What's the Difference Between Entrepreneurs & Small Businesses?

To the entrepreneurial novice, being an entrepreneur or a small business owner is interchangeable.  However, they are not the same.  Sure, they are both self-employed, and need to make money (regardless of how they spend it).  But there are a few differences:

  • Entrepreneurs rarely want things to stay as they are.  They are looking to change things, develop things, create more energy.  Small business owners are often happy with how things are, content to carry on (if successful).
  • Entrepreneurs invent things, look to do things in different ways and are often technically minded.  Small business owners are more likely to do something others are doing, such as opening a shop.
  • Entrepreneurs are often looking for the next big thing, ready to move on once their company is good enough.  Small business owners are often more sentimental, and see their business as part of the community and part of the family.
  • Entrepreneurs will do things more often than not because of passion or opportunity rather than strictly profit or a means of making a living.  
  • Entrepreneurs want to change the world.  Small business owners want to make a living, and often serve their local community first and foremost.

In the Quick MBA article, there are 3 main ways in which the small business owner and entrepreneur are different: amount and speed of wealth creation, risk tolerance, and innovation.

So which are you?  Different mindsets, different passions, different ways of doing things. . . .while this is not a definitive list, it helps to understand the differences.  What will your path be?

Leave an optional comment to explain your answer.