June 9, 2016

What Does ‘Entrepreneur’ Mean To You?

Like so many words, the word ‘entrepreneur’ has a very different meaning to different people. It’s a highly charged word that elicits an immediate reaction in many people that includes ideas, feelings and names of many iconic entrepreneurs.

So we surveyed 500 people across the midwest, asking them “When you think of a true entrepreneur what word first comes to mind?” The answers show American’s have a clear understanding, appreciation and admiration for the creative vision and personal drive that is required for entrepreneurs to shape and grow our economy.

Here are the top 15 results from our survey:

America’s love-affair with the entrepreneur is alive and well. To most people, being driven and hardworking is an expected characteristic for entrepreneurs to have. Creativity is another characteristic that seems obvious since entrepreneurs are typically seen as a source of new ideas. The same thing could be said about innovation. However, being a risk taker is a quality that is often overlooked, even by entrepreneurs. Risk is an inherent part of innovation. Any idea that is worth developing is going to be risky, which means entrepreneurs must be bold and courageous to succeed.

Entrepreneurs like Elon Musk, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates demonstrate how successful entrepreneurs have a strong mix of these qualities. Entrepreneurs like Steve Jobs and Elon Musk offer great examples of innovators that succeed through risk taking and bold decisions. In contrast, a leader like Bill Gates relies on his ability to make calculated business decisions and minimize risk. However, all three business leaders have developed all of these qualities in order to grow their business and adapt as they move into the future.

Bill Gates does take risks, like helping Apple avoid bankruptcy and Elon Musk has been able to take big risks thanks to his more conservative businesses like Zip2 and Paypal. It’s safe to say that entrepreneurs must develop skills that combine drive, creativity, risk taking and business smarts to be successful.

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