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Where does the ability to be an entrepreneur come from? Is it something you’re born with, or is it something you can be taught?
Are successful entrepreneurs made or born? And importantly who is an entrepreneur?
These are some of the questions that lot of people actually struggle to answer.
The word entrepreneur has its origins in French language. Entrepreneur is derived from the French verb “entreprendre” which means to undertake, to attempt, to try in hand, to contract for; or, to adventure, to try.
While large corporations dominated trade for a long time, things began to change in the 90s. The “garage mythology” and “the legend of the entrepreneur” began to emerge in the west. Remember every silicon valley startup emerged from a garage in the 90s. Young inventors could create their enterprise and become rich. It was the rebirth of the heroic entrepreneur.
Hidden behind these heroics is an important question. Are the entrepreneurs solving problems or creating organisations? Even managers solve problems! If entrerpreneurs create organisations, how are they different from small business managers?
There’s this 18-year-old boy who buys 100 bottles of soft drink at 20 bucks each, then sells them from his hostel room in university for 30 bucks when the mess is closed. Scale that that every day for a summer and you can pay for tuition fees.
Then you have a coder in the same hostel who would code everynight in the hope to build a peer to peer network that helps people borrow things from their hostel mates.
Who do you think is an entrepreneur? Or atleast fits the template of entrepreneur more aptly?
There are four things that entrepreneurs are able to do much better than their non-entrepreneurial counterparts:
- They spot and seize opportunities that involve risk
- They work well in limited resources to achieve higher degree of innovation
- They pursuade others to join their risky missions
- They embrace uncertainity as a reality
There are many similarities between the hero in mythology and the entrepreneur. The entrepreneur starts in rebellion against established firms, he bears a natural skepticism toward settled expertise.
Both the entrepreneur and the hero must go through a phase of separation. For the hero, this may mean leaving his native land in search of something worthwhile. For the entrepreneur, it may mean leaving a present job or company to start out on his own.
The hero is usually supported by a mentor, someone who helps navigate the mysteries of the world and realise the superpower that lie within. The entrepreneur needs a mentor to learn how to manage and organize people, process and prducts.
In the return stage, the hero brings back a “boon” to mankind and is hailed as a saviour. The entrepreneur steps out of his garage and comes up with something that drives the mankind and make him successful.
Whether you believe an entrepreneur is a hero or not is subjective. But the fact that entrepreneurs take the risk to bring out something radical needs appreciation.
Remember these four elements when you are on your way to entrepreneurship.