ETA is one of the fastest-growing paths to entrepreneurship. Here's how to think about it
Does buying a business count as entrepreneurship? That’s a question I’ve observed many aspiring entrepreneurs ask themselves—and me—as they consider the path forward. They’re not sure acquiring and operating a business counts as true entrepreneurship.
Specifically, when they think of entrepreneurship, they picture starting something from scratch, building it with sweat and tears to stand triumphantly atop a newly minted startup that fills a key market gap. This narrow view makes sense because that’s the romanticized version of business-building fed to us by media coverage, biographies/biopics, and other sources—the something-from-nothing narrative. This archetypical view of entrepreneurship even fits into several of the seven “basic plots” of storytelling: the hero’s journey, rags to riches, overcoming the monster, and the quest.
But does that mean entrepreneurship is exclusively about building something new? No! Far from it. Consider Webster’s definition of an entrepreneur: “One who organizes, manages, and assumes the risks of a business or enterprise.” That encompasses a wide range of activities, and entrepreneurship through acquisition (ETA) fits neatly within it.