Are You an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner?

Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Is there a difference, and does it matter?

There is a difference, and it’s easy to confuse the two or use the two terms interchangeably. A Small Business Owner owns their own business, but also actively participates in that business. Often the Small Business Owner is critical to the ongoing success of the company. Without him or her, the business either does not exist (i.e. medical, legal, accounting, consulting, freelancing) or would suffer greatly in the owner’s absence for any period of time.

We often use the term “Solopreneur” to refer to the individual practitioner who is their own boss but must personally deliver a service or create a product for their business to generate revenue. While this may certainly be better than working for someone else, it’s still about trading time for money – and time is our most limited resource.

Whether you are a Solopreneur or a Small Business Owner, you likely own a business that depends primarily on you. Perhaps the business is run by you and a couple of other founders. The point is, only a few people know and can execute on the secret recipe at the foundation of your business. And those key people must be present for the business to operate. An Entrepreneur instead builds a business and supporting systems that are independent from the founder. The founder may well be an integral (or exclusive) part of the businesses initially, but the goal is always to grow the business to the point where the owner does not have to be involved in day-to-day operations. When you build a business that continues to generate revenues in your absence, then you have created a truly leveraged model and can call yourself an Entrepreneur.

Many of us start as Small Business Owners, enjoy success, and grow our companies. We may then move on to creating a larger business that does not require us to be present, and we graduate to the level of Entrepreneurship. If we repeat this multiple times, then we may call ourselves Serial Entrepreneurs.

“Entrepreneurship is the pursuit of opportunity without regard to resources currently controlled.”
Howard Stevenson, Harvard Business School Professor.

You may not be clear at the start as to which one you want to grow up to be, an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner. But by asking yourself a series of hard questions, and honestly assessing your true desires, you are more likely to start a business that suits you best. And it’s certainly acceptable if you want to be Small Business Owner… we are not saying that’s a bad thing. But it’s important for you to begin understanding the difference between the two as it may impact the type of business you build and how you plan to develop it.

It’s also important to avoid creating another low-paying harder-working “job”, like the one you may already have! Michael Gerber explains this situation best in his seminal book “The E-Myth”. This book is a must read for small business owners, with one of its major themes being the difference between working “in” your business (you make the pies) versus working “on” your business (others make the pies following your recipe and systems).

As you prepare to become your own boss, or if you have already started a small business, it’s important to keep your long-term vision in mind. Doing so will help you determine the type of business you start and build, helping ensure that you achieve your definition of success.

Do you want to be an Entrepreneur or a Small Business Owner? Here are some questions to ask to help you determine want you really want:

  1. Do you want to own just one or two locations (i.e. one or two franchise units, or your own practice) or do you want to create something bigger with multiple locations and perhaps grow internationally (i.e. offer franchises and hire others to run the business)?
  2. Do you want to work in the business (i.e. make the donuts) or do you want to have someone else manage the day-to-day operations (i.e. someone else makes the donuts following your instructions)?

  3. Are you looking for a job or are you looking to create a self-managing company (a business that does not rely on your day-to-day presence for success)?
  4. Do you prefer to create or do you enjoy executing?
  5. Do you envision creating multiple different businesses across multiple industries?
  6. Are you able to let go of all of the details, or are you a micro-manager?
  7. Are you the only person who can deliver your service or product, or can you teach others how to do it?
  8. Is your goal to work hard until a certain age and then retire, or continue creating and leading your businesses until you are no longer mentally capable?
  9. Can you sell your business as it currently operates and without you having to continue being part of it?

Are You in the Right Business for You?

Do you love going into your business every morning and spending time with your clients?

This may seem a strange question to ask. If you know your life purpose, you will find the answer comes easily. Your business will become your drug initially and maybe continue to be for a very long time. So, we aware of the sacrifices that you may have to make in being a business owner.

I often wonder if solo or micro business people really know if they are in the right business or not. I do believe that if you know your WHY (your purpose) you will know if you are in the right place for you and your growth. Being in business is not something that you can do half-heartedly. It needs to be something that you want so badly that you will do whatever to make it work.

All too often I meet with people and clients who really have not thought about their WHY or the Vision and Mission of their business. To get real clarity you need to firstly know your ‘why’ for your life and only then can you really be aware if the vision is correct for you and your future.

