Entrepreneurs vs. Managers: What’s The Big Difference?

(By Ajaero Tony Martins)

Entrepreneurs are street smarts; they learn everything by trial and error, they learn from their own mistakes and the business mistakes of others. An entrepreneur starts with whatever is on ground and learns the hard way. That’s why most of the successful entrepreneurs of the world are school drop out billionaires. On the other hand, managers are school smarts. They are mainly degree holders, MBAs to be precise. Managers go to school to become professionals; entrepreneurs get their education from the streets.

It’s never my intention to make this article controversial but I could help express my own view after witnessing a heated debate and the subject of the argument was “entrepreneurs vs. managers; which is more important to the process of building a business. Though I am an entrepreneur to the core, it is never my intention to place a kind of supremacy of one over the other; I just want to highlight some fundamental differences between an entrepreneur and a manager and there relevance to the entrepreneurial process.

 “When entrepreneurs and investors come together to pool resources, they form a team. When employees and self employed specialists come together to network, they form a union.” – Robert Kiyosaki

Sometimes, both of them are mistaken as being the same but they are not. Before I proceed, I want stress the point that entrepreneurs and managers are both needed for the growth of any business. One cannot do without the other. Without much ado, below are 12 differences between entrepreneurs and managers.

1. An entrepreneur will perceive an opportunity, assemble a team, locate resources for his new business idea, raise the needed capital and start the business while the manager comes in only after the foundation has been laid and the business established. What this mean in essence is; without entrepreneurs, the managers will have no business to manage.

2. Entrepreneurs are more concerned with the launching and sustainability of a business in the face of uncertainty while managers are more concerned with the effective and efficient operation of an on going business.

3. Managers are business management specialist. They are only focused on managing and growing a business. On the other hand, entrepreneurs are generalist. They need to know a little about everything. An entrepreneur must know a little about product development and design, business law, accounting, communication and public speaking, investing, leadership, business systems, finance and insurance, marketing and sales, raising capital and so on. An entrepreneur’s cup must never be full.

  “A cup that is full is useless.” – Chinese proverb

4. Entrepreneurs are street smarts; they learn everything by trial and error, they learn from their own mistakes and the business mistakes of others. An entrepreneur starts with whatever is on ground and learns the hard way. That’s why most of the successful entrepreneurs of the world are school drop out billionaires. On the other hand, managers are school smartsThey are mainly degree holders, MBAs to be precise. Managers go to school to become professionalsentrepreneurs get their education from the streets.

 “Business and financial intelligence are not picked up within the four walls of school. You pick them up on the streets. In school, you are taught how to manage other people’s money. On the streets, you are taught how to make money.” – Ajaero Tony Martins

5. Financial freedom is the utmost priority of entrepreneurs. Freedom to do what they want, freedom to live the kind of life they love and freedom to make a choice. To managers, security is the utmost priority. Security comes in the form of a steady paycheck, pension, gratuity, pay raises, job titles, promotions, bonuses and entitlements.

6. An entrepreneur owns the business; a manager is simply an employee that works in the entrepreneur’s business. In essence, a manager owns a job. A manager is paid to run the entrepreneur’s business.

7. The reward of entrepreneurs come in the form of capital gains, asset acquisition, cash flow, dividends and excessive cash while the managers reward come in form of salaries, pay offs, promotion, job title, bonus and incentives.

8. Entrepreneurs thrive on risk and uncertainty. To entrepreneurs, risk and uncertainty are part of the game of entrepreneurship; risk is what makes the game exciting. Managers on the other hand are conservative and detest risk; they simply avoid it.

Without the element of uncertainty, the bringing off of even, the greatest business triumph would be dull, routine and eminently unsatisfying.” – J. Paul Getty

You must take risks, both with your own money or with borrowed money. Risk taking is essential to business growth.” – J. Paul Getty

9. Entrepreneurs see mistakes as an avenue to learn something; they learn more from their business mistakes. Managers avoid mistakes because it will cost them their job. Besides; that is why they are being paid, to avoid mistakes. That is where the word “professionalism” comes in.

10. When entrepreneurs come together to pool resources or network, they form a business team but when managers who are usually employees come together, they form a union.

11. Entrepreneurs are primarily motivated by the feeling of building a big business, the cash flow and freedom while managers are motivated by the next paycheck, bonus, incentive, pay off, job title and promotion.

12. Entrepreneurs are committed to the business from its launching till they achieve their goal. Managers on the other hand are committed till the next paycheck; delay or cut their paycheck and they are gone.

 “I’m not afraid of turning 80 and I have lots of things to do. I don’t have time for dying.” – Ingvar Kamprad

As a final note; the successful entrepreneurs and business leaders of the business world are Henry Ford, Andrew Carnegie, Henry Ross Perot, Bill Gates, Oprah Winfrey, Larry Ellison and Aliko Dangote; the richest black man in the world. On the other hand, the renowned corporate managers of the business world are Alfred P. Sloan, Jack Welch and Lee Iacocca.

I hope with these few points; you can now differentiate between an entrepreneur and a manager. So when next see those fast talking CEOs on television, you should know where to place them.

Ajaero Tony Martins is a serial entrepreneur and investor with several successful companies in his portfolio.

 (Source: The Strategicbusinessteam)

“Opinion pieces of this sort published on RISE Networks are those of the original authors and do not in anyway represent the thoughts, beliefs and ideas of RISE Networks.”

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