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What Does it Take to Be an Entrepreneur?

Those who choose to be entrepreneurs take on a big responsibility when they start a business. If their business fails, they risk losing not only the source of their income, but often also their life savings. But if they succeed, they can make a significant contribution to society and reap major financial rewards.

Entrepreneurs are found in all industries and occupations. They may be involved in tech, manufacturing, retail or even agriculture and food services. But they all share the same characteristics of creativity, ingenuity and perseverance that are the hallmarks of an entrepreneurial spirit.

According to a report by the Bloomberg Philanthropies, entrepreneurship has become one of the most important economic drivers in the United States and around the world. The study found that it is especially prevalent among minorities, including Black and Hispanic adults, who have higher rates of entrepreneurship than White adults.

The word “entrepreneur” is derived from the French verb, entreprendre, meaning to undertake or enter into something. The first academic use of the term was likely in 1730 by economist Richard Cantillon, who identified a person’s willingness to bear the financial risk of starting a business as the most critical trait. The term gained broader popularity in the 1800s through the work of John Stuart Mill and Jean-Baptiste Say, who defined it as the process of adding value in a product or service through creative destruction.

In addition to generating ideas and bringing them to fruition, entrepreneurs must be good managers of their businesses. They have to manage and motivate employees, deal with the financial risks of their ventures and create a plan for growth and expansion. They are also required to develop and implement strategies to overcome obstacles that arise in their businesses, such as changing consumer demand, a lack of funding or a change in government regulations.

Entrepreneurs are able to add value in their businesses through creative destruction, which is the process of converting low-performing parts of an industry into new and better products or services. Whether they are creating an autonomous vehicle or a new way to book dental appointments, entrepreneurs must innovate in order to stay ahead of their competitors and keep consumers happy.

Many experts agree that the best way to be a successful entrepreneur is to take calculated risks, do your research in advance and seek out mentors. However, no matter how much you prepare, there is no guarantee that your venture will be a success. The key is to understand your own strengths and weaknesses and choose an idea that you are passionate about.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but those who are well suited to the challenge can find it rewarding and challenging. To learn more about your suitability for a career in entrepreneurship, complete BDC’s free Entrepreneurial Potential Self-Assessment. It is a great way to see if this path is right for you. BDC is the official credit provider for Startup Canada, which provides support and services to entrepreneurs.