Entrepreneurship: What does it REALLY mean?

Introduction:

In a world where ideas drive economies, it is no wonder that innovation and entrepreneurship are often seen as inseparable bedfellows. The governments around the world are starting to realize that in order to sustain progress and improve a country’s economy, the people have to be encouraged and trained to think out-of-the-box and be constantly developing innovative products and services. The once feasible ways of doing business are no longer guarantees for future economic success!

In response to this inevitable change, some governments are rethinking the way the young are educated by infusing creative thinking and innovation in their nation’s educational curriculum. In the same vein, they are putting much emphasis on the need to train future entrepreneurs through infusing entrepreneurship components within the educational system, especially at the tertiary level.

Some countries have taken this initiative to a higher level by introducing entrepreneurship education at elementary schools and encouraging them to be future entrepreneurs when they are of age. In a series of survey funded by Kauffman Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, it was found that nearly seven out of 10 youths (aged 14-19) were interested in becoming entrepreneurs.

Being an entrepreneur is now the choice of the new generation as compared to the preferred career choices of yesteryears such as being a doctor, lawyer or a fighter pilot. In a recent visit to the bustling city of Shanghai in China, an informal survey was carried out among Chinese youths by the author. The results of the survey showed that being an entrepreneur, especially in the field of computer and e-commerce, is perceived as a ‘cool’ career and is an aspiration for many Chinese youths Prior to the ‘opening up’ of modern China, being an entrepreneur was perceived as the outcome of one’s inability to hold a good government job and those who dared to venture, were often scorned at by their peers. Times have indeed changed.

With this change in mindset and the relative knowledge that entrepreneurs bring forth increased job creations, the awareness and academic studies of entrepreneurship have also heightened. In many tertiary institutes, many courses of entrepreneurship and innovation are being developed and offered to cater to the increasing demand. The term “entrepreneurship” has also evolved with numerous variations. The proliferation of jargons such as netpreneur, biotechpreneur, technopreneur and multipreneur are coined to keep up with the ever-changing times and business conditions that surround us.

In view of these changes, it is important that the definition of entrepreneurship be refined or redefined to enable its application in this 21st century. To put it succinctly, “Good science has to begin with good definitions (Bygrave & Hofer, 1991, p13).” Without the proper definition, it will be laborious for policymakers to develop successful programs to inculcate entrepreneurial qualities in their people and organizations within their country.

The paper will provide a summary of the definitions of entrepreneurship provided by scholars in this subject area. The author will also expand on one of the definitions by Joseph Schumpeter to create a better understanding of the definition of the term “entrepreneurship” as applied in today’s business world.

Entrepreneurship through the Years:

It was discovered that the term ‘entrepreneurship’ could be found from the French verb ‘entreprende’ in the twelfth century though the meaning may not be that applicable today. This meaning of the word then was to do something without any link to economic profits, which is the antithesis of what entrepreneurship is all about today. It was only in the early 1700′s, when French economist, Richard Cantillon, described an entrepreneur as one who bears risks by buying at certain prices and selling at uncertain prices (Barreto, 1989, Casson 1982) which is probably closer to the term as applied today.

In the 1776 thought-provoking book ‘The Wealth of Nations’, Adam Smith explained clearly that it was not the benevolence of the baker but self-interest that motivated him to provide bread. From Smith’s standpoint, entrepreneurs were the economic agents who transformed demand into supply for profits.

In 1848, the famous economist John Stuart Mill described entrepreneurship as the founding of a private enterprise. This encompassed the risk takers, the decision makers, and the individuals who desire wealth by managing limited resources to create new business ventures.

One of the definitions that the author feels best exemplifies entrepreneurship was coined by Joseph Schumpeter (1934). He stated that the entrepreneur is one who applies “innovation” within the context of the business to satisfy unfulfilled market demand (Liebenstein, 1995). In elaboration, he saw an entrepreneur as an innovator who implements change within markets through the carrying out of new combinations. The carrying out of new combinations can take several forms:

The introduction of a new good or standard of quality;

  • The introduction of a novel method of production;
  • The opening of a new market;
  • The acquisition of a new source of new materials supply; and
  • The carrying out of the new organization in any industry.

