Last week, I was privileged and honored to attend a very special meeting of the Kansas City entrepreneurial community. After about a three-year run, Dr. Julie Edge (founder of Creelio.com) decided that the wisest decision was to shut down her business. Rather than quietly closing, she, her colleagues, and her supporters chose to host a special meeting at Village Square to commemorate the event. It included a panel discussion with questions and answers on such topics as how entrepreneurs function, how they succeed, why they fail, and lessons learned. In reflecting on so much of what was shared, my own entrepreneurial endeavors, and what I have been told by other entrepreneurs, I believe that we need to honor the entrepreneur for many reasons.
The entrepreneur teaches us that competition is good. Not only does competition refine and improve the marketplace of products, ideas, and services, it simultaneously challenges the entrepreneur to be the best person possible. The entrepreneur experiences a richer, smarter life. The inspiration of the entrepreneur is contagious. Others will choose entrepreneurial paths partially due to the examples of entrepreneurs.
Win, lose, or tread water, entrepreneurs learn a lot. That learning is passed on to others and we all benefit. Truly, our world is enriched in infinite ways by our entrepreneurs. Finally, simply choosing to be the entrepreneur is fundamentally noble and enriching. Alfred Tennyson said:
“Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”
The same concept is manifested in entrepreneurs. The next time you might be tempted to poke fun at the entrepreneur’s business model, think again. At least someone is willing to try something new. Why can’t that be the entrepreneur? Why can’t that be you?