22 August 2019
We hear the word entrepreneur so often in business now that it has almost lost any meaning! Is an entrepreneur a business leader? Is an innovative creator an entrepreneur? Yes, all of the above.
However, there is a distinction. I believe that an entrepreneur is someone who has an innate skill to take a couple of components and create value by bringing them together. They’re creatives who understand the commercial value of these components.
Entrepreneurs are not just business people.
I was recently asked what an entrepreneur is and what values they hold. It would be easy for me to reel off a list of qualities to make me sound like I have the answer, but I don’t. It isn’t that simple. You can’t overly reverse engineer what it is to be an entrepreneur because everyone holds their own belief systems and their own motivations.
For me, I believe the difference between business leaders and entrepreneurs is that ability to build something from nothing. To strive, to sacrifice and to never give up. Being an entrepreneur combines the innovative idea with the tenacity to deliver it and the commercial knowledge to make it a viable business.
The concept of being an entrepreneur is fascinating, really. People love the glamorous perception of it. Driving around in a flash car, hopping between meetings and being powerful and respected. The reality, though, is quite different from that.
It can actually prove quite lonely. I suspect that’s why the majority of the great entrepreneurs have a partner who balances out their personality, to bring another aspect to the business portfolio and to share in the weight of building something from nothing.
For Sir Richard Branson, that person is his wife Joan. She is an incredibly intelligent character who steers clear of the limelight but who has undeniably had an impact on the Virgin brand. Rolls and Royce, James and John Timpson, Chris and Michael Oglesby; these are more examples of great duos who create incredible businesses.
It would be fair to say that to be an entrepreneur you have to be a motivated character, often it is the partners who balance that with taking a moment to consider the best process behind something, for example.
Defining an entrepreneur
Alongside this, the single most important characteristic, that which truly defines an entrepreneur, is passion. We can all feel passionate about something. That idea that really sparks an interest and gets your heart racing! However, for an entrepreneur that passion isn’t a fleeting novelty. It is the fire that fuels their engine for decades or more!
When I speak of passion, I refer to that unending, relentless focus and drive to achieve what you set out to. Being so excited about your business decades down the line that an idea will keep you up at night. It’s this that really sets entrepreneurs aside.
There is no set definition of an entrepreneur, these are simply my thoughts on it. How do you define an entrepreneur? What makes the difference?