Definition of Entrepreneurship

Definition of Entrepreneurship

Everybody has their own definition of entrepreneurship. There are thousands and thousands of books and websites dedicated to this topic. I suspect many of these authors have never started a business. Nonetheless, they all have good ideas. I know this because I have read my fair share over the years and recommend this as a good business practice.

That takes us back to the word entrepreneurship. Theoretically, an entrepreneur is the person who starts a new business. And, entrepreneurship is the act of creating and operating a business. You have to begin a business and operate the business, not just one or the other.

There are numerous definitions for entrepreneurship and many offer a differing perspective to the meaning. Wikipedia states, “Entrepreneurship is the process of starting a business, a startup company or other organization. The entrepreneur develops a business plan, acquires the human and other required resources, and is fully responsible for its success or failure.”

The Merriam Webster definition is interesting, “A person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money.”

I personally feel any definition which includes “making money” as an essential component does not give a complete understanding to the word. Financial gain is not the primary driver of great entrepreneurs. From a classical risk verses reward perspective, it would be crazy to start a new business. The fact that entrepreneurs continue to take extraordinary risks for a small expected return clearly shows that there is more to the definition. In interest (don’t get me stated) of time, let’s talk more about this subject in another post.

The definition taught at Harvard Business School is the most complete and only has twelve words. “Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”

“Pursuit” means there is action to be taken. Pursuit is strong word which implies a singular, relentless focus. When I was a child, Dad brought home a new puppy. My mother named him “Relentless” which I didn’t understand and thought was ridiculous. Relentless may not be a good name for dog, but sure is appropriate for business owners. You have to have a dream, develop a plan and then take action with a sense of urgency. Pursuit is never ending for entrepreneurs.

“Opportunity” means something new. This can be a new product, new business model, creating a better or less expensive existing product, or target a new customer base. Without fail, there is new opportunity in improving customer service with existing products and services.

“Without Regard to Resources Currently Controlled” means it doesn’t matter where you start or how much money you have. Most times, there are financial and resource constraints. A true entrepreneur will start a business regardless of these limitations. I feel there are advantages to not having money when starting a business. You are forced to be more resourceful and sell your ideas to others. This is a difficult and complicated path, but worth the effort.

Never ending the pursuit.