Business Owner VS Entrepreneur: What’s the difference?
The term “entrepreneur” has become a buzzword in recent years, so much so that the line between business owners and entrepreneurs has become increasingly blurred. Despite this, the two terms aren’t interchangeable, so before you go labelling yourself one way or the other, it’s important to find out where you fall on the spectrum.
The hype behind being an entrepreneur comes from its history. It’s a notoriously risky job. Entrepreneurs are out to develop the next big thing, investing time and money into a venture that really might never take off. It’s a rebellious thing to do. You break away from the status quo, from the preconceived notions of business and development, and embark on a project that could either change the way the world thinks or leave you penniless and product-less.
In truth, entrepreneurs are working from an idea. They know what they want, and invariably, their new idea is an attempt to corner a market that has yet to be cornered. Oftentimes, they’re working from a number of ideas, with their fingers in a number of pies, trying to figure out what one takes off. Despite the glamour and the reputation, it’s an arduous process, with most entrepreneurs failing with multiple ideas before one project starts to take off.
They’re looking to go big with their ideas, looking toward the future, envisioning themselves on a much larger scale than your ordinary business owner. Their ideas take up time, but because they’re not going to be bringing in money until they’re up and running, their income can come from another source. That way, entrepreneurs can spend their time developing plans that take place six to twelve months in the future, without worrying about the day-to-day concerns of an existing company.
In some regards, it does live up to the expectations. Entrepreneurs take big risks, investing large sums of money into ventures that could end up going nowhere. There’s a lot of potential for wasted time and capital, and no promise of eventual payoff.
Business owners are the ones who play it safer. They’re invariably not out to corner the market, not here to revolutionise the way the world interacts and thinks. Businesses are here to provide a service, one that is already required, and they can find an audience in a market that already has a demand. Their work is there to benefit in an immediate sense, responding to a need in their community.
Business owners are a lot more personal about their enterprise. Its success is responsible for paying off the mortgage and putting the children through school. Plenty of small businesses are family run or started up by two friends, with the intention of keeping it close and personal, so selling up isn’t an option. If they’re responding to their community’s need appropriately, they can carry this personal connection throughout their life. It’s less sexy, but definitely more stable.
For business owners, it’s about profit. Entrepreneurs, it’s an exercise in passion. That’s not to say that business owners can’t be passionate about their business. The difference is that their livelihood depends on their profits, that their business is their only source of income and their entire career. For entrepreneurs, funding is often coming from other investors, and whilst they might be investing a great deal of time into their idea, it’s not the only area in which they expend energy.
It’s a battle between Idea and Product, Control and Contribution. Entrepreneurs deal with big concepts, hoping to come up with the next big idea that goes global and changes the way the world works. Business owners work with product, supplying a community with their demands, and whilst the two have been known to cross over, the terms aren’t interchangeable.
Before calling yourself an entrepreneur, think about your idea. Think about where it’s going, what it’s going to do, and where it will take you. Labelling yourself an entrepreneur is a big call, but if your idea is something you’re passionate about, and something you’re willing to invest a lot of time and effort into, go ahead and use that buzzword.