NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- Starting a business is both one of the easiest and most difficult things a person can do.
The easy part is there are few obstacles creating a business in its simplest form. It requires little more than printing a business card and identifying prospects. You are a sole proprietor and are up and running a "business." From that point on, however, you'll begin to discover the hardest part of starting business: the things you don't know about, such as accounting, marketing, public relations and funding.
When we are employees of other firms, large and small, we typically have a specified role within the organization. We aren't traditionally exposed to all the elements of the business. Even if we work for a small business, there will be decisions made by the owner, who meets with consultants, e.g., a CPA, tax attorney, investment advisor. Based upon personal and business factors, the business owner will make decisions. As an employee, usually we only see the implementation of a decision and not factors, criteria and input that went into the decision itself.
Starting a business is a daunting process on its own, but what about becoming an entrepreneur? An entrepreneur is more than a business owner. Entrepreneurs are innovators. They look at owning a business as the means to create new products and change the way business is done. They are adaptable, flexible and capable of recognizing opportunities.
Entrepreneurs are change agents with ideas, innovations, and technology that they want to develop and sell. The founders of Google (GOOG) (Stock Quote: GOOG) were entrepreneurs. Michael Dell of Dell (DELL) (Stock Quote: DELL) computers and Steve Jobs of Apple (AAPL) (Stock Quote: AAPL) were entrepreneurs. They recognized a need, an opportunity and a direction the marketplace would be going. Then they took us there.
The successful entrepreneur possesses six critical items: a capable team; carefully researched market information; a product (technology or service) that a customer will buy; a plan to make money; a compelling story; and funding.