Anatomy Of An Entrepreneur

Comments Off on Anatomy Of An Entrepreneur 20 January 2011

When is an entrepreneur not an entrepreneur. When they are not generating vast amounts of wealth! This maybe slightly hard on hard working small business owners who are often called entrepreneurs, but it could be argued that lifestyle business don’t really classify as entrepreneurial. I think the reason for making the distinction is to really empower the word entrepreneur, give it some meaning, some gravitas. Not everybody can be an entrepreneur, not everybody wants to be an entrepreneur but how do you know you are one? Well an entrepreneur creates enormous value.

Whatever the successful entrepreneur is doing it s going to be risky, probably requiring high levels of innovation and market disruption. The rewards however will be high and if it all comes together they will come faster! A non entrepreneurial business owner will more than likely be operating in a less risky area, requiring less innovation probably with an existing product or service and competing on price alone.

To balance this discussion and understand the confusion you need to look at where most company director and entrepreneurs started from. And it is most cases, it’s the same place. To make money, by adding value to people’s lives in some form or another. And both have followed the well walked (and very brave) route of setting up as a business, a limited company or sole trader and trying to get their idea accepted. Many have failed as some of the most successful entrepreneurs and small business owners will tell you.

So how do you become entrepreneurial? The word entrepreneur comes from the French ‘entrependre’ which literally means ‘to begin something’. And this is how we generally see entrepreneurs, as people who begin something, people who come up with new and innovative ideas and have the capability to launch that idea into an unsuspecting market place. When we look at entrepreneurs we see people who are prepared to take risks, who are smart, creative and innovative and are driven. To be successful as an entrepreneur you need to understand your own strengths, know your weaknesses and learn from your successes and mistakes.

What is also interesting is that according to various reports and surveys nearly half of the UK working population want to start up their own business based on their own concept! However less than 6% actually manage to follow this dream through. Which is a shame, since entrepreneurship has a major, positive impact on our economy and society! Entrepreneurs can create new markets, remove old markets and impact existing markets, reducing prices, improving service and generally adding real value from a consumer perspective. And this fact is celebrated across the World during Global Entrepreneurship week.

The focus is starting to shift towards the development of entrepreneurs through schools and colleges. It has been recognised that it is important to ensure that young adults are schooled in business processes and have the necessary education to allow them to fulfil their entrepreneurial dreams. As David Cameron said ‘the future of our economy depends on a new generation of entrepreneurs coming up with ideas’.

Universities are now playing a major role in the development of the youthful, entrepreneurial spirit. If you visit almost any university and many colleges within the UK you are more than likely to find a centre focused on helping students take the first step into business and entrepreneurship. Correspondingly during the last decade the number of students describing themselves as running their own business (i.e. self-employedor freelance) has increased significantly almost rising by 50% in the period 2002 to 2009. We have also seen more funding opportunities for entrepreneurial research in addition to more advice, support and education.

Unfortunately some of the statistics we looked at did not make good reading. HESA also reported that of young adults (8 to 24) 5 times more were likely to be unemployed than starting their own company. To counter this, the government has to act and encouragement is needed to help these young adults find their entrepreneurial spirit. At the end of 2010 Iain Duncan Smith (Secretary of State for Work and Pensions) said that he would look at bring back a similar scheme to The Enterprise Allowance Scheme (EAS). This helped jobless, individuals start up their own companies.

The move to development of entrepreneurs through the education systems can only be a good one however a counter point is that true entrepreneurs are not developed, they are born. Or they come from some form of necessity (i.e. poverty). Obviously these are all true and all equally valid. The foundation for all of these is being clever and working hard. I don’t think I have ever met a successful entrepreneur who wasn’t smart and hasn’t worked hard, I’m talking about really hard, to the detriment of family and friends. Having these two attributes is going to set anybody on the right track which ever route they take.

Entrepreneurs are being recognised for the benefit they bring to society and our economy. The supporting structures are in place to develop your entrepreneurial spark and as Peter Jones says have a vision, be confident, be results orientated, take action, use your influence and don’t underestimate your abilities. And as we say, be lucky!

Howard writes for Just Commercial Mortgages, the UK’s No1 site for commercial property finance news, and information and the latest commercial mortgage rates.

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