A businessman and an entrepreneur are often mentioned in the same breath but in reality there is a thin dividing line between the two. For all practical purposes, both have their own ventures that need a great deal of expertise to be run successfully. Analysing the role of each in detail however brings out the finer distinctions.
- Starting off on an original idea – A businessman is one who cashes in on an existing idea. He might get into retail, franchising, opening a store, starting a cleaning agency – whatever. The moot point is that the concept is already there, it’s a matter of walking along an existing path but taking his own direction. An entrepreneur on the other hand starts from scratch, from an idea that is purely his own invention. He has to risk his time and money on a concept that he thinks will work. Thus, so far as risk taking is concerned, an entrepreneur is miles ahead of a businessman.
An example will prove this point. Take the case of Australian Mick Fabar. He had an existing successful construction business, Mick Fabar Constructions before circumstances made him opt out. He next started Green Homes Australia which led to path breaking and innovative energy efficient homes. This was a totally untapped field. Hence, Mick the businessman was now Mick the entrepreneur.
- Attitude to time – A businessman has an existing product with him and that’s the reason he is always on the go. He works fast to fulfil his targets and expects his employees to race against the clock too. An entrepreneur on the other hand has a product to develop. Anything going wrong at this stage will ruin his future prospects. He is like an artist, a lab scientist who cannot be hurried into completing his experiments. That is the reason why he does not keep deadlines, since developing his product is vital, irrespective of the time it might take.
- Perspective towards employees – A businessman’s relationship towards his staff is one of employer and employee. He takes on board people with industry related experience who can further his interests in the business. An entrepreneur’s attitude in this case is totally different. People taken on by him are his contemporaries who help him develop his concepts. They are not employees in the strictest sense of the word who simply collect their pay cheques at the end of the month. They are people who will compromise with a lower pay scale to get the satisfaction of a creation beginning to bloom.
- Market player against market leader – A businessman is a market player. He knows the competition and the marketing strategies to adopt to be successful. All parameters are there on a plate before him. He just has to link the dots and crosses to get a clear picture. An entrepreneur on the other hand has his own developed concept, idea and product. He brings something new to the market which others would want to emulate. He is therefore a market leader.
There are many other points that can be brought out. Only a minute and detailed analysis of the difference between the two will bring them to the fore.