Are you an entrepreneur or an investor?

I went back to school recently as mentioned earlier. A couple of weeks ago, while reporting for our second semester, my classmates and I had to make a decision. We had to make a decision as to what elective we were taking – Entrepreneurship or Investment & Portfolio management.

For days, this had been a subject of discussion among us, with some basing their preference on how ‘theoretical’ or ‘mathematical’ the two subjects are (or presumed to be), and what would have more impact in our careers , and/or businesses. Someone suggested, tongue in cheek, that the younger members of the class would rather go with investment and portfolio management , while the not-so-young ones were better off with Entrepreneurship , “as they would soon be retiring to it.”

To help us make a decision, we had an orientation with the instructors of both subjects.

First came the entrepreneurship instructor. He started by defining what an entrepreneur is – rather , differentiating an entrepreneur from a businessman.

“We all know who an entrepreneur is. An entrepreneur is a risk-taker. He/she manages their time and resources, in order makes profits. What many do not know is that there is a difference between an entrepreneur and a businessman/woman.“

He went on to explain that a businessman takes risks and makes profits alright , but there is something an entrepreneur does that a businessman does not do. An entrepreneur brings something new – a value add – in addition to the services, or products that a regular businessman offers. He took us through half an hour of what the course would entail , convincing us that the entrepreneurship class would equip us with knowledge on how to stand out ; on how to do it differently ; on how to think outside the box and most importantly, on how to make money! It all sounded good. What’s more? The semester’s term paper for those who would go with this option, would be to write a business plan – a unique and viable idea that you would actually follow through to fruition. Now, that would be like a whole project on its own!

By the end of the entrepreneurship orientation class, the only thing we were all in agreement about, was that it is pronounced ENTREpreneurship and not ENTERprenuership. :)

Enter the investment & Portfolio management instructor.

Entreprenuership, is a form of investment!”, he began, throwing some into more confusion and lighting a bulb in the minds of others.

At the end of the day , we had all made a decision.

I chose investment. Reason? I do not believe any amount of training can make one a successful entrepreneur. I believe entrepreneurs are born , not made.

What do you think?

14 comments for “Are you an entrepreneur or an investor?

  1. January 30, 2012 at 4:12 pm

    It is true entrepreneurs are born that way, I believe it is in the spirit. You either have it or you don’t but also I believe for some people a little schooling can ignite that fire in them..

  2. January 30, 2012 at 5:19 pm

    Lol, ENTERpreneurs!!! And they quit school too them enterpreneurs… 😀 

    • January 31, 2012 at 5:07 pm

      Entrepreneurs thrive in MAKING rules, rather than following them. :)

  3. January 31, 2012 at 12:46 pm

    It’s like a con artist and a mugger. The con artist is born (hehehe…easy to say when you don’t have kids), but anyone can be a mugger! A trained entrepreneur will most likely be a business wo/man!

    • January 31, 2012 at 4:49 pm

      Hahaha Zackerberg nice analogy there

      • January 31, 2012 at 5:06 pm

        @Mackel9, Zack is my brother. He’s genius like that. 😀

        • January 31, 2012 at 5:18 pm

          Well then Zack it is nice getting acquainted, I like the way you think… Hey Mrs. Mwiti  where had you hidden him all this time?

  4. January 31, 2012 at 1:50 pm

    I did an entrepreneurship class in undergrad,so we weren”t given as elegant choices as you were.But I remember we were given a term paper to write,titled; Why are Kikuyus better entrepreneurs?

    I was pissed,so in protest,I wrote instead about how entrepreneurship is a gift people have,how it can’t be learnt perse,and that it wasn’t a factor of tribe or genetics. And I handed it in.

    Surprisingly,I got pretty high marks,and that paper earned me a sitdown with the chairman and his department. Imagine that!

    Not everyone can be is an entrepreneur,but certainly everyone can do business.

