Entrepreneurship – It's about the "How"

519px-Judit_The_Look_PolgarEntrepreneurship is a peculiar field. It’s unlike any other profession – accounting, engineering, sales, construction or even politics. When you say “I’m an accountant” people have a pretty good idea of what you do. The “what” is often the subject you study in school, or later become an ‘domain expert’ in, after years on the job. Entrepreneurship, however, is almost never about the ‘what’. Entrepreneurship is about the ‘how’. Entrepreneurship is the way that you approach an opportunity or a problem. Entrepreneurship is the how you execute. Many would say that entrepreneurship is all about execution.
Other ‘operational’ fields – legal, finance, management etc – are generally domain agnostic. An accountant or lawyer can be just as effective helping a service business, manufacturing, retail or an Ecommerce business. Entrepreneurship is even more unique. No entrepreneur succeeds based on pure “entrepreneuring” skills alone. Entrepreneurs need to be experts on developing solutions – and even better experts on identifying unique problems. But it’s the ‘how’ – the style of execution – that really sets entrepreneur apart.
If it was only about developing solutions, then programmers would all be entrepreneurs. Certainly having the hands-on ability to develop a product or service is a valuable skill – but it is only valuable when one can identify the right opportunity and the right time – and execute with the audacity of a General and the precision of a surgeon. Steve Jobs has zero hands-on technical skills, but is generally hail as the top entrepreneur of the 20th (and 21st) century. Why? Because he was brilliant in identifying market opportunities and executing on them with audacity and clarity.
Contrary to the popular myth of the 19 year old college student becoming the next billionaire-entrepreneur, most entrepreneurs start not by ‘learning entrepreneurship’ but by getting deep domain expertise. They enter the world of entrepreneurship because they already recognize a market opportunity or a problem that needs solving, because they are already an expert. They become entrepreneurs because they have the desire to solve these problems or capitalize on opportunities in ways that few have done before. They are experts in the ‘what’ before they attempt the ‘how’.

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