May 18 2012
“The entrepreneur is
essentially a visualizer
and an actualizer.
He sees exactly
how to make it happen.”
— ROBERT L. SCHWARTZ, Founder, The New School for Entrepreneurs
When I “graduated” from what was once The New School for Entrepreneurs in Tarrytown, New York, it was with my feet on the ground and my head in the clouds. I had the entrepreneurial success idea of all time percolating in my professorial brain all during the program’s intensive retreat-style weekends, but could bring only a Fortune 500 corporate background to the table.
I came away from the Entrepreneurs program experience with lots of material to weave into the college classes I was teaching. I came away with a better understanding of who I was and what I was all about, and that I was “an entrepreneur” of sorts for being so hellbent on making ideas work (and not the weirdo I was sometimes accused of being).
I ended up creating and copyrighting “Corporate Entrepreneurs” and “Doctorpreneurs.” I used what I learned to help start hundreds of successful businesses.
I learned that the Entrepreneur does not fit any definition. But being one usually means you share a number of characteristics and traits evidenced by other entrepreneurs.
- You are first and foremost a catalyst of society.
- In your own–usually underestimated–way, you are a “mover and shaker.”
- You possess the unique combination of vision and follow-through.
- You take reasonable risks.
You are the key —the secret— ingredient that’s missing in corporate think-tanks, and in every level of government.
A true entrepreneur running the U.S. Postal Service, for example, would be competing head-to-head with FedEx and UPS instead of folding up sidewalk mailboxes, cutting back offices, hours, and work schedules and raising prices. You would know that you have the world’s greatest address delivery database and network, and you’d figure out how to take over the world of email.
But what entrepreneur in her or his right mind would want to spend a lifetime untangling a 237-year-old pile of knots?
Entrepreneurship is not dead. It is lurking.
Entrepreneurs are sitting quietly in the shadows watching and waiting for the ever-dwindling opportunities that earmark today’s economic quagmire to show some signs of life. Entrepreneurship-driven activities are on hold waiting for revitalized and more encouraging government responses. Entrepreneurs are waiting for renewed trust in government representation.
- Who, after all, wants to initiate (or pay for) an innovative new business venture that gets over-taxed and over-regulated before it even gets its startup feet wet?
Entrepreneurs and entrepreneurship and entrepreneurial spirit will rise again. And when they do, they will usher in a new “Age of Enterprise” unlike any we have ever known. And besides revolutionizing the Internet and smart-phone worlds, part of the fallout will be that the U.S. Postal Service will no longer exist. Another part will be a new sense of self-enlightenment!
to ensure that your business survives and thrives?