What is Entrepreneurship?

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At its core, entrepreneurship is starting a business from scratch, which includes everything from idea conception to managing the company for the long term.

Nolan Bushnell, who founded Atari and Chuck E. Cheese's, believes the key to becoming an entrepreneur is as simple as doing something.

"A lot of people have ideas, but there are few who decide to do something about them now," Bushnell said. "Not tomorrow. Not next week. But, today. The true entrepreneur is a doer, not a dreamer."

Peter Drucker, known as "The Father of Modern Management," said entrepreneurship centers around innovation.
"Entrepreneurs need to search purposefully for the sources of innovation, the changes and their symptoms that indicate opportunities for successful innovation," Drucker said. "And they need to know and to apply the principles of successful innovation."
While there are no specific traits common among all entrepreneurs, the University of Illinois Center for Economic and Financial Education believes there are certain characteristics that most successful entrepreneurs possess, including:

Ability to Plan: Entrepreneurs must be able to develop business plans to meet goals in a variety of areas, including finance, marketing, production, sales and personnel.

Communication Skills: Entrepreneurs should be able to explain, discuss, sell and market their goods or service.

Marketing Skills: Good marketing skills, which result in people wanting to buy goods or services, are critical to entrepreneurial success.

Interpersonal Skills: The ability to establish and maintain positive relationships with customers and clients, employees, financial lenders, investors, lawyers and accountants, among others, is crucial to the success of the entrepreneur’s business venture.

Basic Management Skills: Even if entrepreneurs hire others to deal with the day-to-day tasks of the business, entrepreneurs need to know whether their company has the correct resources.

Leadership Skills: The ability to develop a vision for the company and to inspire employees to pursue it is imperative for success.

Many of history's top business leaders earned their success thorough entrepreneurship. This includes

Henry Ford, Walt Disney, Coco Chanel, Ray Kroc, John Rockefeller, Mark Kay Ash, P.T. Barnum and Estee Lauder.

Mark Cuban, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, Martha Stewart and Russell Simmons are among today's most successful entrepreneurs. The list includes Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, who believes entrepreneurship is all about survival.

"Nobody talks about entrepreneurship as survival, but that's exactly what it is and what nurtures creative thinking," Roddick said. "Running that first shop taught me business is not financial science; it's about trading: buying and selling."

While many workers used to focus on becoming corporate leaders, new studies show entrepreneurs are paving the way for the next generation of business innovators.

Research by Intelligent Office revealed nearly 65 percent of workers would prefer to be an entrepreneur or independent worker rather than work in an office.

Additionally, the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation's Index of Entrepreneurial Activity shows approximately 543,000 new businesses were created each month in 2011.

While the goal is always success, accomplished entrepreneurs must be prepared to move on to the next venture should one not work out.

"I have not failed," Thomas Edison once said. "I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work."

Chad Brooks is a Chicago-based freelance business and technology writer who has worked in public relations and spent 10 years as a newspaper reporter. You can reach him at or follow him on Twitter @cbrooks76.

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