What is an entrepreneur? Do you think of a business founder, a go-getter, a person a bit quirky, or a person who is admired?
The word is derived from "entrepren" meaning to undertake. An entrepreneur is defined as one who organizes a new enterprise with considerable initiative and risk. This sounds rather formal to me and seems to imply restraint. I have had the pleasure of working with a group of entrepreneurs in a company that ranked three (3) consecutive years on Inc 500's list of Fastest Growing Companies. Each individual had a canny ability to change direction mid-journey. At times they would appear rash in their activities and compelled to a constant state of confusion. An entrepreneur will seize an opportunity and pursue success with vigor. They do not shutter at failure and, in a peculiar way, seem to embrace it. Entrepreneurs will find opportunity in chaos. They do not become overwhelmed by details and are problem solvers on a macro level. They become "juiced" by the pursuit and are impassioned by a challenge. Their support system is their fear of failure, but rarely do they show it. An entrepreneur hungers for the chase, is impatient, and becomes bored easily upon solving a puzzle. An entrepreneur will pursue the unknown, is a pioneer, and does not believe in disbelief. An entrepreneur is skilled at exploiting a technology in a new frontier.
I wrote the following over 10 years ago and believe it to be true today.
The Entrepreneur's Dilemma
To fail is to invite recognition.
To succeed is to invite doubt.
To follow is to invite chaos.
To lead is to invite solitude.
To risk nothing, however, is to risk everything!
Having an entrepreneurial spirit is observed with admiration and, to many, a sign of courage. Having "Yankee Ingenuity" is a characteristic of one who applies creativity or a new approach to solving a routine problem. Many times, the two terms are intermixed, as one with self-motivation and extreme confidence will also step forward to try a new approach, regardless of its potential outcome or a public perception of being a fool-hearted effort. Their success is dismissed as foolish luck.
There are many popular companies today that were founded by individuals known for their entrepreneurial practices. A few examples would be Bill Gates of Microsoft, Steve Jobs of Apple, and Jeff Bezos of Amazon. Let's not forget to mention Paul Allen, who was a co-founder of Microsoft with Gates, and Steve Wozniak, who was a co-founder of Apple with Jobs. Both Allen and Wozniak provided significant contributions to the success of these companies, though the personalities of Gates and Jobs seem to be more prominent in the media. Many individuals who start a company will later hand the management reigns over to new executives as the company expands its customer base.
Entrepreneurship, I have determined, is a relative term primarily related to creative endeavors and a passion to build. InfoBarrel contains many articles about the entrepreneurial spirit in our society. As a person thirsty for new ideas, I have enjoyed reading them. I hope you enjoy them as well.