Entrepreneur Definition: Risk to Make the Dream a Reality

An entrepreneur is a person who dreams up (or finds) what he or she considers a great idea and then takes the risk in time, effort and/or money to turn that dream into a business reality. Entrepreneurs are often people with a strong dream, but also people with the wherewithal to make that dream come true. 

Here are some common characteristics we see in successful entrepreneurs that we interview:

  • They like what they do.
  • They take what they do extremely seriously.
  • They plan their work and work their plan. 
  • They try as hard as possible to leave nothing to chance--if you are small with little money, chance can snuff out your little business in a heartbeat.
  • They follow up, follow up and follow up. They leave nothing hanging. There is no "set it and forget it" for the entrepreneur.
  • They know that money is the lifeblood of the business and the new entrepreneur spills as little blood as possible!
  • They are not shy about asking for the business.
  • They are not shy about promoting themselves.
  • They always project a positive image…"business couldn't be better!"
  • They know their customers and keep in touch. No big business can do this.
  • They use technology to project a bigger company image.
  • They are problem solver for their customers. They are the experts.
  • They can answer the question: why would anyone want to do business with me specifically?
  • They invest in their growth and their good health
  • They are accessible to everyone.
  • They are great negotiators.
  • They have a great workplace.
  • They are organized, especially in areas of finances and taxes.

People with Big Ideas

We have all met the person with big ideas, but he does not have the strength of his convictions to bring that dream to reality. In all fairness, many big ideas never get off the ground because of lack of money or time. On the other hand, if someone has the will, they will find a way, perhaps using OPM (Other People's Money) to get the venture off of the ground.

Are They Born or Made...or Both?

One question that arises about entrepreneurs quite often, are they born or are they made. From the people we have interviewed, we would say both: many people are born entrepreneurs, but often people develop these special skills when survival or a nice lifestyle is at stake. We have all heard the saying: "necessity is the mother of invention."

We met a man once who got mad and developed the entrepreneurial skills he needed late in life. He was old, retired, set in his ways, little money and happily spending his days fishing, golfing and spending time with his beloved grandchild. One day the grandchild was injured by a product. The child recovered and quickly got well, but the grandfather got mad. He had been a high school history teacher and part time athletic coach for his entire career with no background or college courses in engineering or mechanical drawing. But he developed these skills and went on to invent and patent a product that would protect everyone's grandchild from what had happened to his. 

He met resistance from the people who create and recommend electrical and building codes. He met big resistance from a multi-national company whose product would have impacted their existing products. He persisted and pushed them until they finally made way for his product. He sold the product to a multi-national company who continues to produce it by the millions today. Was he born or made? Maybe both, but all we know is he got mad and got busy!

You are probably wondering if you have the entrepreneurial skills to start and run a business. We don't know you so all we can tell you is that it takes a lot of grit and determination, if you are starting and running a business with little or no money.