How to Tell If You’re a Small Business Owner or Entrepreneur

small-biz-owner-or-entrepreneurYou may not realize it, but there is a difference between an entrepreneur and a small business owner. According to, an entrepreneur is a person who organizes or manages any enterprise, especially a business with considerable initiative and risk. Even the definition suggests that there is a difference between being an entrepreneur and a business owner. And, I do believe that every entrepreneur is a business owner, but every business owner is not necessarily an entrepreneur. Even the US Small Business Administration counts the number of registered businesses in the country but not the number of entrepreneurs.

I can see how this might be confusing, which is why I’m excited to feature Janice’s question in this week’s episode of Incredible Factor TV. Check out her question:

“Darnyelle, first let me say that I am grateful for you and Incredible Factor TV. Thank you for your episodes and answering so many burning questions that I have had as I endeavor to grow my own business. Now to my question: You seem to refer to both entrepreneurs and small business owners in your blogs. Aren’t they the same thing? Would you take a moment and breakdown the difference? (I’m assuming there must be one.) Thanks!”

See my response to Janice’s question here:

As I share in the episode, there’s confusion between the terms Small-Business Owner and Entrepreneur. Both can have small businesses, but they have different styles of leadership and thoughts on running their business. One is not better than the other, they’re just different.

In general, here are some thoughts about the differences between the two:


As you can see, small business owners typically find one good idea and run with it. They build their entire plan around that one idea. As an example, a person decides they want to start their own business and notice that in their town the dry cleaners aren’t local, so they decide to open one right in town. It’s a great business idea, solves a real problem and allows residents to keep their dollars in their community. There is no need for the dry cleaner to innovate, they are solving a real problem and they do well in business. They keep costs low and turn a profit quickly. He hires a manager to run the dry cleaning business and spends his extra time playing golf. Simultaneously, another person decides they want to work for themselves and decides to acquire a few properties and start with real estate, but he is also passionate about working out and fitness and decides to go back to get a personal trainer certification so he can train clients privately. He also starts speaking locally, and before he knows it he is speaking a lot about health and wellness and has more opportunities to do what he loves.

Both people have a business but both people are not entrepreneurial. And there is nothing wrong with either. I do believe that there are traits that entrepreneurs need to adopt from business owners and vice versa.

You might be a business owner and not an entrepreneur if:

  1. You have one good idea that will solve a problem that you know you can create a business around.
  2. Quitting your job and making more money so you can work less is your only goal.
  3. You don’t spend too much time thinking ahead or innovatively.
  4. You don’t like to take a lot of risk.
  5. You like focusing singularly on ideas and perfecting them.

And, you might be an entrepreneur if:

  1. You’ve got a notebook filled with ideas of how you help people solve a myriad of problems and you’re trying to figure out how to do them all at once.
  2. The thought of building your own team scares you and you’d much rather stay focused on aligning yourself with strategic partners who add value where you do not.
  3. You are passionate about a lot of things and don’t see anything wrong with that.
  4. You are constantly coming up with new products and services that you can sell.
  5. You love your vision for the future and get excited every time a new idea pops up.

Which are you? Why? (Remember, there’s no wrong or right answer.) I think the most successful business people are a little of both lists and they’ve found the right balance between the two to implement and add value while changing the world.

Now I want to hear from you, what’s your two cents?: What else should we consider when defining entrepreneurs and business owners?

©2015 by Darnyelle A. Jervey. All Rights Reserved. Darnyelle A. Jervey, MBA, The Incredible Factor Business Optimization Coach and Mentor, is the founder of Incredible One Enterprises®, Incredible Factor University® and the Leverage Your Incredible Factor System®, a proven step-by-step program so you experience financial and spiritual abundance in your life because of your business. For more information and a FREE audio CD “7 Critical Mistakes Even Smart Entrepreneurs Must Avoid for Clients, Connection and Cash Flow!” just fill out the form below.

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