Defining an Entrepreneur


Recently I received an email from a reader who was concerned that myself, this site, and the general population had become too liberal in their definition of what an entrepreneur is, and he was “totally offended”.

In his view an entrepreneur was somebody who “started with an idea and that’s it”. They “raise their own capital, develop the entire process, hit the million dollar mark and sustian it”. And he felt that only at that point do you truly “earn the term and the use of the title Entrepreneur”.

Interesting.

Webster’s Definition

Entrepreneur: One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise

My Thoughts

I have to say that I agree a little more with the definition as defined by Webster, than I do the reader.

Putting monetary and somewhat elitist standards on the term, discounts those who are starting their own business, raising their own capital, and assuming the risk of business operations as something lower than a “true entrepreneur”, if certain standards aren’t met.

Jason O’Neill may have something to say about that.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not challenging the reader’s measures for success. For some success may be just taking the first step with your business. For others it may be hitting the million dollar sales mark and sustaining it. It’s your goals, and your measures, and I’m not here to judge that.

What I can’t support is the idea that business owners, those who take the risk to startup, and those who assume the inherent business risk day in and day out, are not true entrepreneurs because they don’t live up to someone else’s standards.

Kids who start a lemonade stand are just as entrepreneurial as the hot shot startups, and I’m not going to diminish their accomplishments or tell them they can’t use the title of Entrepreneur.

To do so would be limiting, and to do so with anyone in business for themselves would be limiting as well.

The meaning of the word entrepreneur may be debatable, but nowhere in a definition will you find the phrase “limited to _____”, or the term “contingent upon”…and if you do, ingnore that definition.

So I’m going to keep on using the term as I always have on this site, and to describe you all. Of course all of this is just my opinion, and I could be way off base here. I welcome your thoughts on the matter.

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