    • January 31, 2012 at 5:24 pm

      That was daring(the term paper).
      I re-read Rich Dad poor dad over Christmas Holiday. The way the author says that the rich use their income to buy assets and then use the returns from the assets to buy luxuries , while the poor and the middle class use their income to buy luxuries.

      I was like OMG! That’s what typical entrepreneurial Kikuyu’s are known to do. When they get income, they think of buying assets(plots…etc.), rather than buying big cars and going on Holidays.

      They would rather buy those luxuries from their plot returns etc.

      I might be wrong but I really think there is something embedded in the Kikuyu culture that makes people brought up in this culture, see entrepreneurship opportunities from a distance…

  5. February 12, 2012 at 12:04 am

    NO….ITS A MYTH…totally untrue……
    Have a look at this COPY-PASTE….NOTICE YOURS IS NUMBER ONE!!

    THE MYTHS OF ENTREPRENEURSHIP
    Throughout the years many myths have arisen about entrepreneurship. These myths are the result of a lack of research in entrepreneurship. As many researchers in the field have noted, the study of entrepreneurship is still in its infancy, and thus ‘folklore’ will tend to prevail until it is dispelled with contemporary research findings. Some of the major myths are discussed below.
    Myth 1:’Entrepreneurs are born, not made’
    This myth, which implies that the characteristics of entrepreneurs cannot be taught or learned, that they are innate traits with which one must be born, has long been prevalent. These traits include aggressiveness, initiative, and willingness to take risks, analytical ability and skills in human relation. Today, however, the recognition of entrepreneurship as a discipline is helping to dispel this myth. Like all disciplines, entrepreneurship has models, processes and case studies that allow the topic to be studied and the traits/knowledge acquired.
    Myth 2:’Entrepreneurs are academic and social misfits’
    The belief that entrepreneurs are academically and socially ineffective is a result of some business owners having started successful enterprises after dropping out of school or quitting a job. In many cases such an event has been blown out of proportion in an attempt to profile the typical entrepreneur. Historically, in fact, educational and social organizations did not recognize the entrepreneur. They abandoned him or her as a misfit in a world of corporate giants. Business education, for example, was aimed primarily at the study of corporate activity. Today the entrepreneur is considered a hero socially, economically and academically. Entrepreneur isno longer a social and academic misfit; they are now viewed as a professional.
    Myth 3: ‘Entrepreneurs are doers, not thinkers’
    Although it is true that entrepreneurs tend to be action oriented, they are also thinkers. Indeed they are often very methodical people who plan their motives carefully. The emphasis today on the creation of clear and complete business plans is an indication that “thinking” entrepreneurs are as important as “doing” entrepreneurs. Also great innovations, value addition to products and services and sustained social transformation can only happen in an environment of ‘great thinkers’
    Myth 4: ‘Entrepreneurs fit an ideal profile’
    Many books and articles have presented checklists of characteristics of the successful entrepreneur. These lists were neither validated nor complete; they were based on case studies and on research findings among achievement-orientated people. Today we realize that a standard entrepreneurial profile is hard to compile. The environment, the venture itself, and the entrepreneur have interactive effects, which result in many different types of profiles. Contemporary studies being conducted at universities across the world will, in the future, provide more accurate insights into the various profiles of successful entrepreneurs.
    Myth 5:’All you need is money to be an entrepreneur’
    It is true that a venture needs capital to survive; it is also true that a large number of business failures occur because of lack of adequate financing. Yet having money is not the only bulwark against failure. Failure due to a lack of proper financing is often an indicator of other problems: managerial incompetence, lack of financial understanding, poor investments, poor planning, etc.
    Myth 6:’All you need is luck to be an entrepreneur’
    Being in ‘the right place at the right time’ is always an advantage, but ‘luck happens when preparation meets opportunity’ is an equally appropriate adage. Prepared entrepreneurs who seize the opportunity when it arises often appear to be ‘lucky’. They are, in fact, simply better prepared to deal with situations and turn them into successes. What appears to be luck really is preparation, determination, desire, knowledge and innovativeness?
    Myth 7: ‘Entrepreneurs are always inventors’
    The idea that entrepreneurs are inventors is as a result of misunderstanding and tunnel vision. Although many inventors are also entrepreneurs, numerous entrepreneurs encompass all sorts of innovative activities. A contemporary understanding of entrepreneurship covers more than just inventions. It requires a complete understanding of innovative behaviors of all form.
     
