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 CEO of Optixor, Inc., a digital marketing company based in the Philippines. Follow him on Twitter at @viclogic.