There are fundamental problems with the word entrepreneur. First of all, it’s hard to say. Everyone seems to pronounce the French ending differently. It’s even harder to spell. Why do the e’s and u’s always end up in the wrong place? Even the common abbreviation for entrepreneur, “trep,” is unbecoming.

And now for the crux of the problem: the word’s definition. Like watered-down lemonade, the word entrepreneur has permeated business culture to such an extent that it has lost its substance. No one likes a watered-down drink, let alone a watered-down job title.

Of course, we can’t forget the spin-offs of entrepreneur, which muddy the term even more:

  • Wantrepreneur: All the wannabes out there with a great idea, waiting for the right time to take it to the next level.
  • Nontrepreneur: Those who call themselves entrepreneurs, but really just sit around playing solitaire all day.
  • Intrepreneur: The less comical term for employees in a corporation who bring an entrepreneurial approach to their traditional job positions.

What Does Entrepreneur Actually Mean?

What does the term entrepreneur actually mean, then? Well, everyone seems to have a different idea. Just like Aunt Martha’s pickles, nobody knows what exactly goes into the title, and there is confusion as to what it really means. Many think an entrepreneur is simply a business owner. If that were the case, would someone who was handed 10 percent of a company be considered an entrepreneur? This doesn’t seem right.

What Do We Think Entrepreneur Should Mean?

It’s time to end the debate. We’ve come up with our own definition of the word, and we’re pretty happy with it. Without further ado (dun-dun, DUN): An entrepreneur is someone who generates a business-related idea and takes independent action to establish it, while accepting a certain level of risk.

We’ve chiseled down the term into three distinct components. Adopt them, and you will be ahead of the game, whether you identify as an entrepreneur or not.

  • Idea Generation
  • Initiative
  • Risk

Even incorporating only two of these components into your business tool belt will produce noticeable changes in your career.

This article is an excerpt from the book “The Whiteboard: Go from Blank Canvas to a Productive, Leveraged, & Highly-Profitable Business” by Chris Haddon and Jason Balin, my business partners.

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