Entrepreneurship is not buying and selling. Discuss.

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Entrepreneurship is a very involved concept and is much more complex than simply buying and selling. For one thing, an entrepreneur may never buy or sell in the course of their business, depending on what they decide to do. In general, entrepreneurship is an undertaking wherein an individual decides to start their own business or career.

Being an entrepreneur is the decision to take on a new business startup, whatever it may be. Because of the complexity involved, it is selling entrepreneurship short to say it is simply buying and selling. They have to manage cash flow, inventory, and supply chain while also creating a brand and drawing in customers. Entrepreneurship is basically being a one-person business, and therefore, an entrepreneur needs to do a lot more than buying and selling.

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Entrepreneurship is the task of conceiving, planning, starting, and running a business. An entrepreneur is distinguished from an employee by working for herself rather than for an established company. An entrepreneur is distinguished from a freelancer by actually owning a business that might employ or contract out work to others. So, for example, an owner/operator of a truck or taxi or an Uber driver might be described as a freelancer or independent contractor, but someone who founds a ride-sharing service such as Lyft or Uber or who owns a small independent antique shop is an entrepreneur.

While all businesses buy and sell products and/or services, merely doing so does not distinguish entrepreneurs from other types of business people. What makes entrepreneurship distinct is that it involves the creation of a new business.

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The word "entrepreneur" is French and literally means "one who undertakes a task." It has come to mean, in English, "a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk" (Dictionary.com).

You will note the definition says "especially a business," but not exclusively a business. So, buying and selling, while it is definitely part of most entrepreneurship, doesn't define it. For example, billionaire Richard Branson, of the multiple Virgin entities, could absolutely be held up as an icon of entrepreneurship: He started Virgin Records while a penniless teenager and keeps spinning off what many would regard as "risky" businesses even today.

But someone like Bill McKibben of 350.org could also be regarded as an entrepreneur, having built a powerful environmental nonprofit from scratch.

"Initiative" and "risk" are keys words in the definition. Entrepreneurship involves valuing your own ideas and your own ability to transform them into reality, and it also involves being willing, even eager, to take risks. Being an entrepreneur is not for the faint of heart, those who are afraid to fail, nor those who need micromanagement.

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Without buying and selling, there can be no entrepreneurship.  However, buying and selling are by no means the most important aspects of entrepreneurship. 

Entrepreneurs must surely buy and sell.  The whole point of entrepreneurship is to make money.  It is not possible to make money without selling a good or service.  It is very unlikely that anyone could make much money without buying something, whether it be raw materials or labor or both.  Thus, buying and selling are integral parts of entrepreneurship.

However, the real meaning of entrepreneurship has nothing to do with buying and selling. What sets entrepreneurs apart is their ability and willingness to take risks and to be innovative.  Entrepreneurs are special because they can see opportunities where others cannot.  They are willing to take risks in pursuit of those opportunities.  They are able to put together various resources in new ways that lead to economic growth.  This is what is truly special about entrepreneurs.

Thus, entrepreneurship does involve buying and selling, but those things are not what make entrepreneurship difficult and important.

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