A reader on a previous blog post left an intriguing question in the comments box:
"Are the advantages or the disadvantages of entrepreneurship more important? Why?"
I love the question, and offered the following reply:
Great question! The advantages of entrepreneurship are many and varied: • Self-reliance. • Confidence. • Independence. • Accountability for one’s own obligations and mistakes. • Fiscal discipline. • Evaluating risk. • Develops strong communication skills, as well as vision, creativity, strategy, planning and leadership. Communities of entrepreneurs invariably develop additional strengths, such as collaboration, mentoring, coaching and partnering. They create bottom-up solutions based on personal passions and fiscal responsibility. Other forms of economic activity (reliance on big government or big business) encourage imposed, top-down solutions, and individual conformity, dependence and social/economic passivity. What are the disadvantages of entrepreneurship? • Occasionally, bad actors create companies or products that rip people off. The solution is 2,000 years old: Caveat Emptor! • Many people are not cut out to be entrepreneurs, preferring to be followers rather than leaders. Solution: entrepreneurs create jobs for people who are not entrepreneurs! • Elites (companies with market dominance, established interests, monopolies, and governments that prefer to concentrate power in themselves) are often discomfited by the changes and disruption created by entrepreneurs’ hustle and innovation. Solution: They change and adapt, or they buy up the entrepreneurial solution – thereby freeing the entrepreneur to go out and start again! • Sometimes entrepreneurs achieve market dominance themselves, and then behave selfishly or arrogantly. Solution: Other entrepreneurs will find new ways to create value for customers in that market, and will cut arrogant producers down to size. Entrepreneurship breeds its own solutions!