An entrepreneur is a person who sets up a business by taking on financial risks in hope to make a profit. The word entrepreneur stems from the French word entreprendré which means ‘to undertake’. A couple of examples are Lord Alan Sugar and Bill Gates. Lord Sugar is an entrepreneur worth £800 million. He started by selling car aerials out of a van, he then set up his company, Amstrad which sold affordable hi-fi turntable covers. In 1993 he founded Amsair Executive Aviation with his son Daniel who provide executive and business jet charters. Bill Gates was the world’s first centibillionaire. He began programming aged 13 and continued to gain experience with computing before studying law at Harvard. He spent most of time there programming and created Microsoft. This became the most used computer software in the world. He was CEO up until 2008 and is still a chair in the company. This essay will look at the traits that many entrepreneurs have and see which ones you are born with and which are attainable through education or training allowing anyone to become an entrepreneur. It will conclude arguing that entrepreneurs are made though not all the traits can be improved through training.
Traits of Entrepreneurs
One trait of entrepreneurs is the need for independence (Brooks 2011). Many entrepreneurs do not want to work for other people and it is this independence that attracts them as they can control their own work and life, it is often a more flexible lifestyle as an entrepreneur can take time off when he wants to. Another trait is the need for fulfilment (Delgado-García et al. 2012). This is believed to be the main drive in entrepreneurs and it isn’t always making money that is the aim. Often their targets are very personal such as becoming international or to employ 100 employees (Brooks 2011). There is also the trait of having an internal locus of control. Being an internal means that you believe you control a broad array of factors in your life (Judge & Bono 2001). An external is the opposite and believes in fate and not being able to control your entire life.
These people are less likely to take risks and therefore would make poor entrepreneurs. Entrepreneurs need to be self confident. If an entrepreneur isn’t confident in their product or service they are providing then it will be less likely the entrepreneur will be successful. For investors and shareholders to be confident in the business or business plan then the entrepreneur must be 100% confident in what he is pitching. Entrepreneurs must be innovative also. They must be able to use innovation to create an opportunity. It is a key skill to be able to spot gaps in the market, and take this opportunity to develop a successful business to make money and produce new products.
Born or Made?
Starting with the first trait independence, independence meaning not wanting to be an employee but be self employed. This is a personal preference which you may be born with and always have a desire to be your own boss. However, this preference may come down to a parent being self employed and seeing him/her having the freedom to take days or afternoons off work and be more flexible may encourage their offspring to be entrepreneurs. The trait of needing fulfilment is one that most people are either born with or not born with. Many people may be happy in a job where they are earning a decent amount and don’t feel the need to try and move up in a company’s hierarchy or leave their job and become an entrepreneur. However, people may not be born with the need for fulfilment but have an idea they genuinely think will succeed and this may encourage them to become more motivated and they will want it to succeed.
Overall, the trait of needing fulfilment and achievement is one that can be adopted when older and not necessarily born with. In the case of the internal locus of control, this is something that people may have strong views about and many people make up their own mind about whether they control their own lives or whether fate decides. Education and training is unlikely to change people’s perspective. This perspective is likely to arise from how the person has been brought up, if their parents always told them how fate doesn’t exist then they will probably grow up to believe the same, this means it isn’t something that you are born with (genetic) but is something you may pick up during childhood through the surrounding environment. As shown above confidence is key to being a successful entrepreneur, confidence is something that many people are born with.
However, confidence can be built up through therapy or by changing mental attitudes. On the whole, confidence can be made but some people are more naturally confident than others and will need to work less at being that confident entrepreneur. Innovation is something that is hard to teach and is a trait that you are born with, some people would struggle to come up with ideas and find a gap in the market just as some people are naturally talented at painting and some have to work at it. Innovation is slightly harder to teach that painting however, this is the one trait which would be hard to improve in a person.
As the above shows many of the traits entrepreneurs need are born with however, they can be improved through education and training later in life. The only one that cannot be improved very easily is innovation. Many people may argue that none of the traits are born with and that they are all developed during childhood and through the environment a person is brought up in. For this reason entrepreneurs are made and many of the traits can be improved to allow a person to become a better entrepreneur.
Billett, M.T. & Qian, Y., 2008. Are Overconfident CEOs Born or Made? Evidence of Self-Attribution Bias from Frequent Acquirers. Management Science, 54(6), pp.1037-1051. Burns, P., 2008. Corporate Entrepreneurship 2nd Edition. Hampshire. Palgrave Macmillan Delgado-García, J.B., Rodríguez-Escudero, A.I. & Martín-Cruz, N., 2012. Influence of Affective Traits on Entrepreneur’s Goals and Satisfaction. Journal of Small Business Management. 50(3), pp.408-428. Judge, T.A. & Bono, J.E., 2001. Relationship of Core Self-Evaluations Traits – Self-Esteem, Generalized Self-Efficacy, Locus of Control, and Emotional Stability – With Job Satisfaction and Job Performance: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Applied Psychology. 86(1), pp.80-92 Piperopoulos, P.G., 2011. Business Emergence and Growth. Hampshire. Palgrave Macmillan.
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