The Difference between a Businessman and Entrepreneur

What is the difference between a businessman and an entrepreneur? Are there really differences between doing business and doing entrepreneurship? We often hear and read these two terms used interchangeably and we often think that they are just two things with the same meaning. When we do business, we can easily call ourselves business persons. Sometimes, we also call ourselves entrepreneurs, thinking that we are into the venture of entrepreneurship. But when can we really call someone a businessman and how can we really identify a person as an entrepreneur? They just seem to be indifferent since they both own a business. Let us further clarify these two things to properly label ourselves or someone if he’s a business or an entrepreneur.

A business can be classified according to ownership structure, such as proprietorship, partnership or corporation. Thus, a businessman can be called as a proprietor, partner or a stockholder. Businesses can also be categorized according to industries, such as trading, servicing and manufacturing. On the other hand, entrepreneurship also comes in different forms. It can be in these revolutionary forms, such as social entrepreneurship, ecopreneurship, technopreneurship and infopreneurship. Thus, an entrepreneur can also be called a social entrepreneur, ecopreneur, technopreneur, or infopreneur.

Just by classifying a businessman and an entrepreneur, you can already have an idea on the distinction of the two. Yes, an entrepreneur is more innovative and revolutionary than the traditional businessman. But this dissimilarity is only one of the many divergences between a business person and an entrepreneur. The following is a list of the differences between a person who is merely doing business and one who is doing entrepreneurship.

Businessman or business person Entrepreneur
1. Starts a business from an existing idea or concept Starts a business from his own unique idea or concept
2. Has many business rivals His business rival is himself
3. Focuses on competition Focuses on cooperation
4. Is always busy on his business “busy-ness” Is only busy in preparing his new enterprise
5. Don’t have enough time for his family and personal life Have a lot of time for his family and personal life
6. His business gives him a living He gives life to his business
7. Traditional Innovative and revolutionary
8. Stays safe Risk taker and accountable
9. Worried Excited
10. Profit oriented People (i.e., employee, customer, public) oriented
11. Has an active income or profit Has a passive income or profit
12. Hire people to increase business productivity Hire people to give them productivity
13. A market player A market leader
14. Has not yet achieved financial freedom Has achieved financial freedom
15. Only gives importance to a part of the business world (atomistic) Gives importance to the business world as a whole (holistic)


From the comparisons above, we can learn that entrepreneurship is not an easy feat compare to merely doing business. We can also realize that an entrepreneur is a business person who has evolved into a more complete person – one that is not simply a business person but a real human being. Being a businessman is good. Being profit oriented, market player, business competitor, traditional, busy and active income earner is not bad since all business owners have been on those stages. Even the successful entrepreneurs, before they succeed, have been into that. It is just that they have taken the right move to evolve into a better and even the best businessmen that they can be. That is why they become not only businessmen, but rightfully they become entrepreneurs. So, how about you? Are you a businessman or an entrepreneur? Are you merely doing business or are you taking it into a higher level, which is called entrepreneurship?

Victorino Abrugar is a retired CPA practitioner, a blogger, speaker, and an entrepreneur. He's the President of Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing company based in the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter at @viclogic.


  1. says

    It is certainly a world of difference between businessman and an entrepreneur. A businessman is driven by desire by making money hence he or she will do anything that makes him money where as an entrepreneur doesn’t. He or she follows what he\she likes and makes a good thing from it. That’s how we started at Bad Boys Bail Bonds. Our bailbonds services isn’t something new but we did it out of wanting to help people not making profit at first. Then we turned it into a business. And we have used some innovative business tactics to get our name out there. Anyway thanks for the post we surly enjoyed it.

  2. says

    Yeah I always pondered the difference between the two. Personally, I prefer the term entrepreneur rather than businessman. To me, when someone calls someone a businessman it just tells me he either runs his own or someone elses business for just to make a buck. He might not even have a passion for that niche or market. Whereas, when the term entrepreneur has a certain ring to it. That ring screams “He took his idea and passionately ran with it!” Ultimately, I think that’s a difference.

  3. says

    It is obvious that you are biased for entrepreneurs. It is easy to be convinced by your definition of the terms businessman and entrepreneurs. You have also given us a very detailed comparison. My only problem is that there are many businesspersons who do not consider themselves entrepreneurs and do not fit to your descriptions. They are creative, innovative, and they find ways to solve the problems of the society. They make things happen.

    The book Good to Great by Jim Collins hghlighted that the executives of 11 great companies they studied value their family and encourages their employees to do the same.

    Also having a passive income is not necessarily true for entrepreneurs. In fact, 99 percent of entrepreneurs fail because they do not know how to run their business. I encourage you to read e-myth revisited. Most entrepreneurs do not understand how difficult it is to run a business as they are busy looking into the accomplishments of their projects.

    As was reading your blog, I observed that you have many ads posted. These ads invite people to click and leave your page. You must be earning a lot of money. I believe that this is how a businessman work. He provides something of value and earn from it.

