In a modern organisation it is not possible to identify an entrepreneur because he(she) is not a single person. The entrepreneur is no doubt the creator and manager of a business. But he is not to be treated as a specific type of individual.
Rather, as Donnally has rightly suggested, “entrepreneurship can be considered a behaviour, encompassing an individual’s pursuit of opportunity without regard to the resources the entrepreneur currently controls”.
Entrepreneurs assure significance in the context of small business, or at least during the early stages of the enterprise.
We use the term ‘small business’ to refer to the organisation that is privately owned (usually by top management), is not dominant in its market, maintains local operations (though it may serve a much wider market — domestic and international) and employs fewer than 100 people. Most small businesses in India employ 10 or less people.
The entrepreneur has to face different types of risk. Firstly, in launching a small business, the owner entrepreneur has to face substantial business risk in the sense that the failure rate of small companies is quite high.
Secondly, entrepreneurs have to face a high degree of financial risk simply because they invest most, if not all, of their personal finance in their own business. They do not normally get seed (venture) capital from external sources.
Thirdly, they take a career risk in the sense that they leave a secure job for a venture with highly uncertain future.
Fourthly, they incur family and social risks because the demands of starting and running a young business take away a major portion of their time. So, they are left with little time for attention to family and friends.
Finally, they assume a psychological risk — the risk of a deep sense of personal failure should the business fail. The personal risks of the entrepreneurship may be summed up by describing the emotions of launching a business as “entrepreneurial terror”.
What about the future of entrepreneurship? It appears that the present trend toward creation of small business will continue and gain momentum during the next century as more and more people assume the risks to achieve the personal and professional rewards of running of small business.
Success requires this ability to effectively implement important principles and functions of management —at least in the early stages of a new venture when various mistakes are likely to be made. The costs of such mistakes are likely to be high. Successful entrepreneurs are those who learn from the mistakes of others and try to avoid such mistakes.
In the ultimate analysis, it seems that successful entrepreneurship requires a keen understanding of personal assets and limitations and a strong commitment to the challenges ahead. Anyone contemplating launching a new venture has to know himself (herself), first.
One should thoroughly exercise one’s motivations for starting a business, as also his personal strengths and weaknesses which are quite relevant to the business. There is no alternative to self-understanding and self-assessment which greatly improve the demands of building a highly productive organisation and reaping the potential rewards of entrepreneurship.