To be in business on your own you need to be an entrepreneur who has a dream to create something extraordinary. You have to be prepared to go to whatever lengths to make sure it happens, understanding that initially there may be no money, long hours and ups and downs. It takes COURAGE to be in your own business, especially in the early days.

Firstly, ask yourself why you are in business? What is your reason? It is because you love what it is or are you there purely to make money?Choosing the correct business is important. We are all different so there is no one size fits all. Ask yourself what type of business attracts you? If you understand who you are and where your innate gifts are you will find it easy to know the type of business that suits you best.

Are you a people person or someone who likes to be behind closed doors? Once you understand this part of your personality and what it is that you love to do, then, and only then, will you know who you need to put around you to support you to grow your vision.

Knowing the industry you wish to be part of is important as well as understanding the target/ customer market that suits your service or product. The demographics are important too, for example gender, age, background, knowledge etc. Having an idea of what you want in the way of size and of staffing or if you want to do it alone needs to be considered too.

Is your business to be a quick get in and get out type of business or a hobby type business? Do you know how much you want to earn? Have you considered an Exit plan for the future also? All important questions initially.

It is also a good idea to find out what your customers/clients want that they are not getting elsewhere. What can you create that will fill the need? How can you solve their problems? What is their greatest criticism of where the marketplace is letting them down or not meeting the demand?

Has your business come from a hobby or personal interest that has heart and mind in it? Or, is it what you have been trained to do and can’t think of anything else that would suit you? Do you love what you are doing now and is it what gets you out of bed in the morning?

Is your business home-based or needing to have it’s own premises as it grows? What are you looking to create size-wise in the future? Are you considering an international, national or city business?

Is your business a service or product orientated business? This will make a difference into outlay too. A service business can be run as a home-based business without costly inventor, theft problems, product spoilage or premises.

The opportunities the internet gives us today to search, profile and gather information that will support one to create a good business is outstanding. There is so much support and knowledge that has no cost to it to work out how and what you want your business to look like. So do your research and be discerning with what you find out and learn. Find people who you can trust to discuss your ideas with who will help support you and your business to move forward.

We often have great ideas with a sound theory when in reality it just won’t or can’t work. It may be lacking skills or certain personality types, so make sure you reduce all the risk possible before you get too deep into your business creation. Make sure that you do your market research and that there are people out there wanting what you are creating! To own and run a business that will be successful takes an enormous effort. You must be willing to work the long hours, invest everything you have financially as well as physically in the dream to bring it to fruition. You need to commit and listen only to the people who you know are able to give good sound advice. Family and friends are often not the right people to do this as they will say what they can to protect you. Not everyone is an entrepreneur. Many people I come across are really the technician and are without the personality or management skills necessary to be successful long-term.

I have found that by self-understanding both personality and thinking wise you will make many less mistakes and be more successful. I then come to the question of what is SUCCESS to you as the business owner? This can vary dependent on what you want from your life, your experience, your contacts and how much you want to earn from your hard work.

Understanding your WHY for being in business in the first place is what will be the maker or breaker of your business in the long-run.

Enjoy the process and ASK for help and support whenever you can.

Retro Vacationing in the Great Midwest Dustbowl Recession of 2012

With recently financial difficulties Nationwide, Many Americans (myself included), have found it difficult to go anywhere and do anything. Let’s face it, without a job, you can’t even afford the overpriced gasoline to go anywhere-much less, do anything.

I did manage to find a few gems that I would like to pass along, that may be an affordable break from the awful conditions that we are all experiencing. Chiefly, the relentless 110 degree Midwest temperatures and the lack of financial ability.

I have a family of 4; which consists of one boy (age 5), and one girl (age 12). We reside in the Greater Louisville Kentucky/Southern Indiana area; “Pert Near the middle of the Great Midwest Dustbowl”.

It has been my family’s long goal to go to Disneyland, The Smithsonian, The Grand Canyon, and well you get the idea. Our finances have gone from Bad to worse over the years, making it difficult to do anything. Employers are offering lesser salaries; while prices are still going up. I guess, I am probably preaching to the choir, so I will get on with the gist of my article.

Some folks view that vacations are a waste of money and a poor investment. I believe that vacations are an investment in a family’s memories. You should do your level best, to provide at least some form of morale boosting recreation, especially in these trying times.

