What is the difference between an Entrepreneur and a business owner?

As an entrepreneur what are the main functions or duties to be performed on behalf of one self and the society in general? Interesting question to me because it isn’t easy to differentiate between an entrepreneur and a business owner. They seem to mean the same and at the same time not necessarily so.

For instance, Mark Zuckerberg of facebook is touted as an internet entrepreneur one who owns an internet business but so too is Steve Pavlinaentrepreneur famous personal development blogger but what about the endless multitude of bloggers we have all over the world can they truly be called entrepreneurs? That brings me to another question: who is an entrepreneur and what is or are his main duties?

An entrepreneur is an innovative business leader who identifies a business opportunity, pulls resources to exploit that opportunity and who stays abreast with market trends in order to provide the best possible product or service for the market. That is my perspective anyway and not everyone would share that view. So going by that definition I don’t expect a shop owner who sells provisions to be called an entrepreneur but a blogger who blogs about water sports can rightly be called an entrepreneur because he is providing a service that serves a particular market, a solution to their problem. I choose to state things this way for the following reasons;

An entrepreneur sees problems first then finds a solution that will serve a particular group of people (niche) which is how they identify opportunities unlike the ordinary business man who wants to own a business in order to make profit (money). So by what they are motivated by we could say entrepreneurs are problem solvers although they may also make money by the side whereas business owners most likely are after the money.

Entrepreneurs usually have an active stake in the business they form.

For instance Steve Jobs, co-founder of apple wasn’t just a shareholder or investor in the business he was the business’ main manager, overseeing the day to day affairs of the business. He worked tirelessly to overcome the challenges that faced the business and also create opportunities wherever they existed.

I heard some people say Jobs wasn’t really a genius as much as the world was led to believe maybe in terms of technical prowess but certainly as a sales man and an effective market analyst Jobs is probably one of the finest marketers the world has ever known and bottom line whatever business he founded, he was an active force in it, whereas your typical business owner may only be after who gets employed and where but may not be totally committed to running the business as long as the profit keeps coming, I liken them to investors but Jobs proved to be an entrepreneur at heart.

To the entrepreneur their business legacy is their life.

When Steve Jobs was fired from apple he wasn’t depressed because he had lost his job but rather that something he had worked for tirelessly would be taken over by other people he felt knew less about it than himself. He wanted his lifelong dream to be realized even if he had to lose his job for it but certainly not when you lose both ways (the dream is taken over and dies, the dreamer loses control over his dream) that explains why jobs agreed to return to apple even after he had successfully created two other multi-million dollar companies that also made him wealthy and world famous.

I wonder how Bill gates would feel like if Microsoft went belly up but with all his billions still with him. He wouldn’t complain of losing his control of the market, rather that his lifelong dream has disappeared. For a business owner as long as the profits remain even if the business is sold or taken over all is fine. Entrepreneurs are simply insane people.

Do business owners feel obliged to evolve better ways of doing things or getting things done?

I’m not so sure they are if costs and their bottom line are also factored in but most entrepreneurs would be willing to risk something to make a product truly special and useful to a market. Bill gates once said make your product the best off its kind and aim to be number one in your market, am not quite certain that is the mindset of people who only own businesses.

So in conclusion I would say every man knows best what his stand is and why he should take it on this issue, for me it is not being able to identify an opportunity and being innovative as well in how to exploit it, anyone can copy a successful business model but only entrepreneurs can and will find innovation to exploit an opportunity.

Are Famous Entrepreneurs Born or Made?

What do you think?

Image Credit: Eschipul