Is everyone an entrepreneur?

Can everyone be an entrepreneur? It seems like a simple question but it’s not. You see it depends first on what definition you use to describe an entrepreneur. It could be argued that entrepreneur is one of the most misused terms in business today with many people calling themselves or being referred to as entrepreneurs. It is often used to describe someone who owns a business. Full stop.

So using that definition, yes, anyone could own a business particularly if there was no reference to whether or not the business was successful. But I don’t believe that is the correct definition of an entrepreneur.

An entrepreneur is more than that. I like the definition “a person who organises and manages any enterprise, especially a business with considerable initiative and risk.” Using that definition not everyone is an entrepreneur. I don’t think that’s the end of the question though.

Being entrepreneurial requires having a collection of traits such as innovation, lateral thinking, confidence, high risk tolerance and business savvy. And there are elements of these characteristics in most successful business owners who are not considered your classic Richard Branson or Janine Allis.

Entrepreneurism is more of a spectrum with some people being highly entrepreneurial and others not so much. Like any spectrum such as introversion and extroversion, each of us may have a disposition to be more extroverted than introverted. There are opportunities, however, to become less or more extroverted over time. The same, too, can be said with being entrepreneurial.

Part of being successful in business is the ability to take risks, to use your initiative and to also ensure that you are profitable in what you do. This doesn’t always happen for many business owners straight off. Often, these are things that you can improve on and gain the more experience you have.

You may initially be risk averse. Then, after constant exposure and successful management of the smaller risks, you build confidence in your ability to manage bigger risks. As you go on in business you capacity increases. For people who are shy and hate speaking in public (about 95% of the population), the way to get over that is through exposure to speaking in public!

So is everyone a natural entrepreneur? No. Can people become more entrepreneurial? Absolutely, if they are prepared to take a small step out of their comfort zone.

Ailsa Page, small-business marketing expert, AP Marketing Works