By using Apprenticeforums services you agree to our Cookies Use and Data Transfer outside the EU.
We and our partners operate globally and use cookies, including for analytics, personalisation, ads and Newsletters.

  • Join our UK Small business Forum

    Helping business owners with every day advice, tips and discussions with likeminded business owners. Become apart of a community surrounded by level headed business folk from around the UK


    Join us!

What makes an entrepreneur?

  • Thread starter Scottish Business Owner
  • Start date
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
If you have your own business (i.e a sole trader) where you are effectively the business do you still regard yourself as an entrepreneur?

Or is an entrepreneur all about being the person that has the wacky ideas and then taking this through to a viable business model etc?

What would make you call someone an entrepreneur and what qualities would you look for in a person to describe them as entrepreneurial?

Thoughts :)
 
P

profitxchange

New Member
Entrepreneurs make their money from building and selling businesses, not running them

They have a new spin on a business opportunity. it is never me to.
They are obsessive and passionate about making it work
They do not consider the risks.
They get the very best people in the business to support them.
They go for the big kill its never incremental growth its always step.
They are rarely the doers they are the thinkers / strategists.
They will establish multiple businesses concurrently.
They get unconventional funding, often clients, suppliers and friends.
They will ultimately exit the business and do it again.

The one skill that comes out is they really get a handle on the critical numbers and ratios. Operational not accounting.

Does this help?
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
I do not really like the word entrepreneur. Not really sure why. Probably as their are so many people running about calling themselves by that tag.

Tend to agree with the above post from profit exchange with exception about the line about risk. All decent business people consider risk and take actions to mitigate it to the best of their ability.

Peter
 
P

profitxchange

New Member
Dont disagree with adventure life,

From my experience with Real Entrepreneures, the risks they are prepared to take can be very high, including bankruptcy if it goes pear shaped.
 
A

AJEKLimited

New Member
I never fully understood it when people banded the term about, or called themselves entrepreneurs.

With what i'm doing now, one role is sole trader with the consultancy work i am doing and i wouldnt have regarded myself as an entreprenuer personally.

Now with the services company, setting up from new, taking risks that could see me lose a lot, have thought about this obsessivley for about 2 - 3 years, have self funded etc i would regard that as entrepreneurial.

With having merged the two into one single operating company, i guess its a bit of both, the consultancy work i see as a kind of safety net, but the services company is where my ambitions and passion lie.

Also mentioned above is the want to run multiple companies, another route i want to go down this year. But wether i regard myself as truly an entreprenuer is another thing, i really just think of myself as someone who is now in a comfortable position to take the chance and try and make an oppurtunity work, if it dosent then its back to the drawing board and start again.
 
S

scarycaravan media

New Member
I think profitxchange hit the nail on the head with that!
 
Personally I think Peter's closer to the mark on this. I too dislike the word entrepreneur; at least as it's been abused and spun in recent years.

... And I agree absolutely that risk, whilst something that is inevitable, is something that you work towards mitigating as thoroughly as is possible... Calculated and necessary in other words.

Although I tend not to talk about it on open platforms like this I have, over the years, seeded and built a number of various projects. I have current interests for instance in things a diverse as catering, the motor trade and even a motorcyle despatch company!

'Entrepreneurship' (if the 'E' word must be used) is something that was almost 'built in' to growing up; with part of the family coming from Hong Kong in the early '60s it seemed like everyone on that side had, or were working towards, their own business... and this spread to the Scots/Irish side of the family with the more affluent and experienced members seeing it almost as a moral duty to help seed new ventures and guide the less experienced through to the point where a return could be had and the 'stabilisers' could be taken off...

By the age of about twelve I was collecting old bicycle parts, canibalising, restoring and assembling what I could into complete machines for sale... and selling the waste to the local scrappy! I still remember the absolute joy and pride on my Uncles' faces when they saw me with the brand new Raleigh Chopper I'd walked into the shop a bought for cash with the profits... For it was they who had chipped into buy me the tools and shown me how to keep a simple record of what I was spending and what I was taking in...

So for me it's a social obligation to some degree... To invest where it strikes me as fitting to do so; and to warn of the pitfalls (i.e. help mitigate risk) wherever possible... And risk is all around....

Or is an entrepreneur all about being the person that has the wacky ideas and then taking this through to a viable business model etc?
No; you'll find that's actually just the brief for "Only Fools and Horses", "Minder" and "Howards Way"... :p


Occasionally
people strike lucky. Just like occasionally people become Pop Stars, Footballers, Film Stars, get themselves 'discovered' and are 'somehow' thrust into the limelight... UNfortunately, because these 'fairy tale' successes tend to have the greatest profile (and indeed dominate many people's lives) people assume they reflect the everyday reality. They don't!

