Entrepreneurs are Born?

Vivienne of Versa Creations has written a piece on Entrepreneurs are Born, and then she had to go and tag me to do a piece on it. Well, actually, I do have an opinion about this.

Everyone knows that entrepreneurs are people who run their own business. But actually, that is not quite correct. If I were employed to run a little shop, say, a 7-Eleven; I am an employee. Now, if I ran my own little shop, I am an entrepreneur. That is a little too simple. I could simply be an employee and my boss is life’s exigencies.

So then, who is an entrepreneur? There is this boy, who started to catch spiders and crickets, and he put them in little boxes. He sold them to his classmates at fifty cents a box. Soon, word spread, and he got more and more orders. One day, his dad found a little book, with names written on it, and dollar values against them. Questioned by dad, he admitted that he got so many orders for spiders and crickets, he began asking other boys to catch them, he paid them thirty cents each, and sold them for fifty cents. Furious, his dad immediately put a stop to this. His opinion was, he wanted his son to go school to learn things, not become a “hustler”. A few years later, this boy went to High School. The school had a project, an entrepreneurship project. Each class was asked to come up with a business plan, and do run the business. Within 6 months, the kid was at it again, trading online items for cash, and waving the letter from the school at his dad, “So, now that this is part of my education, can I continue this business?”.

How many of us have set up the quintessential “Lemonade Stand”? How many of us did this without someone telling us to do so? How many of us grew that Lemonade Stand into Orange Julius?

You can train in the skills needed to be an entrepreneur. Train to run a business. You can learn the talk. You can even walk the walk. But I think, in the end, the entrepreneur is in the heart, in the soul. There is a little of the entrepreneur in all of us. Yet, there is a poet in everyone too. But let’s face it, there is a difference between a skill learnt and a talent that blossoms.

This nurture vs nature question will never be resolved and there are evidence both ways. But all things being equal, when a group is left stranded on an island, the leaders shall emerge, the followers will follow; and the entrepreneur will set up his coconut juice stand to feed them all.

[tags]entrepreneur, small business, leadership[/tags]

4 Replies to “Entrepreneurs are Born?”

  1. Hi Calvin,

    I followed you here from your comment on Vivienne’s blog. You have an interesting point: “when a group is left stranded on an island, the leaders shall emerge, the followers will follow.”

    I think the real question is this: what makes the leaders lead and the followers follow? I’m leaning a specific direction on this one. I’ll post later in the week.

  2. Interesting!

    One of the ways I amuse myself during breaks in conferences and the like (yes, I know, bit sad really) is to imagine the group to be the only ones left in the world, and to assess who would emerge as the leader … I definitely think there is an innate tendency to lead or to follow.

    Was the spider-boy you?

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