Though the term ‘innovation’ has different meanings to different people, several writers tended to see “innovation” in the form of entrepreneurship as one not of incremental change but quantum change in the new business start-ups and the goods/services that they provide (egs, Bygrave, 1995; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

In the view of Drucker (1985), he perceived entrepreneurship as the creation of a new organization, regardless of its ability to sustain itself, let alone make a profit. The notion of an individual who starts a new business venture would be sufficient for him/her to be labeled as an entrepreneur. It is this characteristic that distinguishes entrepreneurship from the routine management tasks of allocating resources in an already established business organization. Though the definition tends to be somewhat simplistic in nature, it firmly attaches the nature of entrepreneurial action with risk-taking and the bearing of uncertainty by the individual (Swoboda, 1983)

In a Delphi study, Gartner (1990) found eight themes expressed by the participants that constitute the nature of entrepreneurship. They were the entrepreneur, innovation, organization creation, creating value, profit or non-profit, growth, uniqueness, and the owner-manager. The themes could be seen as a derivative and expansion of Schumpter’s earlier concept.

Expanding on Schumpeter’s Definition:

After digesting the numerous definitions of entrepreneurship, one would tend to see a strong link between these two terms: entrepreneurship and innovation. In retrospect, most of the definitions tended to be, to some extent, a re-work and expansion of Schumpeter’s definition of entrepreneurship (which is that of innovation being applied in a business context).

As defining the term of ‘innovation’ is highly debatable and would merit a paper on its own, the author has thus, for convenience, summarised the definition of innovation. Innovation can be perceived simply as the transformation of creative ideas into useful applications by combining resources in new or unusual ways to provide value to society for or improved products, technology, or services.

In the author’s opinion, the difficulties of defining “innovation” could be the reason for the quandary one finds in attempting to arrive at a clear-cut definition of the term ” Entrepreneurship”.

Take for example, if someone starts another run-of-the-mill hot dog stand in the streets of New York, will he termed as an entrepreneur? According to Drucker’s definition, he will be seen as one. However, if the above definition by Schumpeter was used as a guideline, the answer is probably ‘NO’.

Why? The core of the matter lies in what is so innovative about setting up another hot-dog stand which are in abundance in New York. On the contrary, if he is the first one to start a stand selling hot-dogs with Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce topping; he could be termed as an entrepreneur (even based on Schumpeter’s requirement) as he has done what others have not done before. In the context of entrepreneurship, creativity and innovation are key points in the whole scheme of things.

In this manner, by adding “innovative” features to a product or services and setting up a business based on these additional features to compete in the existing market, new entrants may be able to gain this competitive advantage over existing market players.

In the case of the hot-dog seller, it may be argued that his addition of Oriental Sweet and Sour sauce toppings may be seen as nondescript. This runs in contrary to some scholars’ definition of entrepreneurship as requiring quantum changes in the products/ services to be justified as being entrepreneurial (Bygrave, 1985; Bygrave & Hofer, 1991).

Consistent with creating new products for sale, someone who starts a business by providing a totally new way of serving his customers/ clients is considered to be entrepreneurial too. Though, it is often argued that there are no real new products or services in a case where one does not look to the past products and services for ideas for improvements. Thus, the notion of incremental improvements should be accepted as being innovative too.

Innovation in the business sense may not necessarily involve, in the physical sense, the introduction of a new product or service. It can be in the form of what is commonly known as creative imitations. For example, if an individual starts selling a product that is already common in his area or country, he will not be seen as being entrepreneurial. However, if he is the first to sell the same product in a virgin locale or to an untouched market segment, he will be seen as an entrepreneur in his own rights.

Take Muhammad Yunus, for example. Yunus became an entrepreneur when he started a micro-loan program for the poor villagers in a rural part of Bangladesh named Grameen, with only US$26. The loan was divided among 42 villagers to assist them to buy small items such as combs, scissors, needles and other necessities to start their own home businesses. In the past 22 years, Grameen Bank has grown with over $2 billion loans granted. It has now become a model for several micro-loan facilities.

>From the following example, Yunus created banking and lending facilities in Grameen specifically for the poor villagers. Banking and lending money activities are not new but Yunus was the first to provide such facilities in a rural part of Bangladesh and that is definitely innovation and risk-bearing on his part as a social entrepreneur. In short, innovation need not arise mainly from a new product or service but it could be an old product or service finding a new market for penetration.

