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Entrepreneurship: Definition And Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

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Entrepreneurship is the act of creating a business or businesses while building and scaling it to generate profit.

When it comes to defining the term "Entrepreneurship", there are many definitions from different schools of thoughts and also by various individuals.

What Is Entrepreneurship

Basically, we can define Entrepreneurship as the act of creating a business or businesses while building and scaling it to generate profit. A more modern definition says it’s about transforming the world by solving big problems like initiating social change, creating an innovative product or service or presenting new-life changing solutions. I strongly agree with this definition because entrepreneurship goes beyond just creating a business or businesses to make a profit but to identify a problem and providing long-lasting solutions to solve such problems.

Another school of thought defined entrepreneurship as the capacity and willingness to develop, organize and manage a business venture along with any of its risks in order to make a profit.

Also, the Founder and CEO of Neuroflow defined entrepreneurship. He perceived entrepreneurship as "being the one that is willing to take a leap, work hard enough to sacrifice everything else around you all in the name of solving problems because no one else is capable or possesses the desire"

Harvard Business School professor Howard Stevenson, whose research and teaching focused on the field of entrepreneurship, said, "Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled."

Having defined entrepreneurship from different schools of thoughts and individuals let's delve into defining who an Entrepreneur is.

Who Is An Entrepreneur?

Just like entrepreneurship, Entrepreneur has not had a single definition. The fact that who an entrepreneur is doesn’t have a definite definition has led to different schools of thoughts. Interestingly, they all agree that an entrepreneur takes an idea, develops business around it, manages the business and assumes the risk of its success.

On this note, we can define an entrepreneur as "a person who sets up a business with the aim to make a profit".

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To some persons, an individual who creates a new business, bearing most of the risks and enjoying most of the rewards is an entrepreneur. Whilst to others, 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". All these definitions are all correct depending on the definer.

An entrepreneur supplies risk capital as a risk-taker, and monitors and controls the business activities. The entrepreneur is usually a sole proprietor, a partner, or the one who owns the majority of shares if it’s a corporation.

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Further, an "entrepreneur is an individual who identifies a need in the marketplace and works to fulfill it". The sole primary aim of an entrepreneur is to identify a need or a problem and works to provide a solution. In other words, an entrepreneur is a problem identifier and a solver.

Characteristics Of Successful Entrepreneurs

Some business experts suggest that the entrepreneurial drive is innate, a trait acquired at birth, while others believe that anyone can become an entrepreneur. Whether a person is born to it or develops it, there are characteristics and traits required for successful entrepreneurship including:

1. Passion - Talk to successful entrepreneurs and you'll nearly always hear the word passion when they describe what they do. Following your passion is one of the best predictors of success.

2. Independent thinking - Entrepreneurs often think outside the box and aren't swayed by others who might question their ideas.

3. Optimism - It's difficult to succeed at anything if you don't believe in a good outcome. Entrepreneurs are dreamers and believe their ideas are possible, even when they seem unattainable.

4. Self-confidence - This is not to say entrepreneurs never have self-doubt, but they're able to overcome it, and believe they can achieve their goal.

5. Resourceful and problem-solvers - Lack of assets, knowledge, and resources are common, but entrepreneurs are able to get what they need or figure out how to use what they've got in order to reach their business goals. They never let problems and challenges get in their way, instead, they find ways to achieve success despite hardships.

6. Tenacity and ability to overcome hardship - Entrepreneurs don't quit at the first, second or even hundredth obstacle. For them, failure is not an option. And even when they encounter one, they see it as an opportunity to learn and grow. So they continue to work toward success, even when things go wrong.

7. Vision - Some of the more stringent definitions of entrepreneurship include vision as a necessary element. It helps to know your end goal when you start. Further, vision is the fuel that propels you forward toward your goal.

8. Focus - It's easy in this fast-paced, constant info-in-your-face world to get distracted. This is especially true for business start-ups that often get side-tracked by the shiny object syndrome (i.e. products and services that promise fast results), or bogged down in unimportant busywork. Successful entrepreneurs are focused on what will bring results.

9. Action-oriented - Entrepreneurs don't expect something from nothing and they don't wait for things to happen. They are doers. They overcome challenges and avoid procrastination.

10. Self-Motivation - One of the most important traits of entrepreneurs is self-motivation. When you want to succeed, you need to be able to push yourself. You aren’t answerable to anyone else as an entrepreneur, and that sometimes means that it’s hard to get moving without anyone to make you. You need to be dedicated to your plan and keep moving forward — even if you aren’t receiving an immediate paycheck.

11. Understand What You Offer - As an entrepreneur, you need to know what you offer, and how it fits into the market. Whether it’s a product or a service, you need to know where you fit in. That means you need to know when it’s time to tweak things a little bit. This also includes knowing whether you are high end, middle of the road or bargain. Being able to position yourself and then adjust as needed is an important part of entrepreneurship.

12. Take Risks - Successful entrepreneurs know that sometimes it’s important to take risks. Playing it safe almost never leads to success as a business owner. It’s not about taking just any risk, though. Understanding calculated risks that are more likely to pay off is an important part of being an entrepreneur. You’ll need to be willing to take a few risks to succeed.

13. Know-How to Network - Knowing how to network is an important part of entrepreneurship. In fact, an anonymous speaker said, if you are not networking you are not working.  Sometimes who you know is an important part of success. Being able to connect with others and recognize partnership opportunities can take you a long way as a business owner. Figure out where to go for networking opportunities and make it a point to learn how to be effective.

14. Basic Money Management Skills and Knowledge - We often think of successful entrepreneurs as “big picture” people who don’t worry so much about managing the day today. And it’s true that you might have an accountant or other team members to help you manage the business. However, if you want to be successful, you should still have basic money management skills and knowledge. Understand how money works so that you know where you stand, and so that you run your business on sound principles.

15. Flexibility - To a certain degree, you need to be flexible as an entrepreneur. Be willing to change as needed. Stay on top of your industry and be ready to adopt changes in processes and product as they are needed. Sometimes, you also need flexibility in your thinking. This is an essential part of problem-solving. You want to be able find unique and effective solutions to issues.


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