All the rage or just business owners getting it done.

These days everyone wants to be an entrepreneur. Go to any ‘networking’ event and you’ll be greeted by at least a handful of people who describe themselves that way. Read a business story in the news and it seems rather a bit of a ‘word of the moment’. The term business owner seems so, well, last century.

Entrepreneurs are those special visionary leaders, who do great, novel, interesting things, taking huge risks – often with other people’s money, run many different businesses simultaneously and ‘flip’ them for vast sums of money to set up global charitable institutions that change the world…. Or so we’re led to believe by the media.

So if that’s the media definition, what’s the ‘real world’ definition.

Well, according to Wikipedia, the term entrepreneur is “commonly used to describe an individual who organizes (sic) and operates a business or businesses, taking on financial risk to do so.

That’s it, I kid you not – no special visions, no huge risks with other’s money, no simultaneous businesses, no flipping, no global charities. An entrepreneur is just someone who runs a business to which, as any small business owner knows, has an element of financial risk attached.

Yes, Wikipedia goes on to describe types of entrepreneurs and give some well known examples (see media definition), but there’s nothing on that page that challenges the notion that every business owner (owner, not manager) is an entrepreneur.

The other day, I read something that talked about what those wanting to become ‘entrepreneurs’ needed to stop doing right now. These included;

  • Having lots of ideas (rather than solutions to current or future customer needs). Any venture capitalist (or banker) will tell you they’d rather finance the world’s most boring business with lots of customers rather than something exciting with lots of ideas for potentialgoods or services that couldwork if
  • Looking for the quick fix or overnight success. Building something of value takes work, effort and time – oh and the odd occasional sleepless night for good measure.
  • The ‘stuff’ trappings of success. Yes, stuff can be nice, but we’ve all heard the story of the folks who spent more time looking at the specs for their new car, boat, plane than they did on their customers and that story never ends well.
  • Obsessing over productivity. Unless your business has you positioned as a productivity expert, spending endless hours in search of the holy grail of productivity is likely only to waste those hours you could have spent in search of more clients, outsourcing your admin or getting your real work done.

So, why does it matter what the actual definition of entrepreneur is or what we do or don’t do? Well, I think that many business owners have a far more glamorous notion of what a ‘real business owner’ looks like in their heads and then feel like they somehow don’t measure up.

The reality is that starting, building and keeping a business running is a tough, challenging and sometimes gut-wrenching thing to do – there is no ‘one kind of special person’ who is uniquely fit for the challenge.

All business owners at some point will say it’s hard, it hurts and it can be a really scary ride – especially at the beginning or in tough economic times. But on the upside, it’s also one of the best challenges you’ll ever undertake.

For me, every day, week, month and year is different from the last and that makes it interesting. I meet and work with great clients and in so doing learn about many different businesses and industries. And, last but by no means least, I get to employ great staff members who contribute in so many ways to me and the business that Mason Lloyd has become and is becoming.

If Greg or I can help you make the transition to that next stage of business growth or help you get the structure right for your business, we’d love to talk to you. You can call us on 6023 1700.

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