Understanding the Difference Between a Small Business Owner and an Entrepreneur


The terms “entrepreneur” and “small business owner” are frequently used interchangeably. What many people don’t realize, however, are the differences between what a small business owner does versus what an entrepreneur does.

A contributor of Entrepreneur magazine distinguishes the two terms very well so it doesn’t undermine what small business owners do compared to an entrepreneur. The difference is simply seen through leadership styles of running a business.

Here are the 4 different scenarios, provided by Entrepreneur, to better understand the difference between small business owners and entrepreneurs.

Small business owners have a great idea.

They solve a problem in their community. They know their business and target audience. They know what will make their customers happy. They serve their customers.

Entrepreneurs have big ideas.

They dream big. They think big. They come up with ideas that haven’t been tested, diagnosed, or worked through. A lot of times they don’t even know if their ideas are possible, which gets them even more excited.

Small business owners hold steady.

They like to know what’s coming next and where it’s coming from. They make calculated decisions where the outcome is clear. The result may not be huge, but it will typically keep them moving forward.

Entrepreneurs love risk.

They step out on a ledge more often than not. They jump in with both feet knowing that if they put in their full effort, the risk will be worth it more often than not.

Small business owners think about the things they need to finish this week.

They have daily and weekly to do lists. They manage employees, work with customers, network with new customers, and keep everything rocking and rolling.

Entrepreneurs are thinking ahead six months.

While their team is thinking about what they’re doing that week, they tend to skip the now and focus on the future of the company. They have people to manage the business, and if they don’t, they soon will.

Small business owners are sentimental with their businesses.

They never plan on selling or handing their business off to someone else unless it’s family. They like making the decisions and running the day-to-day.

Entrepreneurs focus on scaling.

They want to grow and grow they will. Although they may not focus on selling the business, they set it up to run without them. They surround themselves with experts while they end up being the rainmaker.

Understanding the difference is important to know if you are a small-business owner who is unsure on where they stand. It’s important to note that small businesses are the foundation of America’s economy and without them and the entrepreneurs who help to make it possible, we would be faced with great economic uncertainties.

If you’re a small-business owner looking to make an impact, you can learn more from our Small Business Education Center blog by subscribing for our newsletter.