Merriam Webster’s definition of an entrepreneur is “a person who starts a business and is willing to risk loss in order to make money”. At least we entrepreneurs have a definition.
No offense, small business owners.
Entrepreneurs often start out as one man bands, so to speak, and often being self funded. Some have large enterprises and generate millions of dollars. Most often entrepreneurs start small and fly by the seat of their pants, praying they will land lucratively.
Small business owners, on the other hand, often go the traditional route, with heavy planning and heavy funding. They tend to make a sizable financial investment at the onset & risk losing it all quickly rather than to start small. They have a plan and they either sink or swim.
Luckily, I’ve known both
Most of my associates are entrepreneurs. Many are VERY successful. Many going from nothing to becoming multi millionaires in a very short time. All of those took tremendous risk. Some bet theirs lives. Literally. With one young husband going against the wishes of his young wife, and wagering their 20K nest egg. All they had. That risk netted him 20 MILLION in his first year alone.
Entrepreneurs are the people who have an idea and jump in head first not knowing whether or not they are going to be successful. They operate on passion and hope always. A wing and a prayer sometimes. Entrepreneurs are often more creative than practical. Their initiative is often a creative one; a new branded product, a unique service, an artistic or tech offering. Or, at least, that is what I have found anyway. They are the risk takers.
Another main difference that I see that differentiates entrepreneurs from small business owners is simply – ego. Many small business owners seems to enjoy the acclaim of being the guy on top, where an entrepreneur often flies solo and sans applause. Small business owners also tend to navigate towards sure bets, bets such as franchises and businesses that are bound to bring in the revenue they seek rather than to navigate uncharted territory.
In either case, both entrepreneurs and small bi owners are people who are not willing to settle for status quo. Here is what Ben Lamm , a writer who chimed in on this very subject for Entrepreneur thinks. Enjoy!