What Does It Mean to Be An Entrepreneur?
If you’re a small business owner and you don’t subscribe to Inc. Magazine, stop reading this and go get yourself a subscription and then come back here!
OK, welcome back to the new subscribers, now we’ll all be on the same page. The reason I feel so strongly about Inc. Magazine is that I have found so many interesting ideas and articles in the past couple years that I have been reading it and I know Jack has been reading it a lot longer than I have. Jack calls it the small business bible!
A great example of an interesting article is one in the August 2007 issue by Thomas K. McCraw who profiles an economist named Joseph Schumpeter (1883 – 1950). Schumpeter, like many geniuses, was not fully appreciated in his time. In 1911, at the age of 28, he wrote a book called The Theory of Economic Development which crowned the entrepreneur as the source of all economic progress!
Here are a couple of key points of Schumpeter that McCraw highlights in the article that caught my attention:
1. Failure is a phase through which nearly all people must pass on the way to success. The ability to take a punch and then get up off the canvas to win the fight is one of the defining characteristics of entrepreneurs. This is what we often refer to as the school of “hard knocks” that most small business owners go through to learn how to be a CEO. Nothing is a better teacher than making mistakes.
2. Schumpeter coined the phrase “creative destruction” to describe the incessant changes typical of capitalistic economies. This observation – that the same innovation that creates an opportunity for one business destroys another – became his signature insight. This is why you will rarely meet an entrepreneur who is comfortable in his or her current position. The moment you let up on the gas pedal and get comfortable will be the moment when your competition gains ground on you.
3. An outsider himself, Schumpeter believed that outsiders in general are better positioned to imagine big changes and new opportunities. Because of the tremendous obstacles entrepreneurs must overcome, Schumpeter held that successful innovation is “a feat not of intellect but of will.” This is what Jack and I lovingly refer to as “the grind” that typifies most successful small business owners.
4. A roster of leading entrepreneurs is like a hotel: “always full of people, but people who are forever changing.” What a fantastic visual!
If you are a small business owner who has not been a regular reader of Inc. Magazine, welcome aboard. I guarantee that you will find a handful of articles each month that resonate very well with you and that will inspire you to move your business forward.
I’ll leave you today with the challenge McCraw provides in his article, “Will you be the creator and developer of a new opportunity or one whose business is overtaken and destroyed by someone else, outworking you either at home or abroad?”