ENTRE.PRE.NEUR (n). a person who organises and manages business undertaking, assuming the risks for the sake of the profit.
The key words that associate very closely with an entrepreneur are business, commonly called as business venture, and risks.
In 1755, the word entrepreneur was first coined by an Irish-French economist Richard Cantillon in his book Essay on the Nature of Trade in General. Few centuries later until today, the word entrepreneur is still being used widely.
What makes an entrepreneur?
The spirit to be one. The courage to be independent. The strong ability to sense a business opportunity and dare to pursue it in the midst of difficulties. The will to take on risks.
True entrepreneurs are not afraid of risks, but bring them all into the light: examine them and manage them. Just like a doctor treats patients. A good doctor will not rest until the treatment is properly done and the cure is on its way. So it is with an entrepreneur: not to give up, until the business venture he/she started takes its wings.
But, having the spirit alone is not enough. It takes skills to be a successful entrepreneur. Skills needed for an entrepreneurial spirit include persuasive selling, communication, decision making, negotiating, and inter-personal skills, just to name a few.
Apart from having the right spirit and skills, an entrepreneur must answer, according to Amar Bhidé, a lecturer on Entrepreneurship at Harvard Business School, the three questions: Are my goals well defined? Do I have the right strategy? Can I execute the strategy?
Are my goals well defined? It is a question about an entrepreneur's personal aspirations. Is the business he/she senses sustainable for the long run? Can he/she handle it when it grows big? What kind of risks are to be managed and sacrifices to be made?
Do I have the right strategy? A simple definition of strategy is "doing the right things and doing things right". Entrepreneurs should ask themselves if they know what the "right things" are. The right things could be doing things which have not been done before, hence unique.
Can I execute the strategy? Once entrepreneurs know what the "right things" are, success will not just come by itself. The most important part of the equation now is to know how to execute the strategy: "How to do the right things". This includes finding the right resources in order to create the right products or services. Find customers: approach them, persuade them to buy, and keep them interested in business transaction. Only then the enterprise delivers the business with excellence. And the business operations can go on.
So to sum up, what makes an entrepreneur? The right spirit, skills, and strategy and executing it with perseverance and unaltered passion!
Image used in this post is contributed by Melissa Mu Photography of Sydney.