What is an Entrepreneur?

by Aminat Abubakar

Marc Ventresca a professor at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford describes entrepreneurs as “system builders, creating enterprise by “marshaling, mobilizing, and connecting different worlds” (McCracken, 2011). Additionally, “an entrepreneur assembles and then integrates all the resources needed—the money, the people, the business model, the strategy, and the risk-bearing ability—to transform the invention into a viable business” (Barringer and Ireland, 2010, p.6). Deep Patel’s book ‘A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success’ is about Ty Chandler’s entrepreneurial journey who happened to be looking for a way to raise money before starting college. Each of the 11 chapters demonstrates a principle set up for an entrepreneur’s success. It includes: recognizing opportunities, investing in success, harnessing ingenuity, overcoming objections, adding value, reducing costs, creating raving fans, crushing it with consistency, scaling for growth, the power of diversification, delegating authority, and branding for the future.

It is hard to select two out of the eleven principles that most resemble an entrepreneur’s main characteristics because there is a thread that links through each such as awareness, product and customer focus, passion, tenacity, execution intelligence, and ethics. However, I would pick on the first two principles.

  1. Recognizing Opportunity – Pay attention and be self-aware about people, the environment, and trends. Never think about the now on opportunities but have a long-term view on possibilities in opportunities. Ty Chandler was not afraid to approach Diddly the old paperboy and ask the right leading questions when he heard him grumbling on the phone about his disappointment with the dwindling newspaper delivery subscription due to the online option. He saw a great business opportunity as a paperboy in serving the two-hundred homes (newspaper subscriptions) at the Hampton Squares subdivision a neighborhood full of retirees and happened to be where he lives. An entrepreneur must always look and recognize opportunities for the business and the value it would provide to its customers. For example, the introduction of Apple’s iPod in 2011 by Steve Jobs, former Apple Chief Executive Officer revolutionized the digital music industry, due to the failure of the MP3 music player jaded user experience. Howard Schultz the Chairman of Starbucks business idea was the realization that Americans lack a conducive environment to enjoy coffee. His ‘Aha!’ moment came during a vacation in Italy where he observed in many espresso bars the effect on the Italians social life. For his ideas succeed at Starbucks, “he built a seasoned management team, implemented an effective strategy, and used information technology wisely to make his business thrive” (Barringer and Ireland, 2010, p.13).
  2. Investing in Success -This is an entrepreneur’s ability to invest in business growth and customer loyalty. Ty exhibited the trait when he decided to sacrifice buying a car but wisely decided to spend the money on customers’ appreciation, and introduction to prospective customers. He bought greeting cards and personalized each with his photo. Darren Hardy the author of ‘The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster recognized the business opportunity after watching the ‘home water filtration systems’ with friends. Hardy noted, “I had a tendency to see opportunity when others stared blankly ahead” (Hardy, 2015, p.19). He withdrew $5,000 from his saving to buy inventory for the initial set up for his business success. Kevin Plank, the CEO of Under Armour brand was broke when he started the business. He invested all his savings of $20,000 with an additional $40,000 credit card debt in funding. Today, “Under Armour retail sales is close to $2 billion with 5,900 employees” (DeMers, 2017).
  3. Harnessing Ingenuity
  4. Overcoming Objectives
  5. Add Value, Reducing Cost
  6. Creating Raving Fans
  7. Crushing it with Consistency
  8. Scaling for Growth
  9. The Power of Diversification
  10. Delegating Authority
  11. Branding for the Future

“You have to interact with your customers and exercise salesmanship to get new customers. You need interpersonal relationships as you collect money for the subscription money” (Patel, 2016, p.11). Each of the chapters takes us through the technique of growing a business venture through dedication, momentum, and commitment.

What do you think?

Barringer, B. A., & Ireland, R. D. (2010). Entrepreneurship: Successfully launching new ventures (3rd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall.
DeMers, J. (2017, December 14). 5 Entrepreneurs Who Started With Nothing – and 3 Lessons to Learn. Retrieved from https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/305990
Hardy, D. (2015). The Entrepreneur Roller Coaster: Why Now Is the Time to #JoinTheRide. Lake Dallas, TX: Success.
McCracken, G. (2011, July 25). Who and What Is an Entrepreneur? Retrieved from https://hbr.org/2011/07/who-and-what-is-an-entrepreneu
Patel, D. (2016). A Paperboy’s Fable: The 11 Principles of Success. New York, NY: Post Hill Press.

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