What is an Entrepreneur?
Broadly speaking, an entrepreneur is someone who creates a new business and shoulders the associated financial and personal risks to make a profit and/or difference to the world. Entrepreneurship can also be approached as a way of thinking, a mindset that is opportunity-focused, unafraid of challenging the status quo and seeking to add value to the community.
Characteristics of an entrepreneur
Some people believe that entrepreneurs are born rather than made. They are seen to have courage and grit and seen as passionate risk-takers and innovators. Here are some other characteristics that entrepreneurs might have.
Curiosity drives entrepreneurs to ask challenging questions, continuously seek new opportunities and discover unexplored avenues that can turn out to be gold mines.
Entrepreneurs have a clear vision of what they want to achieve, what they need to do to make it happen, and how to communicate it and enlist the right people to help them reach their goals.
As a leader, an entrepreneur needs to have the confidence to make difficult decisions, stand by them and recover from bad outcomes.
4. Risk Tolerance
Taking calculated risks is part and parcel of entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurs need to balance risk and reward and modulate their risk tolerance based on their ability to mitigate risks.
5. Unafraid of Failure
Almost 75 percent of new start-ups fail. Entrepreneurs should persevere and use their failures to advance rather than give up after an unexpected set-back.
A peek into the entrepreneurial mind
Here are some thought-provoking and inspiring quotes from company founders and business leaders on what being an entrepreneur means to them (extracted from Max Freedman’s article, Entrepreneurship Defined: What It Means to Be an Entrepreneur):
“Being an entrepreneur is like heading into uncharted territory. It’s rarely obvious what to do next, and you have to rely on yourself a lot when you run into problems. There are many days when you feel like things will never work out and you’re operating at a loss for endless months. You have to be able to stomach the roller coaster of emotions that comes with striking out on your own.” – Amanda Austin, founder and president of Little Shop of Miniatures
“Entrepreneurship is an unavoidable life calling pursued by those who are fortunate enough to take chances. [They are] optimistic enough to believe in themselves, aware enough to see problems around them, stubborn enough to keep going, and bold enough to act again and again. Entrepreneurship is not something you do because you have an idea. It’s about having the creativity to question, the strength to believe and the courage to move.” – Jordan Fliegel, managing director of Techstars
“Entrepreneurship is seeing an opportunity and gathering the resources to turn a possibility into a reality. It represents the freedom to envision something new and to make it happen. It includes risk, but it also includes the reward of creating a legacy.” – Maia Haag, co-founder and president of I See Me! Personalized Books and Gifts
“Entrepreneurs are the dreamers and the visionaries. Without them, the world stagnates and progress stops. Society needs entrepreneurs the same way the body needs air.” – Cynthia Kirkeby, founder and CVO of Seasonally Fresh
Babson Thought and Action. “What is the definition of entrepreneurship?”. Posted August 29, 2019. https://entrepreneurship.babson.edu/entrepreneurship-definition/
Business News Daily. “Entrepreneurship Defined: What It Means to Be an Entrepreneur”. Updated April 22, 2020. https://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7275-entrepreneurship-defined.html
Miller, Kelsey. “10 Characteristics of Successful Entrepreneurs”. Posted July 7, 2020. https://online.hbs.edu/blog/post/characteristics-of-successful-entrepreneurs
Grant, Julia Fawsley. “What is an entrepreneur?”. Published October 1, 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-entrepreneur-julia-fawsley-grant
Rojas, Nick. “5 characteristics of an entrepreneur”. Posted January 2, 2021. https://www.vistage.com/research-center/business-leadership/20161027-5-characteristics-of-an-entrepreneur/