I keep being asked what I mean by a ‘startup’ business. My first book, “How to Start a Successful Business – the First Time” was about the sole proprietor who had a great idea, had always dreamed of being a business owner and quit a good job to risk everything to go on his own. He’s determined to be independent and like 78% of all the businesses in the US (according to Census.gov), it will start out as a sole proprietorship that will eventually grow into a microbusiness.
Nothing wrong with that, in fact, in British Columbia the numbers are more like 98% of all business is a microbusiness. Often it’s referred to as self-employment because the business owner never progresses past the one-person show and really just creates a job for himself. Again, there is nothing wrong with this approach but is it entrepreneurial?
My second book, due in April, is simply called “Startup”. The simple definition of this startup is an exceptional idea by a Founder with a small team with the intention to grow fast, raise capital and exit in short order with a lot of dough in your pocket. It’s very risky but the rewards may be exceptional. There are a lot more variables that come into play with this startup including the brilliance of the founder/CEO, the innovative idea behind the company and the immediate resources or access to resources to get the business rolling quickly. In my mind both are entrepreneurs but certainly have a different mindset.
I’ve been involved in both; in fact, my business has always been microbusiness. I have brought in other people for startups but the majority of business I have been involved in has been micro in nature. I’ve never been self-employed, meaning in my mind to be content to be a certain size. I’ve always scaled my businesses and rather than bring on lots of employees I’ve relied on contractors as needed.
Which entrepreneur do I like better? The hi-risk startup in by far the most exciting and gives me a buzz. In todays jargon when you say you are an entrepreneur it usually refers to the latter with more buzzwords like Founder and CEO, raising capital and seed rounds. When I started my first business I remember telling my future father-in-law that I was an entrepreneur and he laughed and said, “so you can’t find a job?”
Times have changed!
Also shared on Gary Bizzo's blog.