I have always believed there is a clear distinction between business owners and entrepreneurs. The Oxford Dictionary defines a business owner as someone who “owns a business entity in an attempt to profit from the successful operation of the company.” an According to them, an entrepreneur “organises and operates a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks to do so.” However, there is more to it than this simplistic definition, based on living in hope of profits versus financial risk-taking. It’s a state of mind. Below, are my personal thoughts on the difference in mindset between the two. Admittedly, there are some generalisations in these pen-portraits – but how much truth do you recognise – in yourself, or people around you?
Business owners generally start (or inherit) a business with the aspiration of creating an amazing lifestyle and achieving financial freedom for themselves and their family. However, reality soon hits them. All too often, within just a couple of years, they are bogged down, highly stressed, managing every area of the company with little respite. Meanwhile, the company is totally reliant upon the owner, who is so preoccupied with juggling the business and its day-to-day operations that they rarely have any opportunity to work on themselves and invest the time needed to develop their skills, knowledge, resources and their network. Then, the unimaginable happens: a recession, a pandemic or financial crisis hits, and their business – which is their only source of income – is massively hit. With the storm increasing and no means of them staying afloat, their fate is almost always sealed. I see this as the life of the business owner – someone who is so bogged down In the day-to-day, that they are unable to see beyond the next 24 hours. They often have little foresight to manage risk, prepare their company for difficulties, or plan contingencies to see them through rough times. They generally don’t take time to train themselves or develop the expertise to enable them to safely escape the most threatening of situations.
The entrepreneur, equally, has a vision for the future, but in this case, it’s different. Their vision is never sacrificed. The entrepreneur requires that, in order for the business to grow, s/he must also grow. They allocate sufficient time for their own learning and development. Instead of working in the business, they work on it, building a team that supports their vision. The business is built in such a way that it does not depend on the entrepreneur or business leader being in the building in order for it to operate. The entrepreneur’s acquired knowledge allows them to replicate their success in other businesses across multiple industries. They create a blueprint for success that allows them to pivot and manoeuvre in what some would perceive as difficult times. The entrepreneur’s potential is limitless. Even though they are still as susceptible to loss as the business owner, this is only ever temporary. Through difficult experiences, they learn and adapt, acquiring knowledge, skills and experience that will help them to come back better and stronger.
There is a clear distinction between the two, but if you have fallen into the business owner mindset, with all its disadvantages, this doesn’t mean it’s too late for you to put on your entrepreneurial cap, turn your ship around and chart a course towards a brighter and better destination. If you have fallen foul of this common mindset of ‘working harder, longer’ or have lost sight of why you started your own company, allow me to offer some guidance to help you on your way.
There is an abundance of valuable resources available to you, from courses, mentoring, coaching and reading materials. However, I want to make this process as easy and accessible as possible, so I have listed 4 books that will reignite your business passion, inspire you to grow, as an entrepreneur, and provide you with the insight and knowledge necessary to build a business on your terms and in a way that works for you.
- The Entrepreneur Revolution – Daniel Priestly: a masterclass in gaining an entrepreneurial mindset. This shows how to change the way you think, how you network, and the way you make a living. This means taking the initiative to do something you love, that you’re good at, that will make you money.
- The Success Rebellion – Ryan Jackson – my guide to developing a successful, abundant life by taking control of your thinking, developing a daily routine, and taking action that progresses you towards the goals and dreams you envision.
- Process to Profit – Marianne Page – shows how process and systems can dramatically increase your revenue and reduce your costs, by supporting your people and making you consistent, and easy for people to do business with. It will also show you how you can gain personally. Systemising your business to build a high performing team and gain more time, more control and more profit.
- 4 Hour Work Week – Tim Ferris – “a step-by-step blueprint to free yourself from the shackles of a corporate job, create a business to fund the lifestyle of your dreams, and live life like a millionaire, without actually having to be one”.
There’s no better time than now to make the shift into a new way of thinking, being and doing successful business. Start by developing yourself – and be captain of your own ship.
Article cover photo by Matheus Bertelli