Growing up in the townships of South Africa had it’s advantages and disadvantages, more so the latter. The ills of oppression as we know them have come to experience and learnt even more about their dire effects, is nothing to even begin debating. One aspect though that has truly struck a cord with me as a child, who grew up in this environment, is the ability to relate to many subject matters and also how detrimental perceptions can play a role in your ultimate relation to knowledge, be it socially or economically.
I remember being asked as a child what my father did for a living, and I replied as I was coached at home; “My Father is a businessman”. That answer always got the point across pretty quickly and I think that perception, played a big role in the mind of those who questioned a child about their parents occupation. With that being said, I am today what we fashionably call and Entrepreneur. I do not work for anyone but myself thus making me self-employed. The question now is, what do I do; Well to keep it short I am in Technology and my team and, I develop software for clients. So why do I call myself an entrepreneur if I own a business, surely I am a Businessman, you might be thinking?
It is not until recent I came across what I felt clarifies a few things for me. See, I have been doing what I do for a long time now and have always seen myself in the same classification as a guy that owns a franchise or to be more specific, sells software developed by someone else like a Microsoft or Google. But I seem to have minced the two worlds. Apparently the guy that sells an existing product or follows an existing opportunity similar to those around him like competitors, is known as a Business Man. For this individual has the capacity to take something for a cost , add a margin to it, sells it, minus the cost and makes a profit. Where in an entrepreneur is the guy who started the product or created the opportunity from nothing, zilch!
Ahhh, now this starts making more sense, I hear you say.Well, Take software companies like Facebook, Snapchat and the Twitters of the world. All started by zealous individuals with the hunger to create something life changing. Found people to support their visions with resources such as money, which hired talented people and got the hands of other people who used their services whilst making zero bank. Until such time that all that risk pays-off everyone who supports the vision – guess that’s the entrepreneur. Hence we now see billion dollar companies which are owned by young geeky looking zit faced guys in t-shirts. Versus the straight ironed, clean shaven pin stripe suited guy we have all known to be the ” BUSINESS MAN”.
Well I found a list that creates a clear distinction between these two kinds of characters and sums up my observation and dispels my inherent perception of the state of things; The article originally appeared in KnowStartup.
Here are the 10 differences between a businessman and an entrepreneur,
1. Originality of idea
A businessman can make a business out of an unoriginal business or product idea. He enters into existing businesses, such as franchising and retailing. He chooses a hot and profitable business idea regardless of whether it is his original idea or borrowed from someone else.
An entrepreneur is an inventor and the first creator of a product. He invests time, energy and money on his own idea. He doesn’t start a business from an unoriginal idea. That is why he starts on a startup while a businessman starts on a business.
2. Degree of Risk
Businessmen take calculated and managed risks. They cannot afford to lose money and suffer from bankruptcy. That is why they always do the Math when it comes to business.
Entrepreneurs are like sky divers. They take crazy risks. They often don’t care of losing time and money just to pursue their passion. But since they do it with love, joy and passion, they often gain extraordinary rewards. Entrepreneurs, since they do the things they love the most, they do it with the best of themselves, resulting to greater success.
3. The purpose of doing
Most businessmen are doing business for profit, livelihood, for reaching their financial goals, and for becoming their own boss. Though, there are some business people who are not profit-oriented but people-oriented, that is, they are more concerned on the welfare of their workers and the satisfaction of their customers.
Entrepreneurs are more concerned on changing the world. They want to pursue their passion and achieve an ultimate goal. They are not keen on financial returns, rather they are focused on what they can offer to the world. Their purpose for entrepreneurship is simply to make a difference in this world.
4. Hiring people
A businessman is concerned with hiring people to increase his business productivity. He hires employees and workers to help his business grow.
An entrepreneur hires people and converts them into a pool of resource which can be easily and effectively tapped by the society. He finds peers and PEOPLE, whom he will never treat as machines. He invites them to help them grow.
5. Treating customers
A business owner usually sees customers as his source of sales and revenues. For him, customers are the lifeblood of his business.
An entrepreneur sees customers as his source of duty and fulfillments. For him, customers are his own life blood.
A businessman shies away from changes, and often finds him at the receiving end of turbulent business environment. He is apprehensive of the changes.
An entrepreneur is visionary; stresses on research and development. Entrepreneur is always eager to face challenging business conditions and embraces changes.
A business owner tries hard to beat his competitors and win the competition. He also considers cooperation rather than competition to achieve certain goals.
An entrepreneur tries hard to beat his worst competitor – himself.
8. Definition of success
A businessman defines success as the success of his business and its stakeholders. Its stakeholders include himself, co-owners, employees, customers, investors, and even his community.
An entrepreneur doesn’t define success. He simply do his job and let history defines the success that he accomplished.
A businessman cares more in making money. Losing money is one of the biggest worries of businessmen. Most business owners rely on a good economy to start, operate and attain success in business, especially in the retail, franchising and financing industry.
Entrepreneurs do not worry a lot about money since they can always start from a scratch. Some entrepreneurs don’t really care about money at all. Entrepreneur cares in a larger perspective, including humanitarian community and social responsibility.
10. Dealing with time
A businessman doesn’t waste time. He always check the clock and doesn’t want any work or output to be delayed out of schedule. He is fast and always on the go.
An entrepreneur works like an artist or a scientist in a lab. His product is his masterpiece. That is why he can be slow and could spend a longer period of time to finish and perfect his product.
Share your thoughts with us and take the conversation to to Twitter.