Entrepreneurship Is …

I caught this on twitter, a tweet by @hrtools, and it started me thinking. No disrespect to Peter Drucker, because of course he’s right; he always is, by definition. Still, I can’t resist asking.

Is it a practice, or …

…  a way of life? Ask the serial entrepreneur, or the lifestyle entrepreneur. Ask a business owner whose business is working. Ask me or my wife – it’s been our way of life since 1983.

a dream? A few years ago Time Magazine wrote about a poll asking Americans what they dreamed about. “Starting my own business” came in second to taking a long trip, with 25% of the respondents. I used to dream about it, before I did it.

a nightmare? Go ask somebody who lost a job, house, or spouse over a failed business. Ask somebody who started a business, came to hate it, and couldn’t get out.  It was a nightmare for us when it turned dark and threatening, during the bad periods and hard times.

a false hope? Ask one of those people who spends forever writing business plans that never happen. Maybe this relates to my post here last week, if you can’t get funding, it’s you, not them.

an escape? Ask somebody in a relationship with an entrepreneur who lives for the business and nothing else.

Entrepreneurship is a science to academics who study it. And by the way, scientists: hurry up! Get us better information on what works or doesn’t and why. Improve on existing methods and studies … that that there aren’t some exceptions, but the rule is they are mired in conflicting definitions, lack of random data points, and political biases. Business starts? Failures? Causes of failure? Get going on it, and do it better, please. It’s pretty important.

Entrepreneurship is also an art. Think about what it takes to develop a business around an idea, to pull together a team, to lead people, get things done, and balance a budget. Then tell me it isn’t.


  • David J. Miller says:

    Great post Tim. It is many of those things, great extensions/additions to Drucker’s work. BTW, academics are busy at work, BUT many/most are fixated on high-tech/venture backed firms. As we know, that slice of the pie grabs most of the media market share, so it should not be a surprise that academics have migrated there.

  • Greg Lam says:

    Good point Tim, entrepreneurship is many things to many people and one’s view about entrepreneurship can easily conflict and contradict with others’.

    This is why I like to stay away from giving general business advice and lean more towards trying to give practical how to advice for specific situations and tasks.

    If I remember correctly, The Illusions of Entrepreneurship http://www.amazon.com/Illusions-Entrepreneurship-Costly-Entrepreneurs-Investors/dp/0300113315 has some good hard facts on business.

  • bill thomas says:

    Entrepreneurship isn’t just about starting a business. If each employee in the world thought of themselves as service providers (entrepreneurs) and their clients were their employers, imagine what a difference their lives would take on. A true entrepreneur finds a need and fills it. Going into business to make money or to seek more freedom is the wrong reason. The best and longest lasting entrepreneurs do it to serve. The money just comes as a bonus.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *