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Very interesting question for an article title I guess but the reason for me is not farfetched. Why do we have few world-class entrepreneurship ventures that have succeeded and continue to succeed while we have so many business ventures that fail and continue to fail?

This question personally got me thinking and I discovered that for a long time, a lot of individuals, organizations, institutions, and even nations have inaccurately mixed the concepts, models, principles, and practices of Business and Entrepreneurship.

This article seeks to shed some light on how an Entrepreneurship undertaking is different from a Business undertaking. The mindset, attitudes, ideology, and capacity for value creation and execution in both are clearly divergent.

In my opinion, the life of an entrepreneur is tough and often hit by roadblocks. Like it or not, building your own empire from scratch takes every bit of your heart, soul, blood, energy, and sweat. This is because the entrepreneur oftentimes is implementing Imagination and charting a new course to the market.

On the other hand, the life of a businessman/woman is no doubt tough but more routine-driven and revolves around day-to-day activities and profit margins. This is because oftentimes, the roadmap of the business idea and structure has already been consolidated. It has to do with sticking to a script written by the pioneers of such a business as well as common practices over time.

Entrepreneurship is much broader in outlook, scope, dynamics, and even reward systems. In fact, Business is embedded in Entrepreneurship as the transactional component.

Entrepreneurship is about the leadership of an industry or sector while Business is about competing in an industry or sector.

Individuals who engage in the business call themselves ‘Entrepreneurs’ while in reality, they are simply traders who simply exchange their products or services for payment. Their products or services have no deeper ideological foundation and future whatsoever. They are simply in business to make money, short and simple.

A businessman walks on the defined path, but an entrepreneur believes in making his own path, which becomes a guideline for other businessmen. Most people have a misconception that the terms businessman and entrepreneur, carry the same meaning, and as a result, use them interchangeably.

A businessman is a person who runs the business, undertaking an unoriginal business idea.  On the contrary, an entrepreneur is someone who first initiates a product or business idea and thus the leader of that in the market.

Yes, in the long run, an entrepreneur becomes a businessman, but there is a difference. Even if both terms sound the same for a layman, but there is a fine line between the two, in the sense that, an entrepreneur is always a market leader whereas a businessman is a market player.

My humble submission is that Entrepreneurship is future-centric while Business is present-centric. This is because Entrepreneurs create a need and satisfy it while Business people look for a need and satisfy it.

Let me give a brief analogy of Business being present-centric:

Mr. Anderson driving through a new community settlement and noticed that there is no grocery store and residents of that community had to always go to another part of town to purchase their groceries. He noticed this gap and decided to establish a grocery store for that community. No doubt it is a smart move and equal to brisk business.

The second analogy of Entrepreneurship being future-centric is:

Mr. Peter on the other hand desires to float a chain of grocery stores across ten (10) different communities. However, he took out time to thoroughly imagine and engage in Critical, Creative, Strategic and Trans-generational Thinking of the venture before establishing a grocery store in one community as the pilot with nine more communities in the works.

From the above analogy, who do you think is better positioned for sustainability and success? Your guess is as good as mine.

Mr. Anderson clearly did not take out time to chart a clear course and destination for the short, medium and long-term future of the venture. This is why a venture like Mr. Peter’s will easily disrupt and displace his in no time. Mr. Peter is even working towards the venture outliving him by engaging in transgenerational Thinking, is that not phenomenal? This was how brands like Coca-Cola came into existence and are still growing strong though the founding fathers are long gone.

Entrepreneurs go into the future using imagination to create, design and develop their value. They also craft the big picture and destination of their value. They are just like Martin Luther King who said “I have a dream”. However, they go beyond dreams to see, touch, feel and taste all their value is going to be in the present and future in their Image Nation popularly called ‘Imagination’.

It is after this process that they now come back to the present and get their hands dirty with work to implement their value in form of the products or services they envisioned.

Take for instance, Bill Gates, the Founder of Microsoft. He is a classic exemplar and embodiment of the form and essence of Entrepreneurship. He had a grand vision of what Microsoft was going to be before he set to work. He could only have gone to through the process of Imagination, Thinking as well as getting his hand dirty with a lot of work to achieve what he has so far. I personally think that he has always had leadership and dominance in his mind not competition. He actually created a need and satisfied that need with a solution. We all know the success Microsoft achieved and also the fact that he is not still resting on his past accolades and ideas.

This approach requires two (2) special capital input apart from the usual factors of production like labour, land, money etc.

People hardly know about not to even talk of deploying these particular factors of production: Thinking and Imagination. For more on Thinking and Imagination, watch out for the book Thinking Field Trilogy by Victor Prince Dickson.

Thinking and Imagination is very crucial to the Entrepreneurship process and success. In fact, you require both before any other factor of production. They are the foundation for success or failure however you go about it. I have summarized this point with the simple calculation below:

Good Thinking + Right Imagination = Entrepreneurship Success

Poor Thinking + No Imagination = Business Failure

Poor Thinking and No Imagination is why the life span of a lot of businesses hardly go beyond past five years because whatever the opportunity or potential the business was anchored on was but a delusion. This is aside from the fact that without good Thinking and the right Imagination, there would be no room for the venture to even evolve along with disruptions and innovations that are guaranteed to always occur.

We live in a VUCA world that always has to be navigated with intelligence, innovation and improvement every step of the way. There is no room for products or services that don’t Metamorphose, Transform,are Agile as well as stand the test of Time.

This is why competiveness not competition should be the mindset of serious entrepreneurs. Real Entrepreneurship is about winning and leading across board despite disruptions and innovations while Business is about competing and struggling to survive in a very tough and saturated landscape.

Business inclined individuals just look at their immediate environment and seek to add value to existing needs and problems. They don’t tap into the power of imagination first before launching a venture. This is why they fail because there is no depth whatsoever in value conceptualization and execution.

The business currency of trade and value is here today, gone tomorrow while the currency and value of trade for the entrepreneur is here today and available in the future.

In the world today and even the future to come, Entrepreneurship will always be a bridge between what exists and what is yet to exist while Business will always be a smokescreen for the present when it comes to value creation and offering. To truly understand Entrepreneurship, I highly recommend you enrol for this game-changing course at Skillcomvalley: Mastering Entrepreneurship using the Entrepreneurship Crib Sheet (ECS)

However, you have to decide if you want to be a bridge that stands the test of time or you want to be a smokescreen that fades away in no time. The choice is yours. Two things you need to do in order to become a bridge (entrepreneur)

  1. You need to first ‘Think’ and ‘Imagine’ your value today and project it’s future.
  2. Use step one as the primary and foundational factor of production before money, labour and manpower for venture execution.

I would love your feedback simply reach out to maxwellyekaghe@gmail.com

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