:

Small-Business Entrepreneurship: This involves starting a business on a small scale without the aim of growing it into a large corporation or chain. Examples include a single-location restaurant, a grocery shop, or a retail store. The entrepreneurs typically invest their own money, and their earnings come from the profits of the business. They usually don't have outside investors and might take a loan only if necessary to sustain the business.

Scalable Startup Entrepreneurship: These are ventures born with a unique idea that has the potential to grow big—much like the startups in Silicon Valley. The goal is to innovate with a distinctive product or service and keep expanding the company over time. These startups often need investors and substantial capital to nurture their idea and branch out into various markets.

Large-Company Entrepreneurship: This occurs within existing large companies where a new business division is created to explore other sectors or new technologies. The initiative can come from the CEOs envisioning a new market or from individuals within the company proposing ideas to the senior management for further development and execution.

Social Entrepreneurship: Social entrepreneurship is another type of entrepreneurship where individuals create businesses to address social issues and make a positive impact on communities or the environment, rather than focusing solely on profits. They blend social concerns with entrepreneurial methods to provide solutions to various challenges faced by society.

Each of these entrepreneurship types serves different purposes and plays a unique role in the economy, contributing to job creation, innovation, and societal development.

How to become an Entrepreneur?

Get Your Money Right

It's a good idea to have some savings before you start a business. This way, you have money to live on and to invest in the business. You won’t have to worry about paying bills or getting loans right away.

Learn Different Things

Once you have some money saved, it’s good to learn different skills. You can do this while saving money too. Try new tasks at work, like if you're good with numbers, try selling something. This way, you'll have more tools in your toolbox when things get tough in business.

Think About School

Some famous business people didn't finish college, like Steve Jobs or Mark Zuckerberg. But, college can teach you a lot, not just about business but about the world. It’s expensive, especially in the U.S., so it’s a big decision. It's not needed to start a business, but it might help in other ways.

7 Traits of Entrepreneurs Successful

Entrepreneurs share some common traits that help them build their dreams. Here's a simple breakdown of those traits:

  1. Versatility: In the beginning, handling customer interactions personally can give you direct feedback. It's also good to have a polished website even if you're small, but ensure customers can reach a real person when they call.

  2. Flexibility: Not all first ideas work. Being open to change and adjusting your business based on feedback can lead to finding what really works. Like how a cafe owner changed from playing opera to offering comfy chairs because customers preferred that.

  3. Money Savviness: Managing money well is crucial. Ensure you have enough cash flow to run the business, and don't mix personal and business money. Also, plan for not making a profit initially, and communicate with your family about the financial sacrifices involved.

  4. Resiliency: Running a business is hard with ups and downs. Being able to keep going even when things are tough is a key trait. Learn from failures and keep pushing forward.

  5. Focus: Stay focused on your goals, trust your instincts, and don’t get sidetracked by doubts or distractions. Always remember why you started your business.

  6. Business Smarts: Understand your business finances, know your market, and have a solid business strategy. Being smart about how you run your business will help you navigate challenges.

  7. Communication Skills: Being able to communicate well is crucial. Whether it's sharing your vision with investors, explaining plans to your team, or negotiating deals, good communication can make a big difference.

How do Entrepreneurs help economies?

Entrepreneurship acts like a springboard for economic and societal advancement. Here's how:

  1. New Business Creation: Entrepreneurs kickstart new businesses, which brings new jobs. Their innovative products or services can trigger a domino effect, leading to further business development. Like how the rise of IT companies in India during the 1990s spurred growth in related sectors like call centers and hardware providers.

  2. Enhancing National Income: While existing businesses might hit a revenue plateau, entrepreneurs with fresh ideas create new markets and wealth. More businesses and better earnings also mean more tax money, which can be used for public projects.

  3. Fostering Social Change: By introducing unique inventions, entrepreneurs can change the way we live and work. Like how smartphones and apps have changed our daily routines worldwide.

  4. Community Investment: Entrepreneurs often give back to their communities by supporting local projects or charities. For instance, Bill Gates has channeled his wealth into education and public health initiatives.

Questions for Entrepreneurs

Embarking on the entrepreneurial voyage is thrilling yet entails thorough self-assessment.

Here’s a set of reflective questions to guide your introspection:

  • Do I embody the entrepreneurial spirit needed to forge my own path?

  • Can I dedicate ample time and resources to my venture?

  • Have I devised a clear exit strategy with a defined timeline if things don’t pan out?

  • Have I mapped out a solid plan for the upcoming months to tackle potential challenges, be they family, financial, or other?

  • Do I have a robust network to turn to for guidance and assistance?

  • Have I connected with seasoned mentors to glean insights from their experience?

  • Have I drafted a comprehensive risk analysis, considering dependencies on external elements?

  • Have I objectively evaluated the market potential of my product or service?

  • If my product is set to replace an existing market offering, have I anticipated competitor responses?

  • Is pursuing a patent prudent for protecting my product, and can I endure the waiting period for approval?

  • Have I pinpointed my initial target customer base and devised scalability strategies for broader markets?

  • Have I outlined effective sales and distribution channels?

  • Each of these questions warrants thoughtful consideration to ensure you're well-prepared to navigate the intricate entrepreneurial landscape.

What Does It Mean to Be an Entrepreneur?

Being an entrepreneur entails initiating a business venture stemming from a unique idea or a distinctive product, while shouldering the majority of associated risks and enjoying the predominant share of the rewards.

What Is the Best Definition of Entrepreneurship?

Entrepreneurship encapsulates the journey of bringing a business idea to fruition, transforming a concept into a tangible enterprise.

What Are the Four Types of Entrepreneurs?

The quartet of entrepreneur types encompasses builders, opportunists, innovators, and specialists.

What Are the Seven Characteristics of Entrepreneurs?

The seven hallmark traits of entrepreneurs comprise versatility, resilience, adaptability, financial astuteness, business acumen, unswerving focus, and proficient communication skills.


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