When you look back at the history of business, what stands out? I understand that’s a fairly broad question. There are a lot of things that stand out. You could point to the development of a stable currency. You could say that banking was a critical event.
The idea of the corporation forever changed the way we do business. So did the availability of ready credit. You could potentially identify hundreds of things that, in and of themselves, stand out as critical milestones in the history of business. However, none of them, no matter how important, truly answers our question. That’s because no one thing defines business. Yet, when you closely examine the history of business a pattern emerges. Behind every critical milestone stands an individual or individuals with an idea. These people are the entrepreneurs and they are responsible for the business environment and, in some sense, the modern world that we inhabit today.
Entrepreneur is an interesting word. It means different things to different people. To some, it means an outsider, a person who is thinking outside the box, who will change what is done inside the box through innovation. To others, it means the freedom to own your own business, to take on the world under your own terms and succeed. In this sense, entrepreneurialism means autonomy and independence from the status quo.
The word itself has its roots in the French word entreprendre which means “to undertake”. Perhaps, when we look to the roots of the word we understand more clearly the concept that the word represents. We strip it of the accumulation of contexts that have surrounded it and are able to reveal its core.
What does an entrepreneur do? He or she undertakes a task, to bring an idea, a lifestyle or a vision to life. An entrepreneur is an iconoclast. They dedicate their life to improvement. They seek to advance a thing, to change it for the better. Now, perhaps, we are getting closer to the core, for what else does an entrepreneur do but act as an agent for change? At the very least, by succeeding at the task they have undertaken, they change their lives and the lives of those closest to them. At the very most, by succeeding at the task they have undertaken, they change the lives of every person on Earth. This then is the importance of the entrepreneurial spirit – it is the engine of positive change.
Keep it Real,