There is a wrongheaded idea out there that the entrepreneur is the guy who has a clever idea, starts a company, and makes a lot of money. This is a very impoverished thought. Many entrepreneurs make money but it is the natural result of adding value to the others in their lives.
The spirit of entrepreneurship is primarily the idea of adding value. Entrepreneur’s basically see the world as it is while simultaneously seeing the world as it could be. Moving us all to a better place is “adding value.” Entrepreneurship grows out of this movement of the whole to a better place. When you have an idea that improves the result of your team and when you follow the steps to execute for these improvements you are being entrepreneurial.
It begins with vision. Hopefully your vision is detailed enough to include how things really are, in their nuances and what the end result looks like in its nuances. Further still, the successful entrepreneur has a good idea of the steps along the way in the execution process. This was the genius of Steve Jobs. Steve knew the nuances of our music preferences but he also had the vision of how it could be (unlimited music in the clouds, available, cheap to everyone). Finally and the point I want to emphasize is he had a vision of all the steps along the way, necessary to make it all happen. Jobs possessed vision upon vision plus drive to get it done and the persistence to overcome the obstacles. There are even more nuances that mark the finished entrepreneur. One of these is the humility to recognize the value of all the team members to fill in what inevitably is lacking in the entrepreneur. We have to recognize that all team members have to be entrepreneurs as well. In the Apple story there were many teams of entrepreneurs working on legs of the process that brought us the Mac, the iPod, the iPhone, etc. Steve Jobs understood that each member of every team had to be entrepreneurial to accomplish the little parts of the bigger parts that make up the whole entrepreneurial process.
It is striking to me how similar the Apple story is to the Thomas Edison story. Thomas Edison founded General Electric which (along with Apple) is one of the world’s largest companies. Edison’s son was asked what Edison’s most remarkable invention was. His answer was, “the laboratory.” Edison invented the research laboratory. The research laboratory put out 1,093 inventions. Edison had an early understanding of the process of invention: the process of executing for added value.
It is no different for anyone of us. The spirit of entrepreneurism is available to every individual. It requires a bundle of well-placed traits that include things that make us better people. These include vision, wisdom, true perceptions, love, initiative, drive, persistence, team work, team building, yes even some business savvy. This combined functioning way of thinking is what I call the thought DNA of the Entrepreneur or the Spirit of Entrepreneurism. In the words of Toby Keith “get you some.”