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A model of entrepreneurship where real innovation happens in the space between insanity and reality - presented as a Venn Diagram. Via Flickr user michaellewkowitz

What Makes an Entrepreneur?

The term ‘entrepreneur’ is a phrase that seems to be thrown around, I use it, StartUp Britain uses it, everybody uses it, but does anybody actually know what it means?

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    A model of entrepreneurship where real innovation happens in the space between insanity and reality – presented as a Venn Diagram. Via Flickr user michaellewkowitz

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    The term ‘entrepreneur’ is a phrase that seems to be thrown around, I use it, StartUp Britain uses it, everybody uses it, but does anybody actually know what it means?

    The dictionary defines an entrepreneur as;

    “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

    But to me, an entrepreneur is a maverick, a business owner who lights up a room with enthusiasm and passion – they’re bold, brave and bright. They’re not always rich and successful, but they look at the world in a unique way, and I can spot one a mile off.

    Some however, take a different approach. Matt Lane from BeerBods believes that anyone who has moulded an idea for business into a reality is an entrepreneur. Whether to friends, and family, or to a mass market. But I have to disagree, and Neil Barnfather agrees with me. In his latest blog he explains his opinion that to be a true entrepreneur you must have started serial businesses.

    … the entrepreneur is ‘permanently pedantic’ – Matthew Allen

    Why? Because the entrepreneurial spirit does not allow for satisfaction, it itches for more. It is not fulfilled by creating just one business, it searches for more problems to be fixed, and it must fix it itself. Matthew Allen of Allen IP phrased this very succinctly when he said that the entrepreneur is ‘permanently pedantic’. There seems to be a synthesis of views from everybody I spoke to on this point – both Neil and Matt and several others whom I spoke to on the topic stated that entrepreneurialism is a ‘methodology’ – a unique approach to the world.

    Enough of the fancy words. Let’s break down what really makes an entrepreneur:

    • Passion – an entrepreneur must have a passion for the world, and making it a better place – spotting where things could be improved.
    • Drive – an entrepreneur must have the drive and dedication to make their business succeed, a running capacity of 120%.
    • Confidence – this comes hand in hand with passion and drive – you must have the confidence to communicate your passion and drive to others.
    • Taking a financial risk – I’m not talking silly ‘all on red’ financial risk – but they must believe in their business enough to take a financial plunge.
    • Successes and failures – the most successful entrepreneurs have a few failed ideas under their belt. It’s all trial and error.

    If you’re an entrepreneur you probably wont have:

    • A life – I’m not joking. You live for your work.
    • The ability to let others take control – you’re the best at everything, obviously.

    If an entrepreneur’s brain were spliced, I think it would look a lot like this lovely infographic:

    Courtesy of firmology.com

    Maybe I have a skewed, majestic view of what an entrepreneur is, but I think Neil sums my interpretation up brilliantly when he said that there is ‘no such thing as an unemployed entrepreneur’. What do you think?

    To get a sense of what drives us, check out this Interview with StartUp Brtiain Co-founder Emma Jones and if you have any questions about the Tour please leave them in the comments section below, or e-mail us at emily@startupbritain.co.