The entrepreneur and the businessman

by Ashvini on January 17, 2012 · 13 comments

in Entrepreneurship

Is there a line where someone stops being an entrepreneur and start being a businessman? Can a businessman be an entrepreneur or vice versa?

The answer to is that business and entrepreneurship probably have an overlap. A businessman can be an entrepreneur and entrepreneur be a businessman. First let us look at differences though.

An entrepreneur is passionate about something that he wants to create. He for example,

  1. creates a new product
  2. creates a new process (for example new way of doing old things)
  3. Improve existing process( by adding some “new” factor to it).

The entrepreneur first thinks about his creation like an artist who creates the painting first. Selling comes later. Sometime the entrepreneur really does not want to be involved in selling. He is only interested in creating new things.

On the other hand, the businessman wants to leverage what has been created. He is not looking to creating great art or the next big thing. He wants to know if his business will survive the next day or not . He has a hawk eye for sales. He is worried about finance and marketing.

It leads us to two questions

  1. When does one becomes another?(entrepreneur to businessman or vice versa)
  2. Is it even necessary to be both?

When does one becomes another?

The entrepreneur needs to think like a businessmen. He needs to determine how and where to sell his products. He also needs to create business plan, manage his enterprise and survive financially. He needs to think like business, if he wants his venture to become a successful business one day.

A businessman needs to become an entrepreneur if he desires to improve his profits by employing new methods or new products. He may improve his business by using social media for example in innovative ways.

Is it even necessary to be both?

Yes, of course. Without the spirit of entrepreneurship. the business may remain a business. As soon as competition arrives, business will need to evolve. It will need to develop new ways of working.

On the other hand, without being business like, an entrepreneur will lose his focus and probably will find it difficult to survive. He needs business skills to sell his product otherwise it will almost become like unsold art.

Both skills are necessary and have a certain overlap .

About The Author

{ 12 comments… read them below or add one }

Sharif March 13, 2013 at 2:02 pm

Hi Ashvini, just found your blog and I am particularly interested in this issue of the difference between entrepreneur and businessman. My question is are the arguments you put forth being backed by academic studies or scholarly works? If they are I would appreciate it if you could let me know the sources.

Thank you.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena March 21, 2013 at 7:23 pm

Hi Sharif,

No, they are not backed by any academic research. They are purely my thoughts out of experience.


Rosendahl Sukki February 8, 2012 at 11:47 am

For me businessman man is much doing business sometime businessman are also planning not only the entrepreneur.


Aswani January 26, 2012 at 12:40 am

Thanks for sharing this useful insight. Even I had doubted these two terminologies in recent times. Your post has made me understand this better. Now, I am feeling like being an entrepreneur ;-)


Bryce Christiansen January 19, 2012 at 2:43 am

Hi Ashvini,

I love the point you make. I think that line between business man and entrepreneur gets crossed a lot.

I think entrepreneurship is the next level of a businessman. At that point, they aren’t thinking of just how they contribute to a business, but what needs to happen to make a business run. It’s like physically stepping outside of the box and looking at all the pieces that make it fit.

Great article.



Radu January 18, 2012 at 10:30 pm

“Yes, of course. Without the spirit of entrepreneurship. the business may remain a business. As soon as competition arrives, business will need to evolve. It will need to develop new ways of working. ”

Indeed, you need to be both of them in order to success as the entrepreneur is the “creator, builder, whatever” and the business man is the seller ( the money maker).


Chrysta Bairre January 18, 2012 at 10:08 am

I love the great insights you’ve shared here on the difference between entrepreneurs and businessmen! You’ve described it perfectly!

A few years ago I attended an entrepreneur workshop and one of the points made in the class was the difference between the ideas and innovation of the entrepreneur and the business planning of the businessman.

The workshop suggested that not everyone wants to be both, but we must consider both if we wanted to be successful in business. If we feel ill-equipped to fill both roles, we can seek out a business partner or hire a consultant to do one or the other.

Have a grateful day!



Ashvini Kumar Saxena January 18, 2012 at 11:50 pm

Hi Chrysta,
You summarized it well. To be successful we need the spirit of an entrepreneur and acumen of a businessman. With the right mix, we can be successful. Its a good idea to have a mentor ( a partner) who can help us out in areas we are not good at .

Thanks for your comment and have a great day :)


Adrienne January 17, 2012 at 10:49 pm

As I was reading I started to think okay now, I believe I’m both Ashvini. I never even thought of myself as an entrepreneur because I didn’t actually have a passion to create something new and share it with the world. I just wanted to do something for myself away from what I had been doing and make it my own.

It’s now turned into a business so now I understand where the passion is born. I guess you could say I’m creating something new and it’s been so exciting.

I guess I saw a new way of looking at things Ashvini so thank you for that.


Ashvini Kumar Saxena January 18, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Hi Adrienne,

You are an entrepreneur and you did not know it ( just like super heroes :) ). I guess anything that you design ( your courses, your blogging methods, your blog itself) probably has either not been done before or at least not done in your format, suffices you to be called an entrepreneur.
But you were a businesswoman too because you could sell it to your audience.
The method and the products were unique too. That is what make you an entrepreneur.

Have a great day and thanks for your comments :)


Carolyn@The Wonder of Tech January 17, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Very interesting thoughts, Ashvini. Having been in the business world and known entrepreneurs well, I completely agree there is a big difference between the two. I think an entrepreneur has to be a businessman, but a businessman doesn’t need to be an entrepreneur, though, as you point out, will do better if he has the entrepreneurial spirit.

My best friend is an entrepreneur and she comes from a family of entrepreneurs. She definitely looks at problems differently from others and is a great source for innovative new ideas. She has given me a great respect and appreciation for entrepreneurs over the many years I have known her.

Ashvini, do you think some people are instinctively entrepreneurs? Can you train someone to be an entrepreneur who doesn’t naturally think that way? I’m very interested to know your thoughts on this. :-)


Ashvini Kumar Saxena January 18, 2012 at 11:41 pm

Hi Carolyn,

Yes, the entrepreneurs do look at the problems in a different way. They really carry a lot of enthusiasm around them.

In my opinion, there are some people who have a knack for being entrepreneur. They are instinctively good at doing particular activities just as all talented people are in their own fields.

However I think we all have a little streak of entrepreneurship in us for e.g. when we thinking about improving certain process at our workplace. Often we do not get those opportunities to make the changes we want. In my opinion, it all starts with getting the hands dirty and learning swimming actually in the swimming pool. So yes with time we can train people to become entrepreneurs. It would be good to have a mentor though at the start so that we don’t make the most common mistakes.

Glad that you liked my ideas :). Have a great day.


Leave a Comment

{ 1 trackback }

Previous post:

Next post: