Entrepreneur, Business Person or Both

Entrepreneur, Business Person or Both1d

I was party to a debate on an online community site about the difference between an Entrepreneur and a Business Person, and it is an interesting difference I discussed with a friend only last week. If there is a difference then both are needed in the world of commerce, as are so many other personalities. My initial thoughts are the Entrepreneur is someone who sees 1kopportunities, sees connections between different things and knows how to combine them to make a new product or service. The Entrepreneur is able to see the uniqueness amongst the collective, knows what to do with it and what market is likely to yield the outcomes which are desired. However, the Business Person is equally important and contributes just as much but perhaps in a more focused way – let me explain. Most Entrepreneurs I know are bored silly by the long term operations of a company, the day to day issues that are faced, the essential understanding of the detail. Whereas Business Person runs the company, wants to know the detail, has the facts at their fingertips and understands all aspects of the company, delivering the results aspired to, day in, day out. Yes it is possible that a Business Person can be an Entrepreneur and vice versa. I was myself wearing both hats on many occasions, but my heart was in the near artistic generation of new ideas and concepts development, in the innovation and origination of products and services. Business Person creates the structure of a company and applies it to these creations, these innovations. In this respect and in an ideal world these two characteristics are co-dependent and work in harmony, well, most of the time.

I’m awful at art, I really am, I struggle to draw a straight line with a ruler. I wish I could create great paintings, sculptures or symphonies (yes ok, I know I sound old), but I just don’t have that type of creative ability. My creativity is in the creation of 1iinnovative concepts, products and services, to create from the opportunity I see that others have missed. This is my form of artistic creation and I feel so blessed to have such skills. To prove the point I have over 40 different concepts on the backburner, and am working with friends on a few of these at this very time. I am focused on developing these ideas to the point where they can be commercialised, and then comes the last skill most Entrepreneurs (which I know) have. This is the creation of the right team to deliver it to market. That is not to say as an Entrepreneur I have no further involvement, of course I do, but this is where I1f slip into Business Person role. I continue to develop the team, guide the team, give them a clear vision of the innovation, and equally important give them the long term vision. I love to work on the marketing, the networking, the target setting and milestones. I want to know the broad picture of what is going on in the company, but I don’t want to do the day to day management of the company; been there, done that, worn the t-shirt, etc. Running a company does not offer me any challenges anymore and 100% does not ring my bell. My motivation to get up in the morning from a business sense is not day to day operational issues of a company; it is the thought of what I might discover today, will shape today, and of what I may commercially create today.

Some of the following are what others thought about Entrepreneur, Business Person or both:


“I think somebody once said that the measure of an Entrepreneur is how much uncertainty he/she can comfortably live with. A Business Person is concerned with sustaining the profit mechanism and dislikes risk.”

“A Business Person can be seen clearly in ‘trade’ based industry as an example, a plumber is most likely to be a Business Person but an Entrepreneur may have thought up the new gadget/widget they use to make their job easier and sold it to the plumber.”

“An Entrepreneur might be considered as a person who sees the opportunity in risk and knows how to gain from the opportunity.”

“I’m an inventor, Entrepreneur and business woman, I think all businesses need to have an Entrepreneurial spirit and a good accountant.”

“Many Entrepreneurs seem to have an unshakeable belief in their specific view of things, so much so that they are prepared to put their necks on the line.”

“I do not see that a business must have some form of Entrepreneurial effort. Some very good small businesses are not in the least Entrepreneurial. They just offer a good product with excellent service. They have no desire to go beyond that, no need to go beyond what they do already and the owners are happy to provide this service in this way.”

“Another way of identifying Entrepreneurs might be that they are rewarded through ownership and remunerated only what and when the business can afford to pay.”

“The combination of an Entrepreneur and excellent operations person can achieve exceptional things. These two things are rare in an individual, but partnerships of this form can be highly effective.”


I agree with the last two points totally, Entrepreneurs can be clearly demonstrated in iconic people such as Steve Jobs, Richard Branson and George Dyson, but the companies they created are not run by1a them. Entrepreneurs like chaos as they know great advances can be made by sorting the chaos out, and great opportunities lay in the haze created by chaos if one only knows how to focus. Some of the world’s most successful businesses started with a conversation. This makes the Entrepreneur think, mull things over long after the conversation is over, expand upon the initial thought and develop it to become a product of some form. Yet it all started with the proverbial blank sheet of paper and from this starting point a concept is born that leads to a vision, which leads to a company, and so on.

As a description that certainly fits me and many people I know that I would classify as Entrepreneurs, I turn to one final comment:

“Most Entrepreneurs like the buzz of creating and growing a business rather than running it.”



Jonathan Wade

Smiling Cat Ventures and Innovations Group



Smiling Cat Ventures Ltd (www.smilingcatventures.org)

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