An individual could be termed as an entrepreneur if he or she sells a product or service using new systems and/ or mediums of marketing, distribution or production methods as a basis for a new business venture. A good example will be Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, the successful Web-based bookstore. He was one of the first to sell books on a large scale using an online store and also patented the one-click system for online buying. Though selling books is not an innovation in itself, Jeff Bezos was innovative in the use of the Internet then as a viable marketing and sales channel for selling books.

Another example from the field of e-commerce is Stuart Skorman, the founder of Reel.com [http://Reel.com]. Reel.com [http://Reel.com] is essentially one of the first cyber movie store with a very large inventory of over a 100 000 videos. Though setting a movie store was revolutionary then, Reel.com [http://Reel.com] main distinction was being known as the first online store to expand by opening an offline store. The founder felt that by doing so, the online store could be an advertisement for the offline store and vice versa, thus strengthening this click and mortar business venture- an example of creativity and innovation applied in a profitable business context.

Conclusion:

This paper has started as an attempt to redefine the term of entrepreneurship but ended up ‘updating’ the wheel, based on the definition as proposed by Schumpeter. The paper expanded on this influential work by giving examples to illustrate what innovation in entrepreneurship was and hope that along the way, new insights were unearthed in the study of defining entrepreneurship.

In summary, the author hopes that this paper would further encourage the infusion of creative thinking and innovation within the educational system to nurture future entrepreneurs with a competitive edge. In the author’s view, the characteristics and capabilities to set up a new business venture based on doing things that have not done before should be encouraged. Innovation needs to be the cornerstone of entrepreneurship as opposed to the mere setting up of another new enterprise without implementing changes or adding features of improvements to the products and services provided and/ or its business processes.

Rent a Motorcycle

Traveling and commuting can really be annoying especially if time is of the essence. Imagine having only less than a week to visit and see all the things you want. It is really annoying when you have to think about the traffic. So if you need to go to your destination as fast as possible, why not rent a motorcycle?

Renting a motorcycle is a fun and easy way to reach your travel destination. Imagine having to sit for hours riding a car, van, or bus in a traffic-congested street or highway. With a motorcycle you can drive easily even on some busy streets or traffic-congested highway. You never have to miss an important work meeting or miss getting to the local museums, art galleries or theater on time!

When you plan your much-awaited vacation, either together with your life-partner or two of your closest friend, it is better that you already have a mode of transportation in mind. If you plan to go to a beautiful resort or just roam around the cities of Paris, Barcelona, ​​Singapore, Thailand, or any place that you would like to visit, make sure that you have already included a vehicle service to take you to your desired Scenic spots. If you know how to drive a motorcycle, go ahead and rent a motorcycle. But, remember that choosing this mode of transportation is ideal if you are traveling with your wife, girlfriend, or a close friend. It is convenient, cheap, and great if you love to travel light.

The Most Important Components of Physical Fitness

There are components of physical fitness which insurance companies and trainers take into account as they are significant to the overall evaluation of health. Basically it is similar to a fine-tuning a racing engine, you would never add diesel to an engine that requires high octane.

When physical trainers measure the fitness of a person they use some components of physical fitness to test against a set standard and to develop goals for further improvement. By incorporating these components of physical fitness you can not only improve your health but also lose weight.

The first of these is muscular strength. This measures the ability of the muscle to exert a maximal force through a range of motion or to a given point. This is measured for a short period of time and usually incorporates the use of weights for evaluation.

As muscular strength varies through the body, you might for instance you have
high muscular strength in your arms while having weaker legs, this component is related to the amount and type of exercise that your body undergoes. Weight training or strength training is the only method to improve strength. One principle of increased muscle mass is that that a larger amount of muscle consumes a greater number of calories, even at rest. By increasing mass you effectively increase the amount of calories needed for your body at rest and will reduce your body fat ratio. Another benefit to strength training is that it will help to maintain your bone structure and decrease your risk of osteoporosis.

The second component is muscular endurance. This reflects to your muscles ability to work through a range of motion over a specific amount of time. This can be measured by the ability to hold a weight for a specific amount of time – say 20 pounds over-head for 5 minutes. Many times this component is measured through push-ups as these are exercises that exert a specific amount of pressure over time. This measures the upper body muscular endurance.

