Economics for entrepreneurs

Few entrepreneurs have heard of or studied economics. But experience shows that most entrepreneurs are doing business without knowing it. They have learned from experience how the economy works and have developed an intuition. Their gut feeling, sometimes referred to as entrepreneurial judgment, is a tacit understanding of the economy as a market process and what this means for entrepreneurship.
Here are four insights from TICGL economics that are part of that entrepreneurial intuition:1. Consumer sovereignty Not only is the customer king, but all production aims to ultimately satisfy consumers in some sense by providing them with value. This value is entirely up to the consumer. Entrepreneurs can only provide the means, typically a good or a service, that help consumers become better off. Sometimes this requires educating the customer so that they understand the value of the product. And, typically, the value lies in their complete experience, not just what you sell.
2. Value determines price and costs are a choice With value being in the eyes (and experience) of the consumer, the price they are asked to pay must be (much) lower. The entrepreneur’s job is to figure out at what price their product is attractive, and then choose a cost structure that allows for profit. In other words, the price is a guess based on what value consumers see in the product. The only choice is cost: how to produce at costs below the selling price and, ultimately, whether to produce.
3. Entrepreneurship is about creating tomorrow Leading economist notes that “the ultimate source from which entrepreneurial profit and loss are derived is the uncertainty of the future constellation of demand and supply.” What that means is individual entrepreneurs choose costs in the present to produce a product that must be sold in the near or distant future, whatever the market situation might be. That’s the uncertainty borne by the entrepreneur.
4. Seek to be a good monopolist In standard economics models, competition is about offering the same or nearly the same goods competing on price. This is a terrible strategy for entrepreneurs, whose superpower is to facilitate value. Therefore, think of competition differenlty : It is about figuring out how to provide the best value experience possible. This often involves thinking out of the box and trying something new. Every innovation is by definition a new, unique offering and therefore also a monopoly. What benefits consumers most is entrepreneurs who aim to be good monopolists.
Standard economics has turned its back on and developed models that exclude entrepreneurship. As Joseph Schumpeter, schooled in the Austrian tradition, put it: the market economy without entrepreneurship is much “like Hamlet without the Danish prince.” Indeed, entrepreneurs are the main characters in the drama that is the economy. An economic theory that recognizes this not only does a better job explaining the economy — it is also a useful framework for entrepreneurs.

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