Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Small Business Owners vs. Entrepreneurs

Over the next few weeks I’ll be immersed back into the world on small business development, as I am leading a program with two groups of fantatstic women small business owners.

One of the topics we are discussing right now is what is the difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur. Are all small business owners, entrepreneurs? Can you be both?

Last summer there was a flurry of blog posts on this topic. You may want to check out:
Khurram Masood’s blog post on “Small Business owners” vs. Entrepreneurs : http://myowntrip.blogspot.com/2006/07/small-business-owner-vs-entrepreneur.html
Nick Williams

Small Business Owner Vs Inspired Entrepreneur: 10 Crucial Differences: http://www.sabusinesshub.com/section/content.php?SectionId=8&SubsectionId=12&ContentId=1293

makes an interesting distinction between small business ownership and entrepreneurship:
Here's a simple 3-step description of entrepreneurship:
* Thinking new ideas
* Doing new things
* Creating value in the marketplace
These three steps separate entrepreneurs from other business owners. Creativity, innovation, and unique value are the key ingredients of entrepreneurial businesses.

I too subscribe to the more academic distinction between small business ownership and entrepreneurism. While you can be a small business owner and entrepreneur, not every small business owner is an entrepreneur. Some of the characteristics which set an entrepreneur apart are:
* Higher levels of risk taking behavior. An entrepreneur has a much higher “risk threshold” and is willing to take more risks than the average small business owner
* Greater scale – Entrpreneurs are typically driven by going big (or going home). While many small business owners are content to stay small, entrepreneurs are driven to grow a business (and in many instances move on by seling the business – this process of growing businesses and moving on has led to the term “serial entrepreneur”)
* Innovation is key: Innovation is a key ingredient for entrepreneurs, part of their life blood
* Gifts to see opportunities – Entrepreneurs often have a gift to see opportunities where others don’t, or where others would fail to tred. What opportunities are you seeing in your business today? Will you take the risk to seize them?

What are your thoughts? What other differences do you see between entpreneurs and small business owners? Are you one? Both?

I would welcome your thoughts. Please feel free to comment below.
With best wishes,

Jennifer Britton, CPCC, CHRP, CPT
Potentials Realized
Email: info[at]potentialsrealized[dot]com
The 90 Day Biz Success Group Coaching program starts on July 10th (Tuesdays 7-8 pm ET twice a month for three months). Are you ready to take your business to the next level? Space is limited to 8, so register early!

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