    Myth 8: ‘Ignorance is bliss for entrepreneurs’
    The myth that too much planning and evaluation lead to constant problems– that ‘over analysis lead to paralysis’-does not hold up in today’s competitive markets, which requires detailed planning and preparation. Identifying a ventures strengths and weaknesses, setting up clear timetable with contingencies for handling problems, and minimizing these problems through careful strategy formulation are all key factors for successful entrepreneurship. Thus careful planning – not ignorance of it- is the mark for an established entrepreneur. They are never satisfied of comfortable with the state of affairs.
    Myth 9: ‘Entrepreneurs seek success but experience high failure rate’
    It is true that many entrepreneurs suffer a number of failures before they are successful. They follow the adage “if at first you don’t succeed, try, and try, again.” In fact, failures can teach many lessons to those willing to learn and often lead to future success. This is clearly shown by the ‘corridors principle’, which states that with every venture launched, new and united opportunities often arise. Statistics of entrepreneurial failures have been misleading over the years.
    Myth 10: ‘Entrepreneurs are extreme risk takers’ (Gamblers)
    The concept of risk is a major element in the entrepreneurial process. However, the public perception of the risk most entrepreneurs assume is distorted. Although it may appear that entrepreneur is ‘gambling’ only a wild chance, the fact is the entrepreneur is usually working on a moderate or ‘calculated risk’. Most entrepreneurs work hard through planning and preparation to minimize the risks involved in order to better control the destiny of their vision.
    Myth 11: ‘Entrepreneurship is unstructured and chaotic’
    There is a tendency to think of entrepreneurs as gunslingers, people who shoot and ask questions later. They are assumed to disorganized and unstructured, leaving it to others to keep things on the track. The reality is that entrepreneurs are heavily involved in all the facets of their venture and they usually have a number of balls in the air at the same time. As a result, they are well organized individuals. They tend to have a system perhaps elaborate to keep things straight and maintain priorities. Infarct their system may seem strange to the casual observers but it works.
    Myth 12: ‘Entrepreneurship make one get rich quick!’
    Truth is
    Life as an entrepreneur is not about money. Success rarely happens overnight. It about what you want to do with your life.
    Myth 13: ‘You must be born an entrepreneur’ (trait theory)
    Truth is:
    Some of the most successful entrepreneurs are the most unlikely that they were born so. It is a lifestyle choice, not an accident.
    Myth 14: ‘You must be at the right place at the right time’ (environment theory)
    Truth is:
    Successful entrepreneurs operate whatever the macroeconomic and structural factors are
     
    N.B The above myths have been presented to provide a background for today’s current thinking on entrepreneurship. By sidestepping the ‘folklore’ a foundation for critically researching the contemporary theories and process of entrepreneurship can be built.
     

    • February 13, 2012 at 2:35 pm

      Frank, thanks for that excerpt, it has got everything right there…

  6. February 17, 2012 at 10:17 am

    Hmm, very interesting post and comments that followed. Personally I think that we at times try to academisize (if such a word exists) everything too much. I don’t believe in generalizations and also believe that different stuff work differently in different era, cultures, and locations. I would like to go about my business without giving a damn whether I will be classified as an investor, entreprenuer or businessman. Thanks for the post

  7. February 18, 2012 at 6:32 am

    “Formal education will make you a living; self education will make you a fortune.”

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