Muscular endurance is often confused with muscular strength because they are related. However they offer different benefits, while using muscular endurance an athlete is able to shovel snow for an hour lifting and moving a sub-maximum amount of snow over a specified amount of time. Muscular strength would have been the ability of the arms and shoulders to lift the maximum amount a couple of times.

The trainer will test muscular endurance while he will also be testing cardiovascular endurance because these two components are closely related. Cardiovascular endurance will reflect how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body, this is also called aerobic fitness. Trainers may use long runs or swims to test cardiac endurance and test muscular endurance at the same time. This is the cornerstone to complete health and fitness. Without cardiovascular endurance you can not improve the rest of your fitness.

Another component is flexibility, this is the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion and the elasticity of the muscles. Some refer to this as how limber or supple you are, this is a major component of physical fitness and one that is often over looked. Not everyone needs to be as limber as a gymnast but we all need a degree of flexibility to deal with the demands placed on us during our daily lives.

Stretching is associated with flexibility in order to maintain or increase the ability of a joint to stretch further. Maintaining your flexibility is important for protection of your joints and allowing you to strengthen further to protect your back and reduce the pain of arthritis.

The final component of physical fitness is body composition. This is the ratio of lean body mass to fat body mass. This proportion does not refer to your weight in pounds or to your figure but to a measurement against a standard. Women and men have different body composition ratios. Women carry a higher percentage of fat to maintain a developing baby. This does not mean that women are fatter – but that their fat distribution is different.

Your body composition is really more a consequence of your overall fitness. If you have a high body fat mass ratio you are more at risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, joint and back pain, arthritis, stroke and tendon-muscle accidents.

These components of physical fitness are foundation to physical fitness and the ability of the human body to withstand external forces and internal stress while maintaining health and wellness.

Business Coaching: Why Partnering With a Coach Makes Sense Now

As an entrepreneur, you want a lot: to grow your business in a way that feels authentic, to serve the right customers with the right products, to create a positive impact, while at the same time enjoying a meaningful and fulfilling life outside of your business. This can often feel quite daunting. You may find that you are spending countless hours doing, doing, doing without getting the results that you want and deserve. Business coaching is a business growth tool that is well worth your consideration. Let’s take a look at what it is and why it works.

A coach starts by getting to know and understand both you and your business. He or she will help you be very clear in defining what success looks like from your vantage point and then work with you to develop the vision, strategies, projects, goals, and timelines that-assuming you take action-will lead you to that success.

Business coaching is neither therapy nor pure consulting. The therapy model assumes that someone is broken and needs to be “fixed,” while a consultant may hand you a set of instructions that any generic business owner might follow. Coaching on the other hand is very personal and is relationship-based. Your coach will likely use a blend of encouragement, persuasion, and inspiration to keep you in action while you begin creating the results that you want.

Coaching works well when you are open to partnering with someone trained in helping business owners be their best. Professional coaches are particularly skilled in listening, strategizing, supporting, and keeping you on track with your tasks, projects, goals, vision, and dreams. And they do this without judgment of you and (importantly) without having a personal stake in the outcome. In this sense, your coach does what a spouse, business partner, or best friend can often have trouble doing: he or she is a completely objective third party who is 100% on your side.

The title of this article suggests that business coaching makes sense “now.” What do we mean by that? As a business coach, I naturally am predisposed to advocating coaching as a practical and effective tool under most circumstances. And yet, there is something happening right now in the autumn of 2010 that is in my opinion making coaching an even more compelling choice. Over the past month, I have been noticing that we are in a time of what I call congruent manifestation. That is simply a fancy way of saying that a lot of my coaching clients (and other people I know) are hearing “yes” over and over again. We seem to collectively be in a period of time during which it is easier to create the success that is possible when we are clear about what we want and take action aligned with that desire. From media deals to new jobs, to graduate school acceptance, to artists being awarded public grants, I am seeing people consistently hearing a big, resonant “yes!” to those outcomes that they are longing for and working towards.

So how about it? Are you ready to finally create the success that even now is out there waiting for you? It is my deep desire–whether you take advantage of what business coaching has to offer or not-that you will create a business and a life of deep fulfillment, service, and joy.