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Are you Entrepreneurial or an Entrepreneur?

There’s a big difference…which I have come to understand…the hard way!

I don’t believe you’re truly an entrepreneur if you start a business and personally work your tail off. I did that. I know. I don’t want to take away from your success or imply that you’re not accomplishing something. You are. My point is that you’re entrepreneurial, but you’ve not achieved entrepreneur status.

An entrepreneur combines resources such as people, technology, and capital to bring about explosive results.

I recently had a call with a co-owner of a service-based business. He and his associates left big accounting firms to go it on their own. They’re positioning their services in the market and are working feverishly to build their brand and book of business. They don’t want to work for others. They believe they can do it better. They’re contemplating raising capital to fund expansion. They’re entrepreneurial. Are they entrepreneurs?

When you look at how they work, how they interact with colleagues and clients, and how they use technology, they’re not doing things much differently than their former employers. Yes, the cost structure allows them to compete more effectively on price; size and structure enable them to quickly adapt to market trends. But fundamentally, they rely on the individual contributions of their founders, their expertise, and work ethic. At the end of the day, the day ends. Founders need to sleep and spend time with their families and friends.

Will their venture succeed? I expect so. Will the individuals realize their entrepreneurial goals? Maybe. Will they achieve entrepreneurship? Not unless they start acting like entrepreneurs.

You can work hard, or you can work smart. Working smart requires the willingness to take risks. Try new technologies. Test limits other than your own!

Don’t waste precious days and years running on a treadmill of your own design. Ultimately, it’s no better than your previous employer’s treadmill. If you want to build something bigger than yourself, make the tough decisions now.

Be that entrepreneur you know you are!