by Andrew Cravenho
Recently, my editor and I were discussing topics for a blog post relating to entrepreneurs and the subject of franchising came up as a possibility. My thoughts immediately turned to the franchise developer; the entrepreneur behind an idea grand enough to market as an enterprise to would-be business owners. My editor disagreed, thinking the focus should be on the franchise and franchise owners.
“Franchise owners aren’t entrepreneurs!” I protested. “They are managers—owner/operators.” And so the debate began.
The skills, dedication, and effort necessary to run a successful franchise or business should, in no way, be diminished and that is certainly not my attitude toward the franchise owner and small business person, nor is it the intent of this writing. Investing in a franchise or small business takes courage, skill and hard work! No… my objective here is to express my views on the debate over entrepreneurs vs small business owners, where the two overlap, and how the differences can be a factor in the growth of your enterprise.
Defining the Differences
First, all business owners are not entrepreneurs. Consider the family business, passed down from father to son or father to daughter. The son or daughter of the founder does not necessarily meet the definition of an entrepreneur.
Entrepreneurs have grand ideas. Entrepreneurs advance big ideas that have yet to be tested, examined and worked through. More often than not, the entrepreneur doesn’t know if the idea is possible… yet their excitement and passion drive them forward.
Business owners, on the other hand, have great skill and insight. Small business owners understand the needs of their customers and are adept at fulfilling those needs. They know their business, their target market and how to keep customers coming back.
Entrepreneurs thrive on risk. Adrenaline is their drug of choice! The most likely place to find an entrepreneur is on a ledge – speaking figuratively, of course!
Small business owners, not so much! Small business owners like to know what’s coming. They prefer to make calculated decisions to ensure a favorable outcome. They aren’t looking for grandiose results… they manage employees, nurture customer relations and simply want results that will keep the business moving forward through the end of the week or the end of the month.
Entrepreneurs, in contrast, are thinking ahead six months, a year maybe. The entrepreneur’s focus is on growth. The entrepreneur has little interest in the day to day drudge work of running an enterprise. He either has or will create a team and engage experts so that he doesn’t have to run the business. They are happiest in the role of the rainmaker.
Business owners tend to be hands-on and love the intricacies and challenges of running an enterprise. They keep the ship on course and running true.
In my view, entrepreneurs and small business owners are different breeds. While they certainly share some genetic material, they are by no means identical twins.
Entrepreneurs grow, while business owners maintain. This is the significant difference and it will determine the future prospects of your enterprise.
Entrepreneurs are not more important than small business owners or vice versa. They each bring something important to the table. Entrepreneurs ensure growth and innovation and small business owners provide the stability our economy requires.
Which are you? Entrepreneur or small business owner? Let us know in the comments below.
Andrew Cravenho is the CEO of CBAC, which offers invoice factoring for small businesses. As a serial entrepreneur, Andrew focuses on helping both small and medium sized businesses take control of their cash flow. Prior to CBAC, Andrew founded an annuity financing company relieving tort victims of financial hardship.
Derrick Tyson | Courtesy of Author