What pops into your mind when you hear the word ‘entrepreneur’? Perhaps you think of driven, competitive people with fast, expensive cars and lots of money. Or maybe famous entrepreneurs such as Richard Branson and the entrepreneurs on Dragon’s Den. It can be hard to think of ourselves as entrepreneurial because most of us lead very different lives to these people.
While there definitely are entrepreneurs with fast cars and lots of money, it’s possible to have an entrepreneurial mindset without the lifestyle that we associate with entrepreneurs. So what is an entrepreneur? According to the Oxford English Dictionary, an entrepreneur is ‘a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit.’ The difference between an entrepreneur and a business owner is that an entrepreneur usually starts a business with the intention of growing it and selling it. In other words, the business IS the entrepreneur’s product.
The qualities an entrepreneur needs include resilience and determination, as well as a willingness to take risks. There can be many failed businesses on the road to selling a successful one for profit, so self-belief is also a must.
Many entrepreneurs are portrayed as living extravagant lifestyles, but they can be very generous, too. For example, Matt Redhawk is an entrepreneur who is giving back in several ways, including helping families become self-sufficient. Bill Gates has taken the billionaires’ pledge to give at least half of his wealth to philanthropy.
There’s an entire category of entrepreneurs who start businesses with the purpose of doing good, known as social entrepreneurs. A social enterprise makes a profit like any business but reinvests or donates those profits to create positive social change.
As you can see, the entrepreneurial mindset is about being able to spot an opportunity and take action on it; resilience, determination and self-belief plus generosity and wanting to give something back. Realising that you have many of the facets of an entrepreneurial mindset will help you take action towards your goals and could ultimately lead to you making a huge positive difference to your own life, your family and friends or your community.
So if you feel you may be a budding entrepreneur avoid comparing yourself the entrepreneurs in sharp suits and fast cars on TV and think about the opportunities you could pursue instead. Where could you make a difference? What product could you make better? Sniff around for opportunities and don’t be afraid to be a nosey parker!
If you see an opportunity but feel you don’t have all the entrepreneurial qualities you need, don’t be put off. Getting to know other entrepreneurs can be great for building self-belief as well as offering practical advice. If you have a great business idea and can prove it by getting some good initial sales, you may be in a position to get funding to grow your business. Having clear goals and a long-term vision helps keep you on track when things get tough. You don’t have to rely entirely on your own willpower, although you will need to be pretty determined to succeed!