There has been a lot of talk lately about small business ownership and entrepreneurs. What I have seen pretty consistently is the two areas getting pretty heavily mixed up. What I have seen more so than any other terminology confusion in business lately has been the incessant confusion between the description of a small business and the description of an entrepreneurial venture. I’d like to write about these two, and create some clarification on the key differences between them so the new generation does not make the mistake of confusing the two.
First off, let’s look at the definitions of the two terms, as the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines them:
- “An entrepreneur is a person or group of people (Entrepreneurial Venture) who organize and operate a business or businesses, taking on greater than normal financial risks and potentially difficult tasks in order to do so. Usually, the business is a new idea, and does not follow a model or plan that has already been proven workable before.”
- “Small businesses are generally speaking privately owned entities such as corporations, partnerships, or sole proprietorships that themselves have fewer employees and/or less annual revenue than a regular-sized business or corporation does. A small business differs from entrepreneurial ventures in that small businesses usually follow an already workable plan. Such plans usually go along with a franchise, or they follow a model in whatever market that they are in that has already been proven to be workable.”
Key Differences Between the Entrepreneurial Venture and the Small Business
There are a few key differences between an entrepreneur and a business owner. I can lay these out, so any doubt or uncertainty on what one is will be well understood. The primary differences are things like:
- Small business owners usually (about ninety percent of the time) deal with known and established products and services, whereas entrepreneurial ventures are for new and innovative offerings and products and services that are in their own way new and unique and to a large degree designed by the entrepreneur.
- Small businesses aim for limited growth and continued profitability that is reliable and to a degree stable. A great example is a local, privately-owned paint store that sells brand name paint products. On the other hand, though entrepreneur ventures target rapid growth and high productivity returns on their new, innovative, special ideas.
- Small businesses deal with known risks within their own field or marketplace. Regardless of how the business owners are able to deal with those risks, the risks themselves are still relatively well known and predictable. On the other hand, though, entrepreneurial ventures take the plunge with a lot of unknowns and a lot of big risks.
- One of the most interesting differences here is that entrepreneur ventures generally impact economies and communities in a pretty big way, especially in the niche market that they are in or the community in which they are located. This inevitably results in a pretty big, cascading effect on other sectors like job creation and job growth in the specific market or area. Small businesses are in a lot of ways a lot more limited in this perspective of big change and such businesses remain confined to their own domain and group that they are a part of.
I hope this clears up some of the confusion on these subjects. I want this area to be really well understood, as people should know well the terms and the truths about whatever venture or project it is that they are trying to get into. The best way to succeed at something is to really understand that area very well.
We live in a new age now, and we live in a time period where it is not at all strange or weird to have American workers retire at a much later age than they used to or to not retire at all. Coincidence? I think not. I think that our country is finally starting to push, push, push and work harder and accomplish more and to be more impassioned about their careers in general. Seems pretty great to me. I love seeing people work hard and meet their goals no matter their age!
Let’s not forget, big man Colonel Sanders founded Kentucky Fried Chicken in his sixties. Hat’s off to that man. Let’s all take a page from his book and be a little more driven and a little more impassioned in our older years. With age comes wisdom and experience and knowledge from that experience. Senior citizens I feel are some of the most likely candidates to go out into the marketplace and be great entrepreneurs.
Ray Kroc started McDonald’s when he was in his fifties. Heck, I’m thinking I might need to start thinking about opening a fast food chain as retirement hobby! These multi-billion dollar companies are the cream of the crop for senior citizen entrepreneurial skill, but not all senior citizens do that. It is fun though to research those companies and see the ages of the people who worked tirelessly to get them up off the ground.
Starting a Business as a Senior Citizen
The consensus and the more modern idea is that “You’re old now, it’s time to start taking it easy, to relax, and to just chill out okay?” Well, I don’t know about you but that sounds pretty unpleasant to me. I think that sounds pretty unpleasant to a lot of people actually. I think a lot of people really do reject that idea inherently. The problem is, that it is most definitely the status quo that we are fed in this nation. When you get to a certain age, it’s time to retire and to do something different with your life. Oh, give me a break!
I can think off the top of my head several good reasons why you most definitely should not just, “Take a break” and go into the boredom that is retirement:
- You have a grandiose amount of experience on your side. You know all this mistakes the millennial entrepreneurs are making while they’re trying to get into business in their twenties? You could avoid all of that if you wanted too, and you should too! You have experience on your side, and that experience means something.
- You probably have the capital. If you worked your entire life like most retirees, you probably have some capital tucked away that you could use to get a business idea going. And why not too?
- A successful business is carried forward with diligence, persistence, passion, belief, and reliable, regular hard work. These are all things that second nature to senior citizens. You can apply these to the marketplace and get an edge on the field where others might be a little more willy-nilly and perhaps a bit more flip-floppy.
- You’ve seen what doesn’t work, and you know what does work. You’ve already made lots of mistakes and had lots of victories in your life, so now is the time to apply that knowledge and that experience to your life and make a successful go of it in the business world! It will pay off well for you surely because you already know what to expect, what to do, and what to avoid.
- You probably have a pretty well worked out connection system and network with people. From your career and various jobs, you probably know people who could help hook you up with other people that can help you expand your job. Odds are, you know all of this already, and just have to reach out and get the conversations started.
I would love to see more seniors in the marketplace. They bring greatness to the table!