The road to entrepreneurship is often a treacherous one filled with unexpected detours, roadblocks and dead ends. There are lots of sleepless nights, plans that don't work out, funding that doesn't come through and customers that never materialize. It can be so challenging to launch a business that it may make you wonder why anyone willingly sets out on such a path.
The term "entrepreneur" is often conflated with the term "small business" or used interchangeably with this term. While most entrepreneurial ventures start out as a small business, not all small businesses are entrepreneurial in the strict sense of the term. Many small businesses are sole proprietor operations consisting solely of the owner—or they have a small number of employees—and many of these small businesses offer an existing product, process or service and they do not aim at growth. In contrast, entrepreneurial ventures offer an innovative product, process or service and the entrepreneur typically aims to scale up the company by adding employees, seeking international sales and so on, a process which is financed by venture capital and angel investments. In this way, the term "entrepreneur" may be more closely associated with the term "startup". Successful entrepreneurs have the ability to lead a business in a positive direction by proper planning, to adapt to changing environments and understand their own strengths and weakness.
Economists have never had a consistent definition of "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurship" (the word "entrepreneur" comes from the French verb entreprendre, meaning "to undertake"). Though the concept of an entrepreneur existed and was known for centuries, the classical and neoclassical economists left entrepreneurs out of their formal models: They assumed that perfect information would be known to fully rational actors, leaving no room for risk-taking or discovery. It wasn't until the middle of the 20th century that economists seriously attempted to incorporate entrepreneurship into their models.
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