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Decoding Theories that Make an Entrepreneur An Entrepreneur is one who jumps off a cliff and creates a plane on his way down

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Test these two scenarios with a group of entrepreneurs:

  1. There is a 100% guarantee of making $1000
  2. There is a 25% probability of making $1 million

Chances are, they'll have their response raring to escape even before you complete the hypothesis.

Yes, you guessed it right. Probability quickly and irreverently makes way for guarantee. They're aiming for the stars without even looking at the moon.

That's the most intriguing and fascinating facet about modern-day entrepreneurs. They are daring, restless and fiercely independent, with an unrestrained predilection of seeing things differently from the perennial average person. The very thought of predictability invites their inner wrath and the prospects of a stable gig feels like a life sentence.

Entrepreneurs would rather fail, pause and start all over from scratch than reconciling with fifteen minutes of stillness. And, they do, with tenacity, dedication and resilience. They master the art of seeing opportunities where others see challenges and consider setbacks as their badge of honor and experience as nothing more than an overrated wisdom of hindsight.

Ultimately, the entrepreneurial mindset remains an enigma, an unsolved mystery that impels scientists to propound one theory after another, only to be met with more surprises. It is a mindset that inspires them to define excellence and success in a manner that only they can.

Although no one knows for certain what – if anything – makes an entrepreneur tick, there are a few psychological theories that have attempted to dig down deep.

Still, the million-dollar (yes you're still at it, we remember) question is: Do these theories still find relevance in today's undecipherable entrepreneurial landscape?

The truth could be stranger than fiction without intending to surprise you.

Sociological Theory

Does culture drive entrepreneurship, or vice-versa? The link between culture and entrepreneurship may be closer than you think, according to the proponents of sociological theory.
Here, the entrepreneur's role is defined and shaped by societal expectations. Some cultures may be more open to the novel concepts of entrepreneurs than others based on a set of values, religious beliefs and customs. On the other hand, other societies are quick to stifle independent thinkers, compelling them to swim against the tide and take a stand.

To better understand sociological theory, let's consider Kris Carr, a best-selling author and wellness activist.

In 2003, Carr was diagnosed with a rare and incurable cancer that affected her liver and lungs. Most people in her place would have been crestfallen and given up hope, plain and square. But not Carr.

She realized she could not be cured of this dreadful disease, but she also knew that her words and actions could inspire others not to lose hope. To support young women with cancer, Carr created the Crazy Sexy book and film series, which continues to share her message of finding ultimate health, spiritual wealth and happiness within the world that we live in.

Turns out, a successful entrepreneur invariably finds the knack of succeeding in any setting, under any circumstances. Be it an American entrepreneur traveling to Japan to pitch a product in a new market, or a teen entrepreneur addressing a group of veteran tech moguls to promote a new mobile app - entrepreneurs like to befriend challenges before surmounting them.

Human Motivation Theory

Propounded by human motivation, expert David McClelland, in Human Motivation Theory emphasizes three major motivators that make us do the things we do:

  • Achievement
  • Affiliation
  • Power

Now, we know that these motivators impact different people differently. For example, a dictator motivated by unquestioned power subverts its essence to rule over others with an iron fist. On the other hand, a recent college graduate may be motivated by the impending sense of achievement and the desire to land a great job with better prospects.

Human motivation theory reminds us that entrepreneurs come in all flavors. From logical, critical and objective entrepreneurs like Bill Gates - who have made affiliation synonymous with global connectedness through Windows - to observant "sharks" like Mark Cuban, it suggests that anyone can succeed in any endeavor as long as they are being guided by the dependable compass of motivation.

Nothing influences our mindset and conduct more profoundly than motivation. It is after all, motivation that drives people to scale new heights of success. For others, it also blurs the line between rationality and obscurity.

Entrepreneurship Innovation Theory

Pronounced as one of the greatest economists of the 20th century, Joseph Alois Schumpeter breathed life into the concepts of innovation and entrepreneurship. According to his theory, innovation can be leveraged in:

  1. Launch of a new product or an upgraded version of an existing product.
  2. Application of new methods of sales or production
  3. Launch of a new market
  4. Acquisition of new sources of raw materials
  5. Leveraging a new industry structure such as the disruption of monopoly

Thankfully, you don't need to have the genes of Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk to exemplify entrepreneurship and innovation. It is a spirit that resides and comes from within, accessible to one and all as long as there is a burning desire to find it.

Consider Milton Hershey, who failed miserably more than once before setting up the world's largest chocolate manufacturing plant. Or Theodore Geisel, aka Dr. Seuss, a failed author who had his works declined 27 times before it finally saw the light of the day. Hershey, Geisel and many others reinforce the fact that innovation is not an ultra-luxurious commodity that is affordable to a chosen few.

Don't expect entrepreneurial innovation to slow down any timye soon, either. From state-of-the-art gadgets like the iPhone to fun, simple toys like the Fidget Spinner, it is entrepreneur-driven innovations that are changing the way people interact with the world – a trend that is only likely to get stronger. This is hardly surprising because we've seen what happens when you pit the spirit of innovation against the rigid establishment of status quo. Newness eventually triumphs over sameness, all in that spirit of driving change.

Clearly, these theories suggest that entrepreneurship spirit is something that can be evoked in people from all walks of life, and in all phases of life. Most people have a hidden entrepreneur in them waiting to be uncovered. More importantly, just about everybody can imbibe the mindset of an entrepreneur – even you – regardless of whether you're able to make that $1 million.

As the saying goes,

"The Entrepreneur always searches for change, responds to it and exploits it as an opportunity!"

Natasha Lorraine Menezes

Co-Founder I Content Marketer I Content Strategist I The Words Edge

Natasha Lorraine Menezes has over 7 years of experience in Content Marketing with organisations such as WGSN, Myntra and Reliance Retail Ltd. before starting out "The Words Edge", a Content Marketing company. She is a guest Writer for Deccan Herald & YourStory, published Author of "7 Messages from the Yogi for Success" and Speaker at Startup events in Bangalore.

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