What is an Entrepreneur? Do You Qualify as One?
Entrepreneur is one of the most over used and least understood words in the business lexicon. Entrepreneur has become a common descriptor for people who simply own their own business. They are called entrepreneurs whether they started the business from scratch, bought the company from someone else or even if they inherited the business. An entrepreneur is so much more. They are not just owners or operators of business. So what is an entrepreneur?
The following definitions have been written primarily by academics who study the entrepreneurial phenomena but who are not themselves entrepreneurs. These definitions are presented here so that they can be compared later to my definition of an entrepreneur.
Some authoritative definitions of entrepreneur include:
Merriam Webster http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/entrepreneur – Definition of an Entrepreneur: one who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.
Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Entrepreneur – An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of a new enterprise, venture or idea and is accountable for the inherent risks and the outcome.
The Free Dictionary (by Farlex) http://www.thefreedictionary.com/entrepreneur – Entrepreneur: A person who organizes, operates, and assumes the risk for a business venture.
Collins English Dictionary http://www.collinslanguage.com/ – Entrepreneur (Business / Professions): the owner or manager of a business enterprise who, by risk and initiative, attempts to make profits.
A more precise and more accurate definition of entrepreneur:
So here’s my definition. An entrepreneur is a person with a vision who orchestrates the time, talent, money and resources of other people to make their vision real.
Notice in my definition of entrepreneur, there is no assumption of risk. A successful entrepreneur has mastered the techniques of passing the risk on to others. It’s investors who take risk. An entrepreneur can start with nothing but a vision utilized to draw in all of the necessary investors and other stakeholders.
Notice in my definition of entrepreneur, there is no reference to new venture. A successful entrepreneur can orchestrate a vision of combining already existing companies into a more efficient or more effective organization of assets.
Notice in my definition of entrepreneur, there is no reference to profit. In fact, many times a vision has been manifested in the world of not-for-profit organizations. So profit may not be the motive and is not a necessary outcome or a measure of success.
Notice in my definition of entrepreneur, there is no reference to even operating a business. Many times, a successful entrepreneur has learned to license or franchise their idea to others to operate.
Notice in my definition of entrepreneur, even the vision may not be native to or owned by the entrepreneur. Many times, a successful entrepreneur has manifested a vision rented, borrowed or even stolen from someone else.
Notice that my definition of entrepreneur is the only definition which even mentions the word vision. The other definitions ignore it as if any worthwhile or productive enterprise has no need of an entrepreneurial vision.
When you boil entrepreneur down to its bare essence, the only skill set necessary is getting other people to put up their time, talent, money and other resources to manifest a result. It’s all about leverage. One person’s efforts acting alone cannot accomplish all that much. One person, an entrepreneur, leveraging him or herself through the time, talent, money and other resources of many other people can accomplish a result as grand and as glorious as their vision will allow. Equipped with only a vision, every other resource on planet earth is clay in the hands of the entrepreneur sculptor.
I came upon my definition of entrepreneur, first by being a successful entrepreneur for the last half century, second by working hands-on… partnering with, consulting with and coaching thousands of other entrepreneurs on various business startups, acquisitions and expansions over the last 40 years, and third by training more than 300,000 entrepreneurs worldwide over the last 31 years and watching the behavior patterns and commonalities that produced success.
Let’s take a look at 8 individuals commonly regarded as among the most successful entrepreneurs of all time. All were persons of vision.
- Thomas Edison vision: Relief from human drudgery and elevation of human spirit through science
- Henry Ford vision: Bring mobility to the masses specifically to bring the cost of an automobile down to where the worker who built it could afford to buy it
- Sam Walton vision: Save people money so they can live better
- Bill Gates vision: First 25 years it was to enable a personal computer on every desk and in every home. Now it is empower people through great software anytime, anyplace and on any device
- Steve Jobs vision: has evolved from an apple on every desk (not realized) to an apple in every hand (being realized as we speak)
- Mark Zuckerberg vision: Has evolved from connecting friends and families to building a global community and connecting the world.
- Richard Branson: serial visions from affordable records for everyone to affordable travel to destinations in outer space and back.
- Walt Disney: had multiple visions notable among them was to create the happiest place on earth.
You might add to each of their visions the domination of their market space. They all saw what did not exist and created the vision they would manifest into reality. All mastered the ability to orchestrate the time, talent, money and other resources of other people to make their vision real.
What about you becoming an entrepreneur?
So where does a person learn how to be an entrepreneur? If you Google a phrase like “center for entrepreneurial studies”, “center for entrepreneurship” or center for entrepreneurism” you will get links to colleges and universities that teach the academic version of entrepreneurship. You will learn to take risk as a necessary element of entrepreneurship. You will not learn how to hone your vision and how, through vision alone, you can orchestrate the time, talent, money and resources of other people to fully manifest your desired outcome.
You might even think that since these colleges and universities command the first page of the search results, that they must be the most authoritative source of entrepreneurial knowledge. Those who understand search engine ranking know that their page position has nothing to do with their entrepreneurism teaching capability. Their position ranking is based in large part on the website traffic of the entire institution of which their traffic related to entrepreneurism is but a fraction. So the website of an entrepreneurship specialist will not likely be positioned as well in any search where educational generalists are also listed.
If you really want to become and unstoppable entrepreneur, molding the world to your vision by orchestrating the time, talent, money and other resources of other people, you need to go to the source of the definition. To find out more about what I can teach you and how you can use my time honored methods to start, buy or build your own successful business with no more than a great vision, watch my free 25 minute video Getting Rich Your Way.
Just a point of interest, of the 8 entrepreneurs named above, only Sam Walton graduated college (University of Missouri). Steve Jobs dropped out of Reed after 1 semester. Thomas Edison was home schooled. Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg both dropped out of Harvard. Henry Ford’s only connection to a college was a bookkeeping course he took at Goldsmith, Bryant & Stratton Business College in Detroit. Richard Branson and Walt Disney were both high school dropouts.