The Great Debate: Business Owner vs. Entrepreneur?
I spend a lot of time speaking to business owners, individually and in large forums, and the one question I’ll often ask is “How many of them consider themselves to be not only a business owner but an Entrepreneur?”. No doubt 100% of their hands will go up. Then their eyes widen with confusion as to why I would be asking them such a question. But I have found over the many discussions, coaching sessions, and speeches with them, that what they thought they were and what they acted as in their business was two completely different roles, and in most cases their business owner role was not delivering them the results they expected or wanted from business ownership.

I go on to provide them a typical definition of an entrepreneur and allow them to initially assess for themselves as to whether or not they would characterize themselves as an entrepreneur.

So first is the standard definition: “An entrepreneur is a person who has possession of an enterprise, or venture, and assumes significant accountability to the inherent risks and the outcome“.

As we dissect the definition and they begin to assess themselves on just that, a number of the hands go down.

Why? The key part of that definition where many fall short on is the ‘accountability to the inherent risk and outcome”. Many of them admit to falling short in the risk and accountability area. Yes, there is risk in starting a business, however often times their tolerance for risk and even accountability stops there. Once started up, and now executing and being on their own (literally) they begin to take little risk (especially as the economy slides). More importantly because they no longer have someone to report to they also slip in taking accountability for their actions or lack there of. Both lack of risk and accountability causes them to slow in execution, falter on critical follow-up, lax in getting out and getting the sale, and in other areas of their business.

Does this at all sound like you? Are you sure you are doing the entrepreneurial things in your business that will help you to succeed and grow. Not saying that there won’t be tough times and challenges, but entrepreneurs are adaptive, flexible and able to adjust to change.

CALL TO ACTION: See the attached Self-Assessment and if for only yourself, take it and see where you fall. And now that you know, you can learn, delegate or hire the skills needed. Then assess yourself in 6 months after you have worked on those skills. You will be surprised at the improvement you and your business can make.

I myself would add a couple of my own key differentiators between business owners (who react) to entrepreneurs (who plan and look forward):

• Entrepreneurs generate great value for their business
• Entrepreneurs focus on growth versus survival
• Entrepreneurs innovate as opposed to stagnate
• Entrepreneurs know you have to spend money to make money (no cutting off of marketing/sales efforts)
• Entrepreneurs set goals and plan each and every day

Whether you are a Business Owner or an Entrepreneur, you you can make small changes today that will amount to big gains tomorrow, by working ON your business, rather than working IN the business.