Unravelling the true meaning of Entrepreneurship

By J. Aditya, Asst.Professor of WSB

There is a common misconception that business ownership is equivalent to Entrepreneurship. This is conventional wisdom. For instance, a man launching a fast food restaurant is certainly holding a stake and taking a certain amount of risk. But is he creating a new consumer demand or fulfilling the unmet needs of a consumer? It is apparent that he is relying on the popularity of eating out. Therefore, there are pertinent questions to be addressed in order to evaluate whether one is an Entrepreneur. Let us name an imaginary business owner as Adam and assess whether he is an entrepreneur through the following questions :

  • Is Adam creating holding a stake in the business ?
  • Is Adam creating a new consumer demand ?
  • Is Adam fulfilling unmet consumer needs ?
  • Is Adam inventing a new business model ?
  • Is Adam systematically using Innovation as a tool ?

Although an affirmative answer to all the above questions may or may not make Adam an entrepreneur, a negative answer to even one question will not make him an entrepreneur. This set of questions provides us a chance to expand our definition of Entrepreneurship. Consequently, this expansion will enable us to look beyond the horizon in the marketplace.  In the current era, entrepreneurs have a wide  array of business models to choose from. However, the practice of choosing an existing business model contradicts the fundamental definition of an entrepreneur. Therefore, the  Entrepreneur is creating value and taking a risk by inventing a new business model. Exploring sources of innovation is also one of the core functions. Furthermore, an entrepreneur operates under conditions of uncertainty. There is no escaping fact that embracing uncertainty is paramount to become a well-established entrepreneur.

Businessmen who delve into certainty are likely to operate businesses that are profitable and popular in nature but are unlikely to become formidable entrepreneurs. The entrepreneur is in constant search of change and transformation and deploys them as a metamorphic opportunity. Entrepreneurs not only lack methodologies and violate elementary rules, but also flip orthodoxies. The basic premise in the business world is much of what passes for business wisdom is the unquestioned dogma masquerading as unquestioned truth. The best entrepreneurs demolish this premise and put forward leading questions on the most dogmatic notions. Finally, one cannot be an entrepreneur by following an existing entrepreneur.