The very fact that this piece begins with two iterations of the same question signifies that this is not an easy one to answer. Traditional definitions of entrepreneurship define the term as the act of starting and scaling up a business from scratch. While this is essentially true, the modern connotations attached to this word have taken on a whole new meaning.
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What Is Entrepreneurship?
The very existence of the term entrepreneurship differentiates it from the act of business. While business, as we know it, is at its core the buying and selling of products and services in order to turn a reasonable profit, entrepreneurship goes farther than the common concept of commerce. Entrepreneurship seeks to change the world by discovering opportunities where none previously existed. They convert new inventions into viable products, and provide consumers the means of meeting their needs.
At its very core, entrepreneurship is an approach to solving real-world problems, often with the help of technological breakthroughs.
As a result, the term entrepreneur applies equally aptly to persons who start entrepreneurial ventures as well as to corporate entities which take the steps to endeavor into uncharted business territory for the sheer pleasure of exploring something new. An entrepreneur is at heart a risk-taker who tries something new, and entrepreneurship an adventure for only the brave at heart and strong of mind.
But what makes entrepreneurship so very different from the ordinary businesses? To know this, we must delve deeper into the very characteristics of the concept.
Characteristics Of Entrepreneurship
We all have business ideas, and there are many people who have the capital to start a new venture. Yet the road to entrepreneurship is paved with stories of startups failing within a few months of their inception. Or, product ideas that looked great on paper actually bombing it in the market. And, this shows that not everyone has what it takes to become an entrepreneur. Globally, entrepreneurs are identified with the following characteristics that are thought to be inherent to entrepreneurship.
A person with the entrepreneurial fire is driven not by external stimuli but from the inside. Successful entrepreneurs do not wait for anything to make them work; they push themselves and make things happen. Even (and especially) in the face of failures, they remain unwavering in their mission to achieve their goals.
Entrepreneurship is synonymous with passion. Successful entrepreneurs deeply involve with their offerings and believe in them wholeheartedly. In fact, you must fully invest in your own idea in order to be a successful entrepreneur; only then can it be translated to a stellar product or service.
At its core, entrepreneurship is the act of taking calculated risks. Moreover, an entrepreneur leaves the comfort and certainty of a fixed job and a steady paycheck for the sheer thrill of building something new. As a result, the act of entrepreneurship is fraught with risks of failure; but successful entrepreneurs are seldom deterred by the perils that they have to face.
People Management Skills
An entrepreneur has to deal with many different people throughout their journey. Be it negotiating a deal, convincing an investor or leading employees to work as a cohesive unit, entrepreneurship requires immense people skills that must be at the ready 24/7.
We live in a connected world, and networking is as important to entrepreneurship as oxygen is to life. In order to expand one’s operations and explore newer horizons, an entrepreneur has to meet and network with different people. This often opens up previously unknown business opportunities and better avenues for further exploration.
An entrepreneur must be flexible in thought as well as action. We live in dynamic times, and the business landscape is ever-evolving. So, even after reaching the pinnacle of successful entrepreneurs are always ready to adapt, adopt and change themselves and their businesses to meet the needs of the market.
The above six characteristics signify the fundamental qualities associated with entrepreneurship. These are learnable skills that one can always pick up through diligent practice and application.
Importance Of Entrepreneurship
Apart from the fact that it generates wealth, entrepreneurship is important for the social as well as economic development of a region. The following are some important functions of entrepreneurship.
Creation of New Jobs
The first and perhaps most significant contribution of entrepreneurship is that by setting up new business ventures it creates new employment. The direct, as well as indirect employment opportunities, benefit a significant proportion of the society.
Contribute to National Income
Entrepreneurship contributes to the national income by creating newer wealth opportunities. While traditional businesses may become saturated, entrepreneurial ventures explore new openings and add to the government exchequer.
Bring Social Change
Entrepreneurship also drives social change by challenging the status quo and doing away with dated technology and services. This not only leads to an improvement in the quality of life but also brings greater economic freedom to society.
Last, but certainly not the least, entrepreneurs help to improve the community by supporting other entrepreneurial undertakings. They also take part in social development through philanthropic activities.
Types Of Entrepreneurship
All entrepreneurial ventures are not equal! The experts have identified the following four distinct types of entrepreneurship.
Social Entrepreneurship involves developing and providing services that solve some social problems. They need not necessarily be for profit ventures and are run with social development as the final goal. Examples range from education startups to microfinance institutions.
Small Business Entrepreneurship
This group makes up the majority of entrepreneurial ventures in the world today. Anyone who runs their own business can be classified as a small business entrepreneur. Examples can be as diverse as your local electrician or the store next door.
Large Business Entrepreneurship
These are the entrepreneurial behemoths that have developed into full-blown companies that operate on a large scale. Think Amazon and Google.
Scalable Startup Entrepreneurship
These are the startups in tech hotspots around the globe; they start small and quickly seek to scale up their operations by rapid innovation and global funding. Examples are the most social networking sites that started small and rapidly grew.
Examples Of Entrepreneurs
Here we will look at a few successful entrepreneurs who have made it big.
One of the co-founders of the original Google search engine, Page is the CEO of Alphabet, Inc which owns the G-suite of apps. Alphabet also has interests in futuristic technologies like smart home tech and self-driving cars. Page’s net worth is about $60 billion.
One of the youngest tech-moguls, Zuckerberg is the renowned co-founder and CEO of Facebook, the social networking behemoth. What began as a simple dorm experiment has now grown to an international organization that employs thousands of people and has racked up a net worth of over $70 billion for this genius entrepreneur.
The co-founder of database giant Oracle, Ellison is currently worth a whopping $68 billion. One of the most recognized names in the CRM database industry, Oracle has recently expanded its operations to include cloud computing technology.
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