Entrepreneurs occupy a central position in a market economy. For it's the entrepreneurs who serve as the spark plug in the economy's engine, activating and stimulating all economic activity. The economic success of nations worldwide is the result of encouraging and rewarding the entrepreneurial instinct.

A society is prosperous only to the degree to which it rewards and encourages entrepreneurial activity because it is the entrepreneurs and their activities that are the critical determinant of the level of success, prosperity, growth and opportunity in any economy. The most dynamic societies in the world are the ones that have the most entrepreneurs, plus the economic and legal structure to encourage and motivate entrepreneurs to greater activities.

For years, economists viewed entrepreneurship as a small part of economic activity. But in the 1800s, the Austrian School of Economics was the first to recognize the entrepreneur as the person having the central role in all economic activity. Why is that?

Because it's entrepreneurial energy, creativity and motivation that trigger the production and sale of new products and services. It is the entrepreneur who undertakes the risk of the enterprise in search of profit and who seeks opportunities to profit by satisfying as yet unsatisfied needs.

Entrepreneurs seek disequilibrium--a gap between the wants and needs of customers and the products and services that are currently available. The entrepreneur then brings together the factors of production necessary to produce, offer and sell desired products and services. They invest and risk their money--and other people's money--to produce a product or service that can be sold at a profit.

More than any other member of our society, entrepreneurs are unique because they're capable of bringing together the money, raw materials, manufacturing facilities, skilled labor and land or buildings required to produce a product or service. And they're capable of arranging the marketing, sales and distribution of that product or service.

Entrepreneurs are optimistic and future oriented; they believe that success is possible and are willing to risk their resources in the pursuit of profit. They're fast moving, willing to try many different strategies to achieve their goals of profits. And they're flexible, willing to change quickly when they get new information.

Entrepreneurs are skilled at selling against the competition by creating perceptions of difference and uniqueness in their products and services. They continually seek out customer needs that the competition is not satisfying and find ways to offer their products and services in such a way that what they're offering is more attractive than anything else available.

Entrepreneurs are a national treasure, and should be protected, nourished, encouraged and rewarded as much as possible. They create all wealth, all jobs, all opportunities, and all prosperity in the nation. They're the most important people in a market economy--and there are never enough of them.

As an entrepreneur, you are extremely important to your world. Your success is vital to the success of the nation. To help you develop a better business, one that contributes to the health of the economy, I'm going to suggest that you take some time to sit down, answer the following questions, and implement the following actions:

What opportunities exist today for you to create or bring new products or services to your market that people want, need and are willing to pay for? What are your three best opportunities?

  1. Identify the steps you could take immediately to operate your business more efficiently, especially regarding internal operating systems.
  2. Tell yourself continually "Failure is not an option." Be willing to move out of your comfort zone, to take risks if necessary to build your business.
  3. Use your creativity rather than your money to find new, better, cheaper ways to sell your products or reduce your costs of operation. What could you do immediately in one or both of these areas?
  4. Imagine starting over. Is there anything you're doing today that, knowing what you now know, you wouldn't get into or start up again?
  5. Imagine reinventing your business. If your business burned to the ground today, and you had to start over, what would you not get into again? What would you do differently?

Brian Tracy is the "Success Secrets" coach at Entrepreneur.comand one of America's leading authoritieson entrepreneurial development. He's produced more than 300 audio and video learning programs that cover the entire spectrum of human and corporate performance through his company, Brian Tracy International.