By Graham McFarland, VAULT COO
An entrepreneur is defined as a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.
It’s not a bad attempt at getting to the truth, however I would submit that it fails to capture the true essence of what an entrepreneur really is. I have a simpler definition that encapsulates the primary attributes of an entrepreneur in straight forward bullet points. Here we go.
An entrepreneur is someone who:
Now that describes an entrepreneur. Just think of the great entrepreneurs of our times and reflect back on the three bullet points above. Steve Jobs (Apple), Bill Gates (Microsoft), Fred Smith (FedEx), Bernie Marcus (Home Depot) and Mark Zuckerberg (Facebook) come to mind and it is easy to see the result of their vision and passion in the large enterprises that their entrepreneurship created.
Entrepreneurs create jobs and provide a standard of living that helps drive the world’s largest economies. Anyone can call themselves an entrepreneur and in some cultures it is considered negative – kind of a catch all term for someone who can’t get or hold a real job. In America, entrepreneurism is celebrated. It’s cool to be an entrepreneur and it carries the same swagger as a Wild West cowboy did over a century ago.
Just as a cowboy ignored the fear of the unknown by jumping on a horse and riding off into the valley without knowing what is around the bend, the entrepreneur embraces uncertainty. Some entrepreneurs are innovators and visionaries. Others are not. Everyone has a million dollar idea, but they are worthless if action is never taken to give them life.
The Latin slogan “Facta non Verba” translates to “actions not words” or the even more familiar “actions speak louder than words”. Entrepreneurs take action again and again and again. That is how bullet point number one “gets stuff done” becomes a way of life. Not all visionaries and innovators are entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs are the necessary catalyst for vision and innovation to materialize in the form of a product or service. When an entrepreneur combines vision and a passion for innovation along with the drive to get things done, then watch out because a star is born.
You can’t fake it. You’re either in or out. Embrace the bullet points above, not as a goal but as a lifestyle and then you can claim the tag entrepreneur.