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Are You a Small-Business Owner or an Entrepreneur? The Difference Is Important. Understanding your role can shape how your business grows and evolves.

By Melanie Spring Edited by Dan Bova

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

It's National Small Business Week. Hooray! Small businesses are the backbone of this country. They create jobs, come up with new ways of doing old things, and help keep money in the local community. Without small businesses, we'd be in a bigger economic mess.

Among those of us with small businesses, there's confusion between the terms Small-Business Owner and Entrepreneur. Both can have small businesses, but they have different styles of leadership and thoughts on running their business. One is not better than the other, they're just different. How do you fit in to these 4 scenarios?

Small-business owners have a great idea.
They solve a problem in their community. They know their business and target audience. They know what will make their customers happy. They serve their customers.

Entrepreneurs have big ideas.
They dream big. They think big. They come up with ideas that haven't been tested, diagnosed, or worked through. A lot of times they don't even know if their ideas are possible, which gets them even more excited.

Small-business owners hold steady.
They like to know what's coming next and where it's coming from. They make calculated decisions where the outcome is clear. The result may not be huge, but it will typically keep them moving forward.

Entrepreneurs love risk.
They step out on a ledge more often than not. They jump in with both feet knowing that if they put in their full effort, the risk will be worth it more often than not.

Small-business owners think about the things they need to finish this week.
They have daily and weekly to do lists. They manage employees, work with customers, network with new customers, and keep everything rocking and rolling.

Entrepreneurs are thinking ahead six months.
While their team is thinking about what they're doing that week, they tend to skip the now and focus on the future of the company. They have people to manage the business, and if they don't, they soon will.

Small-businesses owners are sentimental with their businesses.
They never plan on selling or handing their business off to someone else unless it's family. They like making the decisions and running the day-to-day.

Entrepreneurs focus on scaling.
They want to grow and grow they will. Although they may not focus on selling the business, they set it up to run without them. They surround themselves with experts while they end up being the rainmaker.

America needs small-business owners to hold the economy and entrepreneurs to propel it forward. One isn't better than the other. But the question needs to be asked: Are you a small-business owner or an entrepreneur?

Melanie Spring

Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina

As the Chief Inspiration Officer of Sisarina, a D.C.-based branding firm, Spring built her business with a strong content marketing strategy. With an innate sense for social media, connecting with her customers, and building a culture around her brand, she teaches businesses and non-profits how to rock their brand. She also recently toured the U.S. on the Live Your Brand Tour collecting stories from businesses living their brand.

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