Q: What one thing do you think defines the successful entrepreneur?

Q: What do you think makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur?

by Stan Faryna

Stan Faryna

For those who know me by my blog here, my answer will surprise you. Because I’m not going to tell you that entrepreneurship is driven, foremost, by love, hope, and faith. Virtues, natural or supernatural, may fuel the mission and the vision, but love can not adequately describe the economic function of the entrepreneur. Nor shall leadership.

Great entrepreneurs are not born. They are made in hell.

Prodigy, Breathe

An entrepreneur is one who makes decisive judgments about maximizing profit, minimizing loss, and creating the competitive advantage of sustainable organizations. The entrepreneur’s judgments (in contrast to traditional management) are made about things for which the general rules, best practices, ethics, and laws do not provide profitable guidance.

The proposition that America needs entrepreneurs to rebuild the American economy is based on the economic theory that entrepreneurs stabilize markets through their successes and failures. The actions of entrepreneurs search and define how capital shall be more effectively applied toward competitive advantage, profit, growth, etc.

Again, judgment is the distinguishing principle. In life. In economics. In markets. It is a critical component in the study of human action. Judgment, most of all, distinguishes entrepreneurship from other (often) complementary activities – invention, innovation, and celebrity.

The entrepreneur is, foremost, a speculator of supply and demand, preference, and pricing. The entrepreneur makes judgments of value in the face of uncertainty. The entrepreneur’s success depends much upon the entrepreneur’s decisive vision regarding how the organization manages short and long term competitive advantage through the combination of capital and heterogeneous resources. For profit.

Despite any contrary appearances, the successful entrepreneur is not faint of heart, soft of mind, or easily unnerved. Their instincts are killer.

The entrepreneur that kills it is most likely psychosomatic, dangerous, and contagion [sic]. The killers speak in the language of sin. Because sin sells like nothing else. If your product or service appeals directly to three or more of the seven deadly sins, preference is in the bag.

On the other hand, entrepreneurial failure is hell. Because the failure is not an emotional or intellectual exercise. It’s about money. Lots of money. Yours. Friends. Family. Investors. A shrug can never unshoulder and diminish the loss of money, savings, security, and opportunity.

Needless to say, the entrepreneur’s job is not to keep peace, raise the self-esteem of collaborators, or show compassion that puts profit at risk. An entrepreneur does not avoid confrontation or float those who can be replaced for cheaper and better performance. An entrepreneur makes steely-sharp decisions with a passion to win, to crush the competition, and scatter those that question or challenge the madness that makes profit.

The entrepreneur is a savage, an economist, a speculator, a cunning manager of capital, and a human actor struggling against like-minded, desperate, and agile predators.

Death Battle: Kratos VS Spawn

Are you sure you want to be an entrepreneur when you grow up?

What one thing do you think defines the successful entrepreneur?

Stan Faryna
04 April 2012
Bucharest, Romania


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10 Responses to Q: What one thing do you think defines the successful entrepreneur?

  1. Betsy Cross says:

    A successful entrepreneur is born out of a driving need to feed your family, with a good business plan and unwavering belief in yourself.

    I watched my mom start a special needs nursery school when she had 4 children and was on the verge of divorce. She had no money and no capital. But she had one friend who believed in her and he invested in her business. She paid him back over time.

    She fought the town and the state to get things done while running a family.

    She had no idea how to run a business. But she learned very quickly! Hers was a two-fold desire to meet a community’s need and take care of her children.

    Those two things I think fuel an entrepreneur better than all the business sense in the world IF they are willing to learn and to listen to those who can teach them.

  2. Betsy Cross says:

    Interesting, I stand corrected. However, at her core she’s an entrepreneur!

  3. Let me ask you a question, Stan.

    Is there such a thing as an ethical entrepreneur? Such an animal can be, ought to be.
    Your definition of entrepreneur is dangerously close to reality because most people let money shape them. It takes exceptional strength to retain your core values.

    Strip away the ethical dimension and all you have is a shark. Worse, a cannibal.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      John, I love how you get it, read between the lines, and feast. Even when we may disagree. [laughing]

      Yes, a great entrepreneur is…

      The very question that your values have any kind of standing against maximum profit is antithetical to the commission. Such questions may explain the 20 or so year trend of VCs flushing start-up founders within two years from the date of the deal.

      But I love unicorns with all my heart.

      Such an animal can be, ought to be, and must be in theory. But I have not seen a unicorn yet. Not even in the mirror.

      That’s not to say that I have not met small business owners who are worthy of our admiration and blessings.

  4. Perhaps the secret lies in heeding the voice of your invisible unicorn whenever you can.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      From your lips to God’s ear. I would love a shot at Porsche No. 4 for all the right reasons.

  5. Honestly, Stan. I have no idea. If I did, I would be successful at it. Am I in hell? No. But I sure ain’t in heaven, either.

    • Stan Faryna says:

      Paul, you are an exceptionally intelligent, thoughtful, and sensitive being. I think you are a good looking guy too – just don’t take it the wrong way. [grin]

      Don’t trade all that for hell- ever.

  6. Sadly, I think you are correct Stan. However, for me my personal definition of success includes making the world a better place rather than making just money! Ideally, I will have done both to one degree or another!

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