How To Define An Entrepreneurial Spirit

The entrepreneurial spirit is often difficult to define let alone explore in depth because of its perception as a highly creative and dynamic entity and with this caveat this article has been written.

Although the entrepreneurial spirit can be applied to a wide range of disciplines and professionals, it may be most closely linked to business and used incorrectly to describe many successful business people, when very few individuals who can really demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit.

Historical Context of the meaning of entrepreneur

The word itself is of French origin and if interpreted in its literal context means “between jobs”. It is interesting that a word that has come to project the pinnacle of success should have such common roots as a way of describing being unemployed.

This article explores a number of concepts that seem inherent to what is an entrepreneurial spirit

1. uniqueness

In a highly developed global business community where new ideas and business models are increasingly rare the importance of uniqueness cannot be underestimated and those who display an entrepreneurial spirit are often associated with concepts that capture originality and ingenuity. Take, for example, Steve Jobs bringing the Apple IPOD to market,

2. Creativity

Creativity is heavily linked to uniqueness but the two are not identical. Individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit are experienced in harnessing the creative process to help them produce a unique product / service or advantage. So where uniqueness describes the end result, creativity describes the process of how one achieves it. For this reason those with an entrepreneurial spirit are often creative individuals who are ready, willing and able to adopt new techniques to carry on even at the expense of being ridiculed by others.

3. Risk Taking

In such a risk-averse western society, those with an entrepreneurial spirit embrace risk-taking and it is impossible for such a concept not to be associated with entrepreneurs and the often high-risk potential associated with pursuing a new innovative approach. However, it must be observed that the risk is not the same as impulsiveness and those who demonstrate an entrepreneurial spirit are likely to be skilled in assessing the risks associated with any undertaking.

4. Business Savi

As previously highlighted, those with an entrepreneurial spirit should not be considered as reckless mavericks, quite the opposite, good entrepreneurs are profit-motivated and skilled in identifying a profitable niche in the market use for profit. Take, for example, Steve Jobs at Apple Computers who has successfully steered a lucrative course in the computer and software industry despite the fact that Microsoft and IBM have dominated the market for many decades. In addition, he was the first to realize the potential of using the computer industry to open a new market for the music fraternity, with the introduction of IPOD, the market leader in its business stream. Such actions require great skill and confidence and demonstrate a clear entrepreneurial spirit.

5. Developing Potential

Identifying, investing in and nurturing potential is also essential to the ideals attached to the entrepreneurial spirit because of the need to find different solutions to a business problem.

Established businesses often fail to find innovations because they stick to a rigid investment formula that has worked for them in the past rather than finding new ways to move forward.

6. Suitability

The entrepreneurial spirit is always adaptable and ready to overcome obstacles presented by business problems and is usually quicker at resolving those issues than mainstream business thinkers.

7. Ultimately destructive

Entrepreneurial spirit is destructive to own business in the medium term unless those who use the concept recognize when it is time to transition to individuals focused on mainstream management who can sustain and develop the organization. This is because the true entrepreneurial spirit is obsessed with creativity and constant change that troubles employees without good management and clear direction. Many of those who show an entrepreneurial spirit rarely stay long-term in any venture they undertake, taking for example Richard Branson who, after launching a number of businesses under the “Virgin” brand “, has sold on many of these to third parties at huge profits for itself.


In conclusion, while there are certainly key traits that sum up the entrepreneurial spirit, it would be foolish to pretend that any one person has all of those characteristics and even more foolishly believe that such a concept can be comprehensively defined . It is also short sighted to believe that those with an entrepreneurial spirit are evident only in the business community, indeed many different disciplines and occupations have historical and current individuals within them who could be basically described as entrepreneurs.

Well-known individuals displaying the entrepreneurial spirit: Richard Branson, Clive Sinclair, Freddy Laker, Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Anita Roddick.

Words commonly used to describe individuals with an entrepreneurial spirit: Mavericks, Tycoons, pathological liars, risk takers, self-made, successful, charismatic business people.

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