Do You Think Like an Entrepreneur?

About Me pageOpportunities never end, and often opportunities may come your way when you least expect them. You may be on the train, or watching the news, or interacting with someone.

Have you ever heard any of the various stories surrounding the invention of the cat’s eyes? Apparently children visiting the factory where cat’s eyes were made were told that the idea came from Percy Shaw (the inventor) seeing light reflected from his car headlamps by tram tracks in the road on a foggy night. Of course cat’s eyes are exported all over the world. That is the power of a simple idea.

Was Percy Shaw an Entrepreneur when he started? Apparently, he was inventive even at an early stage, but the cat’s eyes will always be associated with his name. The point of course is that he became a business owner in order to develop his idea.

This brings me to the question I have often wondered about; “Is there a difference between a business owner and an entrepreneur? If so what are the different traits?

Who is an Entrepreneur? Who is a Business Owner?

Wikipedia lists several definitions of Entrepreneurs given by various scholars:

“Entrepreneurs are innovators who use a process of shattering the status quo of the existing products and services, to set up new products, new services”; or 

“An entrepreneur is someone who searches for change, responds to it and exploits opportunities. Innovation is a specific tool of an entrepreneur hence an effective entrepreneur converts a source into a resource”

These definitions make it very clear that an Entrepreneur is not just a business owner. A business owner may be very prudent and may take “calculated” risks. He is less interested into “shattering the status quo” and more interested in simply making a profit. He may be more inclined to view and use existing ideas as a business opportunity rather than developing something new. He is also likely less inclined to create a brand. Many brands today are associated with successful Entrepreneurs, Richard Branson and Steve Jobs to name just 2 whereas a business owner may lack the creativity needed to create a brand.

Another major difference is that the business owner works IN his business. He finds it difficult to delegate and he may think of himself as indispensable, sometimes with good reasons. Thus his business may not continue should he decide to retire. Strategically a business owner who is not an Entrepreneur is less focused on marketing and more focused on managing his business.

Why it is important to think like an Entrepreneur?

It is important for two reasons:

1. The Economy is Constantly Changing

Work is not plentiful the way it used to be and therefore having individuals who can set up businesses is very important to both the local and the national economy. Having individuals “who can shatter the status quo” is even more important. These individuals bring change and thrive on change thus fuelling the economy. The education system is catching up to the need of encouraging people to set up businesses but there is much work to be done. Running a business is a serious business. The vast majority of start-ups fail in the first year because the owners don’t know the pitfalls and how to avoid them.

I watched with interest this video on a Welsh initiative designed to develop business through education. Here is the link

Initiatives such as these ones should be much more widespread. The economy needs business owners, and those who think like an entrepreneur in particular, who can develop new ideas into business opportunities.

2. The Focus is on Marketing

I am an accountant and for years I did not involve myself in marketing. My business remained small until I realised that I needed to market my business not as an accountant but as an Entrepreneur. No business will grow much unless the business owner realises how important it is to understand at least the basic principles of marketing. The more we think like an entrepreneur, the more involved in marketing we want to be, it is a simple as that.


I did not write this short article to elevate Entrepreneurs above business owners. An individual who does think like an entrepreneur but does not know how to run a business will fail. Similarly a business owner who is not Entrepreneurial will stagnate. I would like to encourage small business owners to think more like Entrepreneurs and Entrepreneurs like business owners. It is a good combination for a successful business.

micro business actionToday’s Micro Action

How often do you think like an entrepreneur? Are you shattering the status quo? Take a few moments to think like an entrepreneur about your business – what action could you take that would enhance your brand, what opportunity could you grasp, what calculated risk could you take? When you’ve decided, take action and review the impact on your business.

Giuseppe Colombi

Giuseppe Colombi is an accountant with over twenty five years experience and owner of Best Choice Accountancy Ltd. He has a friendly, practical style and removes the stress of accounts, tax and deadlines, helping you focus on building your business. He enjoys sharing his knowledge of business, accounting and tax with business owners like you, small companies, contractors and freelancers.

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  1. A good question to ask when reading this article is this, “Is there a difference between an Entrepreneur and a Business Owner?” An why is it important to know?
    Giuseppe Colombi recently posted..Why Change Your Accountant?My Profile

  2. Hi Giuseppe, thanks for writing this post. I think you pose a really crucial question. Whilst you need to be a “business owner” to run a successful business and to ensure you’re doing all the day-to-day stuff properly and robustly, I think you also need to keep that entrepreneurial spirit very close. I see an entrepreneur as someone who is creative, forward thinking and is constantly thinking about or hunting down the next idea to give their business a step-change. I think if this aspect is lacking in your business, you are at risk of stagnating and leave yourself wide open for the competition to step in your shoes. To summarise I reckon you need both heads.
    Georgina El Morshdy recently posted..Do You Think Like an Entrepreneur?My Profile

    • Hi Georgina

      I completely agree with you. As I said in my post I feel it is vitally important to recognize that we can make a difference and that we have the resources within ourselves to be forward thinking. Sometimes we may have the creativity of an Entrepreneur but we may lack the practical wisdom of a business owner. I think associating with the right people and seeking the right guidance can help in developing both qualities.
      Giuseppe Colombi recently posted..Why Change Your Accountant?My Profile

  3. I’d say it’s about what do you want to do with your business. If it’s make a living, rather than grow a nest egg, that’s different.

    On LinkedIn, bring this subject up, and the gloves are off – it gets very heated. Many have the view that one person is not a real business.
    Rosie Slosek recently posted..Grow your business: put yourself in the path of opportunitiesMy Profile

    • Hi Rosie

      Thank you for your comment. The bigger the clients base the more you need support. I posted a comment recently in which I made a difference between someone who is looking for work and someone who is looking for clients. A freelancer may tend to look for work, but an entrepreneur will look for clients.

      I think you are right in that the objectives of the business owner are what ultimately determine the nature of the business.

      I am not sure why the debate gets heated on LinkedIn.
      Giuseppe Colombi recently posted..Registering for VAT: Is it right for you?My Profile

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