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December 12, 2005

Small Business vs. Entrepreneurship vs. Lifestyle Business

Peter I. Hupalo has an excellent article on the difference between small business and entrepreneurship. (Thanks BattleMan via Cash Flow Blog.)

I share Peter's perception of the small business label: Mom and Pop living above the store. This is buying yourself a job, and one with a terribly demanding boss at that. Choosing the label entrepreneur is choosing growth. It may be a small business, at least for a while, but entrepreneurs call it "a growing business". When you say "I'm going to run a small business," you're practically guaranteeing it. Forever, or at least until it dies. (Because, if you are not growing, you are shrinking.)

I'm not saying that every restaurant needs to become a chain, or that every bead shop needs to become an arts and crafts supercenter. But every self-described small business owner who is not focused on growth is probably a hobbyist (in it for love, not money), a slave (opens, closes, can't go on vacation), or an impending failure (insert-big-percentage of small businesses fail each year).

Yes, I do believe in lifestyle businesses, but a lifestyle business is just a growing business where the growth supports your lifestyle, whether it is taking time off, traveling where you want, or pursuing your personal passions through the work of the business. Running forever on the small business treadmill isn't a lifestyle, it's a life sentence.

Posted by Bob Pritchett at December 12, 2005 08:47 AM

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