What Makes an Entrepreneur?

What Makes an Entrepreneur?

The picture most of us conjure up when we think of an entrepreneur is someone who has carved out a niche in the market. The entrepreneur then goes on to be very successful, and rich. And, in some cases that certainly is the case.

Take, for example, the well know British businessman, Sir Alan Sugar.

Sir Alan Sugar now has a personal fortune estimated to be around £730m. He`s been chairman of Tottenham Hotspur football club, owns several successful multinational companies, and stars in the hit series The Apprentice on BBC TV.

His is the `rags to riches` story. He wasn`t born into a rich family by any means. He was born in East London on a council estate, and his father was a tailor. After leaving school at sixteen he didn’t go to university, he worked for a short time for the Civil Service. With his £100 in savings he then started selling car aerials and electrical goods out of a van he bought.

Many years later, Sugar founded the electronics company Amstrad, in 1968, the name being an acronym of his initials – Alan Michael Sugar Trading. Amstrad was later sold in 2007 to BSkyB. If you hear him talk now, one thing he says is that he could never go back to working for someone else. He`s his own man, makes his own decisions, and is accountable for his success or failure in business. And it is that spirit that drives entrepreneurs on. They see a niche, think they can fill it, and have the wherewithal to get on with it.

On the recent series of the Apprentice, the eventual winner, Yasmina Siadatan is a successful entrepreneur in her own right. She borrowed the money so she and her brother could start up a restaurant business. There are now around twenty people involved in the restaurant, and while she is working for Sir Alan, her brother will continue to run the restaurant. She has drive and determination, though I am sure at first she had some setbacks.

I know of retired people who have seen that niche in the market that they believed they could plug. Two retired men started up a gardening business near where I live. They bought a couple of lawn mowers, got a small core of regular customers, and now that business has built up to what they want-three full days work. They have been so successful that now they have to turn business away because they have enough work to keep them going.

They might not be worth millions of pounds, they might not employ dozens, or hundreds of people, but they took a gamble and it paid off. Some have what it takes to do it, others don`t. But, where would we be without people who are willing to take a risk, start off very often with virtually nothing, but who become successful in business?