First, let’s explore what entrepreneurship is. When you think of this term, you may think of starting your own business, but that’s only part of the huge picture that is created when you become an entrepreneur. The word entrepreneur originates from the French word “entreprendre” and means to “undertake.” It was first used by Cantillon in the early part of the 1700’s to describe a person who purchased items at one price and sold at another unknown price. This person was a risk-taker. The French defined an Entrepreneur as a person with certain traits that led to high productivity, a person who can identify opportunities and discover organizations that support them. According to Mintzberg, entrepreneurship’s ultimate goal is to realize the entrepreneur’s vision.
Some basic traits of an entrepreneur are their ability to generate economic growth, create new businesses, decrease imports, and create an environment of innovation and creativity. Personal traits may include the ability to take risks, innovate, and adapt to work and changes in a competitive environment. Entrepreneurship is not a substitute for employment, but an entirely new venture that will require energy, time and financial resources.
TYPES OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
GEMS (2004) states entrepreneurships have different levels that range from start-up to mature enterprise. In addition, there are three types of enterprises:
Nascent – a new business venture that began within the last year
Baby – Operational between 4 and 42 months
Established – Operating for more than 42 months
WHY DO PEOPLE BECOME ENTREPRENEURS?
Many factors determine people’s reasoning behind becoming an entrepreneur. Some are unemployed, others downsized, and others have lost their job due to outsourcing. Entrepreneurship affords them the ability to become financially stable and contribute to the economy. The independence, status, desire to create new products and services, and a familial entrepreneurship can drive their decision. Other reasons include limited career opportunities and pay. Entrepreneurship can provide the opportunity to earn more money and give others like them the opportunity to get a well-paying job. In the UK, entrepreneurship is a societal norm.
WHAT MAKES SOMEONE A GOOD FIT FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP?
While everyone can be an entrepreneur, there are certain traits that are common among entrepreneurs no matter their gender. Entrepreneurs are able to find new opportunities with the same information others are given. They are visionaries who can see the larger picture, find the opportunities, act on them, and then start a new business. They stay up-to-date on changing trends and exploit the marketplace by introducing new services, products, processes, and expanding into new markets, and acquiring unformed products in a new way and making them into something their customers want.
Entrepreneurs take more risks and often undertake a new business because it suits their personality, while managers lead established organizations because it suits their personality. Not content to follow the corporate ladder, entrepreneurs set out on a blazing path to create their own reality. They have dreams and income goals that they feel are best served by starting their own endeavor.
The ages of entrepreneurs vary widely, as they come from all age groups, but most decide to build their own enterprise between 25 and 40. By this age, most have gained years of work experience, knowledge, and confidence to venture on their own and use the skills they have learned. They are able to understand the commitment, passion, needed for their business and its potential. Many have also spent time as an apprentice in an SME which further cements the skills they’ll need to create a successful business.
TRAITS OF ENTREPRENEURS
Entrepreneurs have much more energy than the average person. They have amazing ability to overcome obstacles and work hard, says Ang and Chang. They are perceptive to the needs to their clients and are able to see and find opportunities for growth and solution to problems. Their ability to envision new markets, business ideas, and, often, to iterate until the product will please their customers makes them formidable forces in the economic landscape.
Entrepreneurs are self-reliant with an extremely healthy dose of self-control. They enjoy being the dominant person and influencing others. More than others, they may be more competent as the leader, rather than a follower as they possess a keen eye for the future, how to reach it, and how to gather others support. Entrepreneurs enjoy getting others to do what they want and directing activities. Not only that, but they are more than willing to absorb difficulties and failures. As the leader of the company, the success and failure fall on them. Entrepreneurs hold the most precious piece of their company: the vision.
Optimism. Entrepreneurs are optimists. They begin their business with the belief that it will succeed. This intense and unwavering belief pushes them to stay focused on the business, maintain confidence, endure the difficulties that come with first starting and after the business is operational, and take the risk needed to start a venture that has never existed before.
For the most part, entrepreneurs strive and thrive when independent. They, more than others, are loners, who are restless and seeking out new challenges. To support their entrepreneurial spirit, most have extremely high self-confidence. Their loner tendencies may help them remain focused on building the business and create innovative ideas. They may be able to quickly scrap an idea that isn’t working when they are able to spend inordinate amounts of time alone. After they have been alone, came up with the ideas and scrapped bad ones, entrepreneurs then seek out the opinions of others. This feedback is priceless to the success of their company.
In summary, entrepreneurs are risk takers, visionaries that map the path to the future, have high energy, can see and take advantage of opportunities, are able to connect with their customers, and are very hard workers.
These traits are a recipe for success and entrepreneurs are a recipe for innovation.