This country was created, nourished, and developed from a spirit of freedom, including the freedom to build and maintain businesses. Professions, developed during the birth of America, such as the farmer, miller, blacksmith, and trader created the foundation of the American economy.

The deeply rooted belief in opportunity for men/women to develop and sustain businesses created the framework for business people to flourish from the onset. Capitalism and entrepreneurship are what make America great and continues to create the opportunity to allow anything (from a one-person business to a global conglomerate) to operate and enjoy the benefits and rewards of risk taking.

YOUR PIECE OF THE PIE

While the distribution of significant wealth in the United States continues to hover around the same mark (approximately 1 percent of the population possessing 40 percent of the wealth), it is possible for anyone to get a bigger piece of the pie by creating their own recipe and baking their own pie.

Now before I talk about the journey of getting to the pie, I want to clear up some misconceptions about the 1 percent. Often, the 1 percent are generally ridiculed as being “unfair” for possessing that large proportion of wealth and not given credit for the millions of jobs and opportunities they created.

When someone points to a person driving a Lexus and says, “Gee, the amount paid for that car could have fed a lot of people,” they have no understanding of the circular economic impact that has resulted from that purchase — from the jobs created to build that car (think of the materials used, the production, marketing, distribution, and sale of the vehicle), to the taxes paid (supporting the functioning of both local and federal government), and so forth. The effect is huge, and the supply-chain impacts are wide and deep (circular economy) and, most importantly, sustainable.

As you can see, there are many opportunities for a “piece of the pie” generated by the 1 percent. It is up to the 99 percent to capitalize on these opportunities by baking their own pies.

With more pies, we will see the distribution of wealth continue to flow. It is up to individuals to hone their gifts and passions and pursue them. So, how can we encourage the message of entrepreneurship and wealth creation to the 99 percent throughout our communities and nation?

SUPPORT PROGRAMS

Building communities and creating wealth are highly possible and should be encouraged by government, education, and other business people. Community programs, support systems, promotions, and mentorship, can play a tremendous role in drawing out the talents that are at the very heart and foundation of entrepreneurship. Together, these elements can establish a strong force to create economic opportunity for all people by encouraging entrepreneurship.

We see landscaping companies launched by a love of the outdoors; a cleaning business is created allowing a mom flexibility and income; an auto enthusiast starts a mobile detailing service. It is these examples of homegrown entrepreneurship that need our support. Each and every job in America provides the opportunity to learn a skill, a business model, and to understand a market. The purchase of a paintbrush and ladder combined with a little sweat equity can create a foundation of wealth for a hardworking early entrepreneur. No one said it’s going to be easy, though.

Everyone, no matter what their profession, can create their own chance to move the needle of wealth distribution. You can’t legislate wealth or tax someone into becoming poor. It’s time we celebrate success in America and encourage our business leaders to keep moving forward.

TAKING A RISK

Access to capital and the lack there of is a longstanding tired excuse and can be misleading. Success in business is not something that should be handicapped by receiving startup or operational funding. A true entrepreneur will bootstrap him or herself into financial success by growing as revenues and profits allow. Too many would-be business owners have been influenced by this perceived impediment. The facts are that capital funding has always been an insignificant driver to business startups and growth. You have to build your business one step at a time and be willing to invest your own money the old fashioned way.

Risk remains the dominant reason so few people follow their dreams to fruition. Many great ideas never materialize for the simple reason that they are not pursued or moved forward. You have to get off the line and enter the field to make your dream a reality. Having a kick-ass fanfare always sets the stage and creates expectations for what’s to come. If your product or service can resonate with your audience and eventual marketplace, you simply need to execute with skills, planning, and passion. With those three components of skill, a plan, and your own passion, you will know when it’s time to move forward and step onto the field.

Just as a musician knows that what matters is not how high a note you can hit but rather your ability to sustain the note with clarity, pitch, and power. In the same vein, successful business owners must be in tune with their product, employees, and customers.

Entrepreneurship is an art that takes one on a journey. It should never be confused with making a quick buck on a great idea or product. It has everything to do with creating something for a marketplace that may or may not exist, having a clear vision of your “why,” and the ability to remain relevant and profitable.

Entrepreneurship is not for everyone — and that’s okay. The resilience and ability to sustain your business through tough periods is no joke and not for the faint of heart. Being responsible for all the pieces, moving parts, and most importantly many people’s livelihood requires superhero characteristics most of the time. So hats off to Ford, Gates, Jobs, Zuckerberg, Steward, Castillo, Reddy, and an endless list of kick-ass entrepreneurs.

Never lose sight of the fact that a company like Amazon was only able to build an amazing business because of the platforms and infrastructure that others built. With transportation systems, credit card processing, and many other functions in place they were able to create their solutions on top of these systems.

A business plan will never make anyone an entrepreneur. Creativity and innovative ideas will not either. Resiliency and a deep passion to win are the key ingredients. Blood, sweat, and tears are a given.

Kenton Clarke is CEO of Computer Consulting Associates International Inc. (CCAii) of Southport, CT, a multicultural information-technology consulting firm whose flagship products include DiversityBusiness.com and Omnikal. Kenton is frequently quoted in local and national publications on diversity and technology issues. These include Fortune, Businessweek, and Black Enterprise magazines. He can be reached at kenton@diversitybusiness.com