The definition of an entrepreneur is vast; and if we really try to condense it into one concept, we are bound for failure. Well, it’s because entrepreneurship is like an overlapping set of concepts. It’s really hard to put it into words, but maybe, we could give it a try. I know entrepreneurs, and since i cannot define the term entrepreneur in the strictest sense, I would just have to find some common denominator to come up with a clear concept.
The entrepreneur is a problem-solver. One of the major requirements for one to become an entrepreneur is to acknowledge a common problem; something that requires solution. This problem can be very obvious, yet no one pays attention to solve it. Many people say that when you feel strongly about solving a problem that people also complain about but do not care to create solutions, it might be your opportunity and your calling. In any case, if you are not solving anything, you are not an entrepreneur. You have to have some ‘need’ or ‘problem’ to solve (through your market offerings in the form of products and services).
The entrepreneur is a social scientist. As in my previous post that recommends to treat business as a grade school experiment, entrepreneurship is a social experiment. Business is all about people–understanding them, their behaviors, whatever their needs are, and then creating solutions to those needs. However, unlike physical and natural scientists who deal with exact science, people are too dynamic to be put into a controlled environment. Hence, we entrepreneurs observe fellow people, we do market research, we do consumer behavior analyses (in a more intuitive sense, not in the more complicated, corporate sense; more of this in my future posts about entrepreneurial marketing). Basically, we need to understand people.
The entrepreneur is an artist. From reading individuals and how we function as a society, we make interpretations and unique expressions that reflect the tides of the time. We make unique solutions to the ‘wants’ (which are needs that are adapted according to different cultural contexts) that change as the times change. Our market offerings are not just products and services that people consume; they are works of arts themselves that reflect the tastes and preferences of certain groups of people.
The entrepreneur is a seizer of opportunity. This is where the entrepreneurial spirit comes in. The courage to dare to jump into the unknown; to see an opportunity and not know what the outcome maybe and not be paralyzed by uncertainty, this is one of the entrepreneurial traits I commend (you can’t be an entrepreneur if you hadn’t dared to act and create a solution). We recognize opportunities and act in order to capitalize (usually profit) from them. This is not in a negative sense, because profits are an incentive for suppliers in an economy to produce products and services. But what are opportunities?
“A marketing opportunity is an area of buyer need and interest that a company has a high probability of profitably satisfying. There are three main sources of marketing opportunities. The first is to supply something that is in short supply. […] The second is to supply an existing product in a new or superior way. [The last is to create a totally new product or service as a solution to a certain need].”
Understand people, know their problems, act on the opportunity by creating a unique solution–I don’t know if this clause is enough to call someone an entrepreneur, but more likely if you follow this, you would be doing what those who are called entrepreneurs do.
More on ‘marketing opportunities’ in my future posts about entrepreneurial marketing.