Are you a business owner?

Are you a business owner?

Or do you have a job by another name?

An interesting question and subject. By definition, an entrepreneur doesn’t have to be a business owner. Equally, a business owner isn’t necessarily an entrepreneur.

I would look at this in a slightly different way. I would ask, does the individual own a business or do they have a job? Many people evolve their talent/trade/skill into an entity, e.g. a limited company. But often, this just means they have a redefined job; their presence is required all the time, if they were away for 6 weeks it would fail. Many small limited companies like this are started to manage risk, or for tax reasons, and occasionally even for vanity.

A smaller group of people create a business. The distinguishing definition for me is that a business can succeed when the owner is away; the team (be they directly or indirectly employed) have the ability and authority to run things.

When you’ve got a business as defined above, it becomes scalable. The owner can devote time to growing the business with a considered and viable strategy.

Conversely, if the owner of the business just has a job by another name, they will be at the beck and call of their customers. They are likely not to have control of their time or direction. In my experience, a more worrying aspect of this type of business is that a lot of the conversation ends up around price. This then moves to lower margins and a circle of chasing jobs with reducing margins.

I am a partner at Succession Plus. We are specialists in providing proactive, focused and strategic advice for SME owners to help them manage strategic Business Succession and Exit Planning. I am enjoying a career that has embraced product and service businesses at all stages of their journey. I have worked in technology, telecoms, consumer electronics, payments, media, and publishing.

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