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What Makes An Entrepreneur?


Written by Joe | 13th Sep, 2016

The dictionary definition is

a person who sets up a business, or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of making profit

But I think it is wrong.

An entrepreneur is so much more than that. Entrepreneurs are people who spot opportunity and then take advantage of it - you don't have to own or run a business to be an entrepreneur. I remember talking to a friend who had visited a factory and the owner spoke about how he couldn't win a certain contract because his machine broke and he couldn't find or afford a new one. My friend decided to take note of the machine's model. He had spotted an opportunity. That night he went home and did a Google search and found the machine being sold in Sweden for about £6,000. He phoned the owner of the factory, explained he could get him one and asked what he was willing to pay for one. The owner said that ideally £18,000. So my friend sold it to him at that price, paid about £400 to have it flown into the UK and the factory owner picked it up. To this day he has still never seen that machine and the factory owner thought he was getting a great deal. That is what makes an entrepreneur.

It's a person who is willing to go that extra mile just to explore opportunity. Entrepreneurs not only spot opportunity but they make it. If you were in the same situation, would you think to take note of the machine and spend a bit of time on Google trying to find one? Most people probably assume the factory owner has already looked and that there is no point. Here in lies the difference between the average person and an entrepreneur. An entrepreneur will speak of their many successes but they have many more failures. Entrepreneurs treat both failure and success as a learning experience.

I remember my school did away with the vending machines and unhealthy food. The nearest shops were half a mile up a hill and rain is a regular enemy.

I saw an opportunity.

My mother ran her own small business so I used that to get access to a wholesaler and bought loads of sweets and sugary drinks. Selling them all in school at a roughly 50% profit margin. My mother worried about me breaking my back carrying a heavy bag to school everyday but I was usually sold out by break time anyway. It got to the point where I was making £40 a day in profit if not more. After a few weeks I stopped because I met my goal. I wasn't in it for the money, I wanted a new laptop and I had raised enough money. But anyone could have done it, I was fairly open about the finances too so people could easily have competed but they didn't. When I stopped, people complained but no one thought to replace me. They knew how much money I was making, they would use it to convince me to start selling again but never thought to do it themselves. It was too much effort when they could be playing their Xbox or Playstation instead. That's another important element to being an entrepreneur; sacrifice. Whether that be giving up a night with your pals or selling your car. Entrepreneurs will do what it takes to make the most of an opportunity.

Being a entrepreneur can be on a small scale or it can be on a large scale. At the end of the day it is about taking advantage of an opportunity. Don't be afraid to put yourself out there. Just think to yourself what is the worst that can happen? and then think more importantly what, potentially, is the best outcome?. Weigh up the potential risks and benefits and then just go for it anyway because life is short and risking it is fun.

So the dictionary definition should be

a person who spots opportunities and takes advantage of them


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