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With all the talk of a collapsing economy, political reform, and the frightening prospect of socialism hot on our heels, the biggest question raised has been the impact on the entrepreneur. The term “entrepreneur”, however, is one that is easily employed by many, yet not so easily defined. So, with that said, what exactly is an entrepreneur?

The entrepreneur is one that recognizes value. Wherever he or she goes, they are able to see the inherent potential within things. With this said, the next point highlights the fact that all entrepreneurs are future-oriented. In order to recognize hidden value, entrepreneurs must have their eyes on the prize. They can see the potential for a concept, product, or idea and the necessary steps to bring them to fruition.

Before I go any further, I’d like to point out that before you classify “entrepreneurs” based on this criteria, there is one prerequisite: they must have an ideology that supports their efforts. You’ve all heard of countless success stories of people such as Michael Dell or Bill Gates or even – to cite a recent example – Mark Zuckerberg; the underlying commonality between these three is that they all possess a burning passion or desire for what they do. This concept is absolutely central to understanding the entrepreneur. He or she loves what they do, and this is what allows them to successfully accomplish their objectives.

Thirdly, the entrepreneur must be self-reliant and resourceful. Many entrepreneurial ventures transcend preexisting norms and trains of thought. The skeptical backlash entrepreneurs receive is a harsh deterrent because the majority of people do not share their vision. Entrepreneurs must be steadfast in their beliefs and forge on, despite criticism. Additionally, they must be resourceful because that is the nature of their endeavors. Their ideas are sexy, timely, innovative, and threatening; the entrepreneur goes where few dare to venture.

This brings me to my last point: profit. Profit is a tool entrepreneurs utilize to determine progress and improvement. Entrepreneurs are successful because they have monetary limitations; therefore, to maximize output, they must fully understand their customers. Successful entrepreneurial ventures are profitable because they cater to the needs of the consumer. This is the leading indicator/tool entrepreneurs use to measure progress and determine improvement. It is reassuring to know – as a consumer – that entrepreneurs have me in mind as they’re creating new products and marketing ideas. The entrepreneur is, in many ways, more customer focused than his competitors, because it is “do or die”.  His or her product idea, production costs, and marketing strategy, must be better, lower, and more effective than the other guy’s; it must be the best.

Where is the entrepreneur hiding in you?