A Business Man: Focuses on numbers, profit, cashflow, deliverables, kpi’s, turnouver, bottom line.
While an Entrepreneur: Focuses on creative marketing, new ideas, building a team, connecting to people, sharing a message
You Should Strive To Be Both
Here are some examples of incredible and famous entrepreneurs that were also excellent business men.
We all know Edison for his inventions. He had over 1000 patents in the US, everything from printing telegraphs, typing wheels, telephones, cameras, phonographs and famously, the lightbulb. However Edison is less known for his acute business sense.
Long before Edison began building the electrical infrastructure of the united states, he sold services to other companies in something now known as research and development.
Edisons companies eventually combined. His businesses of lighting, transportation, industrial products and more, into one company called General Electric.
Now, GE is the only original DOW listed company from 1907 that’s still in existence, 113 years later
This is the power of having businessman traits, and entrepreneurial traits as well.
Henry ford was a classic business man. You may think he invented the ford motor, but in fact he was the inventor of mass production. At the time, only the wealthy could afford motor-cars (As they were called) and Ford wanted to cater to the average American. It was his businessman mindset that allowed him to calculate the numbers of ‘mass production’ and figure out that if he made cars in bulk, using a production line, then he could lower the cost enough to allow the average person to afford a car.
Ford’s entrepreneurial traits followed, with his progressive work policies. He was one of the first big companies to change their work policy to a 40 hour week within 5 working days, without changing wages. Now this work week has become the norm, and cars are everywhere. Henry Ford is a classic example of the perfect balance between businessman and entrepreneur.
I’ll end with one of my favourite businessman entrepreneurs. Sam Walton cleverly built warehouses between his Walmart stores, which fractionally saved on shipping. This businessman thinking allowed him to lower his costs, and pass this saving on to the consumer.
Jeff Besoz of Amazon learned this trick from Sam Walton, and we all know how that turned out.
The entrepreneur in Sam Walton decided that profits weren’t beneficial to him, and instead he wanted to innovate and create the best experience for the customer. He lowered costs, becoming the best in the discount store business, passed all the savings onto the consumer.
He constantly innovated with store layouts and sale tactics to get people to buy more on the way out of the store. He was famously arrested for snooping around a Brazilian superstore. After being bailed out by his family, he told them he was measuring the distances between shelves, so he could better perfect his own stores.
Sam Walton balanced between constantly learning, focusing on the customer, and perfectly managing cashflow and profits. This is the balance between Entrepreneur and Business man.
If you want to be a business owner, you’ll need entrepreneurial traits. And if you want to be an entrepreneur, you’ll need businessman traits. They overlap in so many ways, and the best thing to do is to learn how to do both.
Entrepreneurs take more risks and try new things, while businessmen are risk-averse and like to focus on what currently works. A strong balance between the two is where the magic is made.
The best entrepreneurs are usually the best businessmen, and the best businessmen, are usually the best entrepreneurs.