The restaurant trade for instance. Infamous for its high failure rate. All people see are varous celebrity cooks breezing around living the high life with their grand getures and flamboyant style... Even on a local level it looks like an easy game to play. I'm always bemused when I go into a city-centre restaurant owned by a friend or family member... For there they are, in their designer suits or posh frocks stewarding the evening with ease and applomb before breezing home in the Merc to relax in the substantial bungalow out in the 'burbs...

The reality is probably that no-one (not even the kids) in their household gets more than six hours sleep a night. Everyone has to pull their weight to get the doors open. And twelve hours before those doors opened the guy now in the designer suit was dressed like a scaffy shovelling rotting food scraps into a bin before moving on to the rest of the thousand-and-one tasks necessary to get those doors open and keep them open...

Almost invariably the restaurants that fail are those where the proprietors have bough into a business they only-half understand and where what they've bought into is the fantasy of being that guy in the designer suit apparently breezing their way nonchalantly through life....

And therein lies the danger... Actually believing the PR spin. Imagining the fantasy is reality. Only yesterday I found myself in conversation with two fellow lecturers. Both respected and well-known musicians the topic was students that don't apply themselves to the grim reality of the courses they're involved in. It's a big problem in Creative Industries courses. People join thinking these are 'easy' courses and that all they've to do is hang out looking glamourous and wait to be 'discovered'...

Likewise in more general business circles. Where Dell Boy and Arfur Daley had T.I.T. (Trotter's International Traders) and D.I.E. (Daley Into Europe) these days you only have to click a few links to find assorted random Muppets pushing assorted random fantasies all under the entrpreneurship banner...

Wacky ideas arent necessarily bad ideas. But the reality is that making them into viable business models is quite a dry and in many ways tedious process. The critical factors that drive them forward are no different from those that apply to any other kind of idea. The somewhat dull and pedestrain business of business isn't what we see from the outside of course... And therein lies the danger.

In the mere couple of years we've been here at SBF how many flim flam artists have been seen off? There was the daft kid who claimed he was a web guru who had developed a business with an £800k turnover. A chancer who claimed to be some forensic I.T. guru... Various others of course. All come and gone and somewhere-else now trotting out the next load of B.S. in some other forum. On a different level pick up a copy of "Stuffed Shirt Monthly"; the ultimate 'Fantasy football League' of the business world. The very 'types' who brough you the credit crunch and the verge of economic meltdown playing the same old games and the same old tunes... Entrepreneurship being one of the key terms favoured...

Most people in the real world who make their living through things like music, sport or entertainment do so in relatively mundane ways. They do very ordinary jobs in what are, in reality, very ordinary industries.

Likewise with real entrepreneurs... You'll find one (or several) on almost every street corner; they're hard to spot though. Those who actually are rarely (if ever) really embrace the term for themselves. For there is, in my view, a certain pretentiousness to it. When I hear someone describe themselves as such I aye find myself questioning who they're trying to convince... And in that sense my answer to the question "what makes an entrepreneur" is 'a very clear view of their own colon'...

What makes a legitimate business person however is a different and more relevant question... :D
 
bsfweb

bsfweb

New Member
A one man business might be a 'would-be/could be' entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur starts businesses, or buys them and grows them.

Many of the comments in the previous posts can apply.

One of the most important aspects of an entrepreneur is that we need them.

Entrepreneurs are one of the drivers of the Economy.

How good are Entrepreneurs are driving the Scottish economy?

In the eighteen and nineteen hundreds Scotland had some of the best inventors, engineers and entrepreneurs in the world. How does Scotland shape up today?

Scottish entrepreneur and Dragons Den star, Duncan Bannatyne, is known for his business interests which include Health Clubs and Hotels, Media, Stage Schools, TV, Transport and Property. His net worth is thought to be £320 million. How has his wealth benefited Scotland directly?
 

kmbookkeeping

New Member
Duncan Bannatyne isn't really a great example as he was born in Scotland and is Scottish, but hasn't lived here since before he started his first business. There are better examples, Tom Hunter, Tom Farmer. I think Scotland has benefited hugely from both.

Kris
 
P

profitxchange

New Member
Whilst you may say that Scottish entrepreneures may not have done much in Scotland.
Having travelled the world - the world is full of Scottish entrepreneures and business leaders. Perhaps there are too many good ones to be accommodated in Scotland.
 
D

dwightvanman

New Member
I think 'entrepreneur' has essentially become a tabloid term -we've done celebrity chefs to death (sadly only metaphorically) and now the media has moved on to celebrity entrepreneurs which is massivley unhelpful to people like myself who are starting out. The people who embrace the entrepreneur tag run businesses and live lifestyles which are completely unattainable to most people starting out in business - while its good to know that someone can start from scratch and become massively successful the route to this success is generally pretty similar to the guy who started out as a shop assistant and now runs a chain of local stores, so the relevance of the celebrity entrepreneur to me, personally, is pretty minimal. You also then have people like Paris Hilton and the woman behind Jimmy Choo held up as examples of successful entrepreneurs - both running business built on daddy's money. On a lower level, there are several well-known business people local to me who are running successful businesses which were started on the back of significant family money or success. It would be interesting to see how well these people would have survived without the significant family backing or if they'd had to grow their business in an economic environment like we have just now where getting funding is not so easy.

