Business Owner or Entrepreneur?


This is a bit of a rant.  I’ve just finished attending yet another “Business Development Workshop Weekend” and, as always happens, I find myself called (now from a business perspective – which happens occasionally) to step back more and more into the inquiry and exploration about what it is that assists all of us further into a state of Receiving that something better, something more, something different, something else or something new.  So I find myself yet again pondering, and that pondering causes me to write.

So here it goes…



“Business Owner, or Entrepreneur? Which am I? And how do I know?”

Before I pose some possibilities to help this conversation along, I’d like to state a clear bias on my part.  And that is… That I have a bit of a challenge with business teachers / coaches who present Entrepreneurship like it’s the ultimate vacation destination…. Like it’s somewhere to “arrive at”, and that anything less is unacceptable.

I’ve been Business Coaching for over 20 years now, and unfortunately I’ve seen many “experts” create lines where really, I don’t think they exist.  These experts make the difference between being a Business Owner and being an Entrepreneur be about everything from the size of your Employee base, to the size of your annual Gross Revenue stream or Profit Margin; through to delineating the hard and soft-skill tendencies of certain personality types, and whether they lean in one direction or the other.

From what I have been able to tell, it’s neither.  Yes, there IS a difference, but from what I have been able to perceive over time, is that the difference is one of mindset and heartset mostly, and in particular how whatever preferences an individual chooses, translates into action or what could be termed as a demonstrated leadership style.

So to be clear, one is not better nor worse than another.  One is neither further ahead nor behind another.  And one is definitely not a stepping stone to the other.  Neither are they completely separate.  (Which probably even makes this purpose of this post mute, but I’ll continue with it anyhow.)

Each of them are quite literally, two sides of the same coin.  Both are necessary for shaping a healthy Business experience, and I for one, see the benefits of learning from, and with, both camps.

So it is from that space that I’m writing this, okay?  Let’s take a closer look….


Characteristics of a Business Owner

Business Owner prefers direct engagement within an industry

Is motivated to make the world / their industry a better place first

Wants to solve a problem / meet a need in their community

Understands their business and target market thoroughly

Knows what makes their customer happy and aims for that always

Likes predictability – the industry, the process, the product

Makes calculated decisions based upon clarity of the outcome

They have To-do Lists, Manage Employees, and work directly with Customers

They rarely plan on selling – If they are thinking of handing over, it’s usually to family or someone trusted

Uses Systematic terms focused around anything (task and process orientations) that makes Customer Service a priority, and supports it as such.


Characteristics of an Entrepreneur

Entrepreneur prefers to propel / drive between opportunities and industries

Thinks and dreams big – and is willing to take a risk first, if the benefit appears to outweigh the effort

Tries out ideas that haven’t been tested yet to see what works

Motivated to make money and profit – business vehicle doesn’t matter

Customer service is about leveraging social capital – creating raving fans

Rides the waves of unpredictability and adapts to change with ease

Outcomes are designed through every aspect of the Business

Entrepreneurs hand off the day-to-day and focus on the future of the Company

They intend to grow the company so that it will run without them – then grow the next one

Use Systemic / ecosystem-like terms like “start-up”, “upscaling”, “upstream / downstream stakeholders”, “business incubator”, “capital”, “seed funds accelerator” etc.


So to answer some of the questions that have been asked of me by my coaching clients (of the last couple of years in particular)… “Have I and my team members with Business Pathfinder worked with both?”  The answer is “Yes”.  And, “Is there one we prefer to work with over another?” And the answer is “No”.


So… if you think you’re an Entrepreneur based upon the above, and you think that because we as a team at Business Pathfinder use the term (Small) Business Owner throughout our material on our site (, that you’re not welcome?  I would gently encourage you to please, reconsider.

The reason we use the term (Small) Business Owner throughout our material is simple.   Because there is a bias in the industry toward “playing a bigger game” defined by growth at any and all cost – and unfortunately, that movement has become it’s own form of elitism, bundled (unfortunately, and in my experience inaccurately) under the label or banner of Entrepreneurship.

The truth is, whether you consider yourself a Business Owner or Entrepreneur, learning how to weigh whether to “play the bigger game” or not; and HOW to go about phasing in further, or not; even within your definitions of what that game needs to be — for YOU, or not; is almost more important than whether or not the game even gets played.

So please… let’s raise up the conversation and ask the higher-level questions of ourselves today.  Do we remember why we started this journey?  Do we even know why we’re still here? What is the future we want to create for ourselves and our Team on a go-forward?  And what conditions will help us to get there?

Maybe then, if more of us can go there instead…  We can all begin to release this idea of a destination we somehow all presume we need to get to, and make “being in business” about a way of travelling.

Categories: Business Pathfinder, I Give Myself Permission, Thoughts & Reflections

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