The word "entrepreneur" means different things to different people.
In some circles, it's been so watered down that almost anyone who works for himself is considered an entrepreneur.
My view (and experience) is very different.
In my view, an entrepreneur is a very particular type of business owner - not the so-called "solopreneur" who runs a business on his own or with a handful of people; not the franchisee who buys and operates an already branded business opportunity; and not the individual, hardworking though he or she may be, who builds a business that does things the same way they've always been done.
I believe that an entrepreneur is someone who creates a new business out of nothing more than the most delightful, most remarkable, and most miraculous thing of all - the imagination!
Here are the 5 realities of entrepreneurship that live at the foundation of what I refer to as "The New Entrepreneur":
Reality #1: The entrepreneur is an inventor.
Inventors ask the question, "What's missing in this picture?" and then answer it by inventing the piece that's missing. What entrepreneurs do next, however, is what distinguishes them from all other inventors.
Whereas inventors invent new products, entrepreneurs invent new businesses.
To the entrepreneur, the business he or she invents is a product, a unique product that stands out in a world of ordinary business products.
Reality #2: Entrepreneurs do not buy business opportunities; they create them.
Business opportunities such as franchises are designed to ensure the success of the people who buy them as long as they follow the system and, in the process, suppress their entrepreneurial inclination to invent.
But the passion of the entrepreneur is not to run a successful business - not to run a business someone else invented - but to invent a unique business that then becomes successful. Uniquely.
To a true entrepreneur, the real business opportunity lies in inventing a unique business and then growing it.
Reality #3: Invention is contagious.
People love to experience an original business idea that has been successfully manifested in the market. The entrepreneur's passion, therefore, comes not only from inventing a new business, but also from basking in the delight of other people as they experience his or her invention.
Every customer of the entrepreneur's business invention is applauding the entrepreneur's originality, brilliance, and successful performance.
As the entrepreneur's invention grows and sustains its success, it becomes a model that others will want to emulate as they let loose their own inclination to invent and create new businesses.
Reality #4: To an entrepreneur, the measure of business success is growth.
True entrepreneurs know that the goal of every business is to grow.
Survival is not success.
Growth is success because it's the tangible, measurable demonstration that the marketplace has determined your invention has value.
To an entrepreneur, being caught up in a slow-growth or no-growth business is to be doomed to show up every day to perform in a show nobody enjoys.
Businesses that nobody enjoys should close quickly so that everyone can go out and find an experience they love.
Reality #5: Everyone possesses the ability to be an entrepreneur.
I believe that anyone who wants to can be an entrepreneur, simply because I believe that everyone has that creative, inventive spark within them.
Anyone, therefore, has the ability to conceive of a great idea for a business - a simple but explosive idea - and then create an original business based on that idea.
Some people need more time than others to develop their ability to invent but, for everyone, it is a process of discovery and development of the patience necessary to sustain one's interest while developing one's skill.
Unlike what most would believe, entrepreneurs are made, not born.
There is no corner on creativity reserved for the very few.
There is simply the desire to express the creativity that lies within.
And then, as our good friends at Nike say, "Just do it!"