What is Entrepreneurship?

What is Entrepreneurship?

The most widely recognized definition of entrepreneurship is

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity beyond resources controlled”.

  • Pursuit: the attitudes, beliefs, and actions of an individual entrepreneur — passion, drive, resiliency, focus, a sense of urgency, discipline, and balance
  • Opportunity: the type of venture — an innovative offering, new business model, better, cheaper, or more efficient offering, or targeting new customers
  • Beyond resources controlled: the external constraints on the entrepreneur — manage risk to gain access to resources and leverage what you DO have


Here is the perceived hurdles:

  • Experience/Credibility: younger students have been shown through activities such as the Marshmallow Challenge to have a higher propensity for testing ideas and working creatively — necessary skills for an entrepreneur. Meanwhile, younger students have been raised with the latest technological advances, giving them a huge advantage in using these tools to develop something new.
  • Funding: the average amount to start a company is only about $10,000 – $30,000 (depending on the source — Kauffman Foundation estimates $30,000, while the Small Business Association quotes smaller numbers). Most entrepreneurs fund their company either on their own, or with a small loan from friends and family. Media skews what is needed to start something with the few outliers who raise millions of dollars, but the truth is, it usually requires much less.
  • Innovation/Idea: most ideas have been thought of before, and all will have competition. Success comes down to executing on your idea well and finding the right customers where you can solve their needs better. Think of all your favorite companies, and chances are, there was already someone doing a startup very similar when they founded.
  • Team: you can do a lot on your own, though when you do go to find teammates, understand the gravity of this decision and what is most important in choosing a great team. Check out this post for more.
  • Time: starting a company does take time, and this just comes down to managing your time well. Focus on the things that matter most, and remember that perfect is the enemy of done. Recall also that many great ventures start as side projects, which is why companies like Google allow their employees 20% of their time to work on projects they think will benefit the company.


Planning well to focus on the things that will make the most impact.

The need to have versus the nice to have.

Plus occasionally reminding yourself while working that perfect is the enemy of done.

For both of these, we use a tool called the 80-20 rule. This means that 80% of the value comes from 20% of the work.
Find the 20% of things that you can do that will yield 80% of the results. You’ll drive yourself crazy in a startup
if you strive to make things perfect. It will take way too much time.


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