The terms ‘entrepreneur’ and ‘businessman’ are often used interchangeably, but in reality they couldn’t be more different. If you aspire to become an entrepreneur, you must first learn the differences between the two and then decide which best suits you. Here are a few of the unique traits of entrepreneurs that separate them from businessmen.
Originality vs. Following the Crowd
One thing that differentiates entrepreneurship from running a business is innovation – the uniqueness of their ideas. An entrepreneur is someone who gets out of his comfort zone, thinks of an idea, scales it to the maximum capacity, and turns it into a full-fledged startup. They can then create jobs and change people’s lives.
Businessmen, on the other hand, take no such risk. They stick with business models that already have been proven and that have a better chance of profitability. They follow but never lead. They may do something better than their competitors, or even make improvements, but there’s not much originality in the idea.
Employees vs. Team
A businessman hires employees. An entrepreneur recruits teams. What’s the difference? Let’s take the example of a cleaning service.
It’s a business that’s been around forever. Hiring isn’t exactly brain surgery when it comes to a service like this. Everyone knows what the job entails, and you can hire anyone to do it. Their type of business has a high rate of employee turnover, but no one is essential and all can be easily replaced.
What about the entrepreneur? She may want to start a cleaning business, too, but she’s not thinking housecleaning. She’s seen an opportunity in computer technology that no one else has thought of – perhaps better air filtration for server farms and scheduled cleaning of the hardware by trained techs. The team the entrepreneur recruits can’t be replaced by just anyone, because they’re the ones who have to keep up to date on technological and design changes and come up with strategies to deal with them. She recruits a team that believes in the business model and is integral to its success.
The big difference is that the team cares. That could be the edge she needs to make the business work.
Money vs. The Idea
Businessmen look to the bottom line from day one. Profit can come in the future, but that future better not be too far ahead. The timeline from startup to profitability has to be short. Too long and the plug gets pulled. That’s business.
The primary goal of an entrepreneur is to make an idea work. Sure, there has to be a chance to make money, but because the idea behind the company is usually original the entrepreneur doesn’t have a tried-and-true way to get to profitability. He has to innovate, change course, and meet challenges no one has thought of before. Sticking it out until the idea is proven to be a winner takes courage and a healthy amount of faith, but that’s what entrepreneurship is all about.
Which Are You?
Your temperament may be the deciding factor on whether you’re a businessman or entrepreneur. Neither path is easy, but entrepreneurship has its own set of challenges – and rewards. I wouldn’t give up my life as an entrepreneur for anything. I also know hundreds of people who love being just businessmen and who are very successful. Which path you choose is up to you, but before you decide think about the differences.