EEntrepreneurship is all about making money for your personal gain from business. At least that’s what you might mistakenly think it’s about.
Solving problems or making money?
When asked "what is entrepreneurship?" we often assume the entrepreneur to be some kind of genius like Steve Jobs, Mark Zuckerberg or Jeff Bezos. Someone who founds an empire and makes millions. The truth is that anyone who chooses to start a business that solves a problem for common people is an entrepreneur. It’s someone who is prepared to assume the risk for starting a venture in an increasingly competitive market. The downside is that not all entrepreneurs are successful.
A Definition of Entrepreneurship
Howard Stevenson of Harvard Business School provides the following definition:
"Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled."
You could argue that a true entrepreneur is someone who believes in themselves. But self-belief alone isn't enough. You will need tenacity and resilience too. You need to be able to see beyone the limitations of your current context. You might not succeed in business first time round but true entrepreneurs stick with it because they believe they can do something better or offer better value or service to an existing market.
In order to manage a business venture you will need to master the skills required to succeed in business. You might have the idea for an innovative product, you might even have owned a successful business before but whatever your business model or focus you will need to gain mastery over a whole range of business skills.
Creating a Successful Startup Business
The successful entrepreneur is not just someone who makes a profit. Even profitable businesses fail if they don’t have enough capital behind them or sufficient cash going through the books. Entrepreneurship refers to a state of mind too; entrepreneurs create jobs and solve problems and they never let up..
Aspiring entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes, business owners are a diverse group and are difficult to stereotype. One thing that we know is that they are the powerhouse of the global economy and the real force of economic development. Just one reason why its such a shame that Governments don’t invest more in training startup entrepreneurs when the benefits of small business are so abundantly obvious.
An entrepreneurial venture is by definition a risk. Whatever the products or services being offered the entrepreneur is commonly forced to take huge risks. Whether investing their own money, just sweat equity or working with funds from venture capital, the life of the entrepreneur is challneging and clearly isn’t for everyone.
Entrepreneurs hold the keys to unlocking some of the world's greatest challenges. A scientist might come up with a solution for a problem but often it’s the startups of today what will solve the world's problems of tomorrow.
Being an entrepreneur is about solving problems.
It’s about filling that gap in the market and doing something smarter or better. You can be from any walk of life and one is never too old to start a business. Ariana Huffington started the Huffington Post at the age of 55, Charles Flint started IBM at the tender age of 61! Entrepreneurs are "visionnaires"- they combine vision with the ability to create opportunity and solve problems.
The word entrepreneur derives from the French entreprendre meaning “to undertake”. In a nutshell this means to "start a business". That in turn means taking on the risk and responsibility that comes with running a business or enterprise.
Innovation is a key facet of entrepreneurship. It’s all about coming up with new or better ways of solving customer problems.
The Entrepreneurial Mindset:
Much has been written about this. Entrepreneurs view all challenges and setbacks as opportunities and chance to improve. They use competitors as a cost-effective research tool- learning from the mistakes and successes of others. A wily entrepreneur will understand that being “good enough” is often all that is required when you start out in business-and so they will launch with a “minimum viable product" or “MVP” rather than over-engineering or seeking to perfect their product before they’ve had a chance to test it on customers. They’re good listeners- taking on board feedback and criticism without taking things too personally.
They’re disciplined too- this last quality is probably what sets the dogs from the stars, the "me-too" entrepreneurs from those that are a true powerhouse of creativity and inspirations for others. It's this last type of entrepreneur, the true entrepreneur if you like, that creates jobs and drives disruptive bisnesses that fuel economies.
For more insights into the entrepreneurial mindset see our inspiring quotes for startups.
Entrepreneurs V. Small Business Owners
Is there a difference? Let's consider what those differences might be:
- Entrepreneurs create wealth and job opportunities for others whereas small business owners create an income that replace traditional employment.
- Entrepreneurial wealth creation is often rapid while small business owner wealth creation can be over many years.
- Entrepreneur risk is normally high while being a small business owner doesn’t have to involve lots of risk.
The independence that comes from having your own venture can be liberating. However, it also brings with it huge responsibility. When things go pear-shaped there is only yourself to blame. Our online business startup course is for all kinds of startup- irrespective of whether you plan on becoming a small business owner or a serial entrepreneur- we have something for everyone.
Yes, but what does it take to become an entrepreneur?
Let’s see…you will need a certain hunger, buckets loads of imagination and a determination to succeed. Resilience comes in handy too. What you don’t need is lots of money to start with.
Starting a business is about more than just having a good idea. You will need to be able to breathe life into your idea. It isn’t easy. There’s loads of competition out there and unless you have perseverance setting up a business can be a real drain on your energy levels. It might sound a bit corny but entrepreneurship is mostly about mindset. In our start up course we cover positive psychology because without it you are likely to give up long before you meet with success. It’s a way of life, it’s all about following through and careful planning, it's about staying the course...
OK, So Anything Else?
Part of the reason that our course is so detailed is that there is so much that goes into becoming a successful enterprise owner. A thirst for learning helps. An inquisitive mind is a must. A grasp of finance, sales, marketing and compliance. The list is long. These qualities are eqally true of small business owners or entrepreneurs.
Before we scare you off let’s just say that whatever your definition of an entrepreneur is we believe that starting your own business is for those brave souls who are comfortable taking a well-managed risk and because they know that nothing beats the thrill of being your own boss. If that's yopu then we wnat to help. Your startup doesn’t have to be complicated and you don’t have to be a genius. If you think that any of the above sounds like you then please stick around. And if you prefer the security of 9-5 and being told what to do then no hard feelings- we wish you well. After all, being an entrepreneur or owning your own samll business isn’t for everyone.
We love entreprepreneurs! Do you think you’ve got what it takes to become one?
Check out our online business startup course