I wanted to give my family a Happy July 4th this year. My larger extended Family wasn’t planning anything reunion related; which would have consisted of back-yard fireworks and burgers anyway. So, it was my chance to do something different.

I decided to take my family to Deam’s Lake for the 4th; for a day of hiking, fishing, lake swimming, watermelon and yeah the same burgers. I invited along my Dad’s family and a family friend. Park admission is $5.00 per car-load. Everything else we brought with us, except in that there was no hand-soap in the rest-rooms. I had to pay $2.50, for a small size pump that normally would have cost $1.25, but that was all.

We found a great place near the lake with shade trees and picnic tables and a grill, all for our $5.00 admission (for the whole car-load)! I had spent some time there as a boy with my family. I remember when the open grass was full of bikini clad women working on their tans, when I was about 7 or 8 yrs old in 1970 something.

My uncle, who shall remain nameless, was 5 years older than me. He used to have me chase him with a bucket of water. The goal was to miss him, and hit the young ladies with the water so, that they would jump up, and with their tops un-done for tan line issues; they would expose heavenly morsels to sunlight-or something of the sort. So, the amount and type of folks at the lake are forever burned in my memoirs.

I later spent time there as a 12 year old Boy Scout, and then again as a 1980s teenager with my Pals from High School. During my teen years, I can assure you that I noticed the young ladies that were there. Not quite as many as age 8, but it was about quality, not quantity.

I noticed something unusual, about our 2012 July 4th. First off, there were no sun-bathers at all. The open grass was a dessert wasteland. The type of folks there was different as well. The amount of Hispanics was overwhelming. I minored in Spanish in college, and like the culture, Food and Sangria very much. While there were a few Senoritas there that were strikingly attractive; I couldn’t help but wonder if Arizona had lost, it’s border battle.

All kidding aside, the Caucasian population doesn’t go outdoors anymore. And when they do, they shouldn’t be wearing Bikinis. It appeared that my red bandana and I had time travelled back-all alone.

My kids had an absolute blast. My 5 year old led us on an adventure hike. My daughter caught a fish. We all swam in the lake, and no one drowned. We ate watermelon and had a very “Retro” July 4th that will be emblazoned in the minds for eternity.

I strongly suggest getting your family to the lake, or “A Lake” in the near future. The physical activity will do your family well in the waistline, and the close knit morale that comes from being a “Shope” or a “Thomas” or a Whatever you are, will be priceless.

Another Retro alternative for “The Great Midwest Dustbowl of 2012” was a personal favorite of mine… King’s Island.

The park opened in 1970. That’s me with my Mother in about 1973 or 1974, I am guessing 5 years old. Yes, I am sporting “Herb Tarlic” pants and a Bowl-cut, Mom was as beautiful as ever, may she rest in piece (Don’t Smoke).

At any rate, I remember the park had the most wonderful shops, with Family Crests and knick-knacks that you couldn’t find anywhere else. I remember that the flowers were always beautiful and thick everywhere impatiens galore. You used to be able to play in the fountains at the front entrance.

I expected the park to me more packed than it was, especially with the closing of 6 Flags over Kentucky Kingdom, just 90 minutes away. There was a decent turn out, however there was a break in the heat from 105 degree temperatures down to a more comfortable 88 degrees on the day that we went.

The flowers aren’t quite as impressive as they used to be, and the fountain is now fenced off; but they have added a new water park in 1989 now called Soak City. I haven’t been to it since 1993 or so, and it hasn’t changed much, except for some of the names. Soak City is triple the fountain fun and is included with park admission for free. You can even ride the train to it.

The park has dozens of roller coasters, and the old Hannah Barbara land is now “Planet Snoopy”. Since, I’m another “Joe Cool”, I’m good with most of the changes, except for the antique cars; which are now a tombstone in the graveyard of dead rides-literally they have a graveyard! My Antique cars are now a smoking park, where you can apparently walk your smoker (again-Don’t Smoke).

My family and I decided to go, and try not to spend a dime in the park. Except for admission (we got free media passes). General park admission costs $36.99 per person.

We brought in a bottle of water each, with generic propel fitness packet for electrolytes and a granola bar-non chocolate “Retro” type. We got to the park at opening 10am. The kids were wide-eyed. They were intimidated by many rides, but soon began having a blast.