    In the Philippines, many network marketing “entepreneurs” depend on businessmen for products. They have the same projects as the others (who are practically rivals, right?). They also talk about passive income, but think about it, without the businessmen who own the products that they market they do not have any business at all. The businessmen, it is true, are actively working on their income. When they stop working, the passive income of the network marketing entrepreneurs will stop too.

    It is always best to start with etymology. You can promote entrepreneurs without having to make the businessperson look bad. Come to think about it, the word occupation (what occupies your time) and business (what are you busy about) almost meant the same. The French word entrepreneur (undertaker) suggest that a person is into a project and that occupies his time.

    It is possible that a person’s occupation and business is bring people and products together to make a world a better place. The entrepreneurs project is to make a product that solves a problem to make the world a better place.

    History also have shown us that most businessmen began as entrepreneurs, not the other way. They started from one small project, then they found success, and make themselves busy about duplicating the same results again and again. Other entrepreneurs do not make business out of their products because they are consumed and delighted by undertaking a new project one after another.

    • Vic says

      Hi Jef,
      I’m glad that you have shared your honest thoughts. Also thank you for recommending those great books for small business and entrepreneurs – they are on my list of the top 25 business books to read. However, I think you did not get the point and you failed to connect the essence of this post. Entrepreneurship is an evolving process. We don’t just rely on the published books as you treat them like your life blood. We don’t have any biases for both businessmen and entrepreneurs, as these two should collaborate each other. This post just aim to encourage every business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs to evolve into a real entrepreneur. Anyone can have a consideration… an innovative businessman can choose to not consider himself as an entrepreneur if that is what he believes… but in reality he can fit into the definition of an entrepreneur. You should learn the difference between a common entrepreneur and a real entrepreneur.

      I observe that you are fun of assumptions… as you conclude that this blog is earning a lot of money. The actual income from these ads don’t even compensate a quarter of my precious time spent in providing our readers with FREE information that will help them. Do you see any donation button on this blog? Did you pay any cent just to read any information from this blog? Since this blog is totally free to read. I encourage you to browse our other business and entrepreneurship articles so that you may understand this blog fully.

      I observe that your words are eloquent and flowery, you must be a motivational speaker. But to give you some tip, I admire those speakers who speak with justification and with details. The author of this blog dedicates most of his life in writing and providing free and useful articles to hundreds of thousands of business owners and entrepreneurs worldwide. The author even sacrificed his lucrative employment/job just to have more time in helping people through this blog. As you’re a motivational speaker, I just wished that you don’t destroy the motivation of this blog’s author by considering him a bias and someone who is oriented to advertising profit. This blog is only and currently earning a hundred dollar a month – enough to pay the blog’s bandwidth usage and other expenses to make this blog continuously running and helping people for free. And even if this blog earns a million, we ensure that we earn them through fair practice. This is a business blog anyway, and we also teach how to make money online. How can we teach that if we don’t even make money online? Though, we ensure that our readers can get full information and knowledge here for free and without any obtrusive ads like other sites. If you want to understand more about entrepreneurship, feel free to browse our other entrepreneurial articles. This topic is so long to discuss through commenting. If you want to start a friendly debate we can do that and accommodate at our forum — BusinessForum.Ph. I dropped by at your blog and your comment box does’t accept complaining and criticizing. So I just add some positive post. :)
      Anyway. Good luck and thanks for engaging. I wish you real success!

  4. says

    Hi Vic

    I am a big fan of yours. I enjoy reading your articles… keep it up as it helps millions like me. :) as saying goes “to avoid criticism do nothing”


    • says

      Hi Imtiyaz, thanks for the insight. Your right with that. It’s okay to hear disagreements, but not false judgments. :) BTW, I transferred your URL in your comment name, as it’s our comment policy. I just finished visiting and liking your page. I’m hoping for your real success.

  5. says

    Joseph Schumpeter has the best definition of an entrepreneur. For him an entrepreneur is someone who disrupts economies. In others words, someone who changes the Usual way of doing things.

    To make things simpler, a businessman is someone who is in the usual trade business while an entrepreneur creates disruptions to get into business. So one clear difference is in innovate.

    Jeff Cua

  6. says

    I really appreciate how you differentiate between a businessman and a entrepreneur.

    All the best to your site. Continue posting. We are following.

  7. Bilal says

    Finally, somebody showing some courage and fearlessly telling the world that a BUSINESSMAN is not necessarily an ENTREPRENEUR. Keep up the good work pal.


    Tanx alt now i know wat de difference btn bussnessman and entrepreneur….but to be an entrepreneur is not easy..

  9. Domer says

    Hi!!Thank you..
    It’s help a lot to me
    I consider this a very important
    Knowledge to me its because I’m starting to have a business .I love being an entrepreneur and I want it to happen to me.
    Thank u very much…
    God bless..more power!!!!

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