Redefine entrepreneurialism and sustainability may flourish...
The online Oxford dictionaries site says that an entrepreneur is
- a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit
Wikipedia says that entrepreneurship is:
- the process of starting a business or other organization
The Cambridge online dictionaries site defines entrepreneurialism as:
- the skills that you need to start your own business
The 'Small Business Pro' site says that the skills you need to run your own business are:
- leadership skills
- strategic planning skills
- marketing skills
- sales and customer relations skills
- communication skills
- people management skills
- finance and accounting skills
Neither the Small Business Pro site, nor any other, is prepared to say how much of these skills you might require: and that makes sense, of course. Each of these 'skills' is not only qualitative, but arranged on a spectrum: people are more or less good at each of them; and there is no template for what combination of skills, at what 'level', comprises effective entrepreneurialism.
But wait. Just how 'business'-specific are these skills? Imagine specifying the skills required to - say - run a home or household successfully. Or to raise a child, or children, successfully. Or to look after a large garden.
And if you find yourself looking through the list of skills you need 'to run your own business' and thinking "Well, I can't see how that skill is relevant to looking after a large garden", then recall or imagine a business entrepreneur of your acquaintance and ask: is there at least one of these areas where the person I am thinking of is singularly crap?
So I wish to re-cast the notion of entrepreneurialism as:
- the process of deploying finite resources in pursuit of a goal where there is a genuine risk of failure
Which is by way of suggesting that entrepreneurialism is a skill-set universally present in the population, and which, as a result of its compound nature, is distributed in an untidy spectrum from 'low' to 'high'.
And why this might be of any use whatsoever? Two reasons:
- it would signal a broader notion of 'reward' or 'return' or 'success' than merely profit
- it would include and legitimise a much wider set of people within the group upon whose resourcefulness and creativity our collective prosperity depends
So if you've ever thought haughtily about housework, or gardening or parenting - think again.
[If there's a photo down here it was added August 2017 as part of blog refresh. Photo is either mine or is linked to where I found it. Make of either what you will.]