Most of the rides are included with park admission, and free. We did not purchase fast line cutting passes, and avoided all shops and pay games.

We had a blast in Planet Snoopy. We shot Zombies in the Haunted Hill, and did not pay $8.99 for our picture. We also, did not pay $8.99 for an Icee/Slurpy frozen drink. We ate our granola bar and drank our fitness water, and spent nothing. We had a small backpack to put our drinks, granola bars and camera in. This is necessary for some rides, that ask-do you have any fluids with you.

We got our hand stamped, and ate lunch in the car. We had packet a cooler with sandwich fixins, Veggi sticks and drinks waiting for us. We did not spend $29.99 for 1 pizza.

After lunch, we carried in a second water, packet, and granola bar for another pit stop snack for later in the day. We did not spend $6.00 for popcorn, and $5.00 for a coke.

We did attend a free concert, called of all things, The Retro 1970’s. They played that Funky music White-Boy! Did the Disco Duck, and Freaked-Out to “Freak-Out”. We all thoroughly enjoyed it, and after walking 20 miles through the park, it was a welcome change to sit for 30 minutes in the shade.

The disco ball dancing was in tune with my 1970s expenses. I spent $12.00 to park, and $15.00 for a large locker at soak city, to hold 4 pair of shoes and a bag. I let the kids play 1 game to try to win a 4′ tall red dragon; they spent $1 each-and basically threw those dollar bills away. (stay away from all shops and pay games).

Basically, we spent $29.00 for a family of 4, for a full day of activity, rides, water park fun and even got in a show. Of course the park admission would have cost us $147.69 had I not received my Eagle Eye Productions Freelance Media passes.

We also got drive through on the way home, with a 90+ minute car ride from Ohio at 9pm, it was the only real option. The moral of the story, for under $200.00 you can have a Disney style day trip on a recession budget, and beat the Dustbowl Heat at the same time.

On both occasions, I got to feel like a good parent for taking care of my kids, as best I could, and did not spend a fortune. Their spirits were renewed somewhat, in the midst of “Dust-Bowl fever”.

Latest Technology Gadgets of 2008 – Arghh! I Know ’em

Curtains for 2008 are coming down in few days from now and if you see the developments the years witnessed, for instance the latest technology gadgets of 2008, it had been all complex devices that could perform intensive and incredible tasks. These latest gadgets 2008 are indeed with simple designs and several of them even user friendly, iPhone is one for sure. Most of the so-called latest technology gadgets are uni device multiple task performers. In fact the advent of nanotechnology enabled to device smaller gadgets that perform several functions while being nano in size. So said, it should be admitted that most of the latest electronic gadgets are designed for comfort, safety and weekend entertainment area. Iphone has revolutionized the communication and in fact changed its face and the latest technology gadgets of 2008 has given us the Apple 3G which is the world’s first multi-touch screen gizmondo. Other high-end gadgets include the tablet PCs, electronic medical equipment, Bluetooth calls, mobile entertainment devices, voice commands and visual/audible traffic rerouting as well as complex car systems with GPRSs.

And did I mention about the accelerometer sensor used in the iPhone technology and other high-end handsets? The technology enables a phone to rotate its image automatically when it is turned sideways. Another technological advancement is the ambient light sensor that detects changes in the light conditions and adjusts the display brightness automatically and the proximity sensor senses things that are larger than fingers when they come close and turns off the display in order to save power and accidental key presses.

In the healthcare industry, one of the major developers of latest gadgets in technology in 2008 had been Philips. Cliniscape is used to keep updates of each patient’s health condition by providing uses information of blood containers, medication and others. It is from the Philips and is used as a mobile point of care device in order to access medical applications such as iSite PACS medical image, clinical information Portfolio and information management system. And the latest computer gadgets in the field of education is the XO laptop which can be used at anytime and any place. Another innovation is the TI graphing calculators that can be used to solve complex math-related calculations. These calculators have large 3.5-inch display and more familiar mouse-like controls and spreadsheet capabilities, etc. The MacBook Air is the world’s thinnest laptop is another innovative product and a run away hit during 2008. The laptop is again by the iPhone manufacturers, Apple. The latest auto gadgets include car GPS, Bluetooth car starter, ozone air purifier, Driv-e-mocion and LED rims, etc.