Maybe I'm cynical but to me, in general, an entrepreneur is just someone who got lucky with someone elses money... I draw greater inspiration from people who start a business, grow it and have the belief and attachement to their business to stick with it so the benfit is almost an emotional one as opposed to being purely financial.
 
P

profitxchange

New Member
Interesting viewpoint though not one I entirely support. But to just add a comment re multiple generations of "entrepreneure" It is said that it is the odd numbered generations that take a business forward and the even ones that coast.
 
D

DickW

New Member
If it was true that an entrepreneur was someone that got lucky with someone elses money then there would very few in Scotland given the dirth of risk equity capital available here! In fact of course there are hardly any at all...

To my mind though a "real entrepreneur" is someone like James Dyson and not someone who sets up a Gym or a chain of Sushi bars.. The latter are more opportunists than genuine creators. Dyson is a creator that has built an international manufacturing business based on first class product design.
 
Adventurelife

Adventurelife

New Member
Well one thing is for sure the coming few years or maybe decade is going to see who can cut it and who cannot.

I have never thought the lack of funds to be a issue in fact I have always seen it as an advantage because it sure raises the creativity in individuals and in businesses. Then when you eventually do start to produce profits you tend to be a dam site more careful where you invest them.

With regards to people being lucky because they got left money or businesses. Good luck to them, fate dealt them a good starting hand, it does not by default mean they will finish the game in a good place. If they do carry it on and do well, well done them they will have kept others in work and spread some of the wealth.

In reality every single one of us on here are exceedingly lucky. We are educated and live in a society where it is hard to go hungry and success is measured by how much money you have, houses etc. For many food and water is the only desire they have each day and it is hard work meeting that desire.
 
Gutsy

Gutsy

New Member
This is an interesting question, guys. I'm going to mull it over and come back to it. To me, an entrepreneurial thinker is someone who can think out of the box and think creatively in a working situation, whether they own businesses or are employed by someone. This however doesn't necessarily make them an entrepreneur. Thought provoking question.
 

paulmcd

New Member
I would like to add a simple thought - entreprenuers have the drive and vision to seek out opportunities to add value through implementing sustainable business design - this can be applied to profit and not for profit ventures
 
bsfweb

bsfweb

New Member
Scottish entrepreneurs is a good discussion point, not only because there are many highly motivated and talented Scots in the UK and beyond, but also because it raises the question of business and borders. Is a good entrepreneurial Scot someone who stays in Scotland? Are there sufficient opportunities here North of the Borders to create wealth. If so, what are these opportunities, and who are the entrepreneurs already exploiting them and what are their results?

New markets must be virtual, or service based. I can think of IT Server Centres, High class Food retailing, High Quality Tourism, Search Engine optimisation, High End English Language Tuition as a few of the areas of continued opportunity for Scottish entrepreneurs to make a mark.

Business experts recognise that to succeed in business today relies heavily on one's ability to successfully trade outside of the region. What are Scotland's best examples of global trade today, especially amongst the small and medium sized companies?
 
bsfweb

bsfweb

New Member
To my mind though a "real entrepreneur" is someone like James Dyson and not someone who sets up a Gym or a chain of Sushi bars.. The latter are more opportunists than genuine creators. Dyson is a creator that has built an international manufacturing business based on first class product design.
Of course, Scotland has a magnificent heritage of world class engineers and inventors. Who is leading the pack in Scotland today?
 
Scottish Business Owner

Scottish Business Owner

New Member
It's an interesting point bsf makes about needing to expand your business outside it's local borders. Is a true entrepreneur a person who wants to take something to a national or international level. I know a few people (a musician and an artist) that I would describe as being very entrepreneurial but not in the sense that it would make them a millionaire. I'm wandering whether people view the monetary aspect as being part of what is a true entrepreneur.

Something else I feel we haven't covered is as much as some can have entrepreneurial skills is that enough or so they also need enough business acumen to run whatever venture it may be successfully?
 
bsfweb

bsfweb

New Member
Does this make someone an entrepreneur? Someone who lies about his revenue and misleads corporate investors and regulators?

I refer to Michael Dell and the recent fraud case against Dell's reporting of its own financial performance.

Breakthrough In Dell Fraud Case

This is the second time in the same number of years that Dell has misled Stockmarkets on financial performance.

What effect will this have on stock value and investor relations, customers and suppliers?

Is this the death knell of the business, or doesn't the CEO's behaviour make much difference to the performance of the business as a whole?
 

Associates

Large Scale Plastic Moulding
Dexion Pallet Racking
Top