Entrepreneurship & Small Business


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INTRODUCTION to Entrepreneurship

Entrepreneurship basically is a concept through which an individual gets the opportunity to own a business and bring either new products into the market, or look to improve or innovate the existing ones. Today in the world there are a lot of entrepreneurs in different industries and markets. Due to this very reason, business environment, regardless of the type of products and/or services offered, is becoming more and more competitive (Caldwell, 2014). Many authors have gone on to length to say that this factor additionally contributes to people or the general public getting much better goods and thus improving the quality of life that they lead. For economies as well, having entrepreneurs is of great importance, as they help in overall development of the nation.

The present study has been undertaken with a view to provide information and analysis on differences between owners of small business firms and entrepreneurial corporations. There are a lot of distinctions between them, yet in many aspects they are similar to each other. This report is an attempt to shed light on the same. Another part of the report is where a profiling and comparison between two contrasting entrepreneurs – Steve Jobs of Apple and Sir Richard Branson, owner of the Virgin Group has been made.


Business firms are of many types, and for the economy of a region they are of extreme importance, because of fact that they contribute in great numbers to the overall development. Authorities and government of the country must pay a lot of attention to ensure that the business houses get a conducive environment, where not only can they flourish, but also help the society in general (Lloyd and Woodside, 2013). In this regard it can be said that business owners also play a very vital role in such a process. But it is also very much important to note that they are generally of two types – small business owners and 'the entrepreneurs'.

Difference between small business owners and entrepreneurs

There are a lot of differences and distinctions between the two of them. Such owners differ in many terms from one another. One of the major points of comparison between them is that entrepreneurs are characterized as risk takers while owners of business firms are not. It can better be understood through the titles that they get (Marks, 2013). On one hand, entrepreneurs are also known as the individuals who tend to bring innovation and inventive products or goods in the market. But 'owners' do not do so. Herein it may not be wrong to say that this difference arises because of the inherent traits and characteristics that they possess. Entrepreneurs like to do experiments with their surroundings, but 'owners' of business firms are not interested in such activities. It can be explained through an example that Bill Gates is an entrepreneur, because he was one of the first few persons, who looked to bring computers right into homes of normal people and turn it into personal computers (Bolton and Thompson, 2013). He had the vision, an aim in his mind and a passion to make it a reality. While business believe in going about their work and not experimenting with the surroundings. They do not like too many changes. 

There is another point of difference between the two of them as well. It can be understood through fact that entrepreneurs see their company as an asset through which dreams can be realized. They believe that it is something that can be shaped, developed and made market ready. According to them, a company can be sold when it is at the maturity stage and at its peak in terms of performance (Carter and Jones-Evans, 2006). This is the step which has to be carried out, so as to shift their attention towards the next big project. On the other hand owners of business firms are more sentimental to their organization, meaning that there are very less chances that they might look to sell it in the market. They are of the opinion that business is a part of their family, as many a times it has been seen that such firms are the result of a long lineage of history. Main motto of entrepreneurs is to bring revolution in market, process of which may entail that profits may have to be forgone. They give more importance to passion rather than to income and profits. But it is not the case with business owners, as they are more practical in nature and the main purpose of running a business is to make money (Carlad and et. al, 2004).

Similarities between Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners

Many a times it has been seen that people interchangeably use the terms Entrepreneurs and Small Business Owners (SBO's). This at a general level indicates that even after so many differences, there are some common points related to both of them. One of the common point is that sometimes the entrepreneur may want to keep the business or family that he is running in the family itself. This would mean that they might not sell the company no matter how lucrative price or compensation they may be getting for it (Britton, 2007). There are a lot many examples of such persons or individuals in the market. For instance, Mukesh and Anil Ambani, owners of the Reliance Group are some of the world's renowned entrepreneurs, but have chose not to sell their company in the market (Sexton and Upton, 2000). Other than this there are some functions which are important to be carried out, like managing the human resources, developing marketing strategies and implementing them. There is another aspect to it as well which states that entrepreneurs and SBOs are pretty much similar on the platform that they want the needs of customers to be satisfied and thus try to create a stir in the market (Martiono and Barbato, 2003). Both of them try their best so as to be able to stay for a longer term in the industry and also attempt to win trust of the customers and also make a unique image in the market. This very concept can be supported through the example of a not-for profit organization.

These are such organizations whose main motive is to provide the best services to customers or the clients and try to take of their health related problems. This is the place where there is no or very less difference between an entrepreneur and owner of a small business (Cater and et. al, 2006). In this regard it may not be wrong to say that a businessman who owns and runs a firm that takes care of health of the community, for free; and an NGO, headed by an entrepreneur – have the same objective or target that they would want to attain. In contrast to profit based organizations, there is no difference between the two individuals; who head a corporation. This is so mainly because of reason that such firms' agenda or portfolio includes that they not only provide health related services to people, but also work in favor of upliftment of the society and work for the betterment of it (Gaspraski and et. al, 2011). One of the major concepts which is used in here is that both the entrepreneur and business owner has to work for the upliftment and betterment of the overall society. Both of them have to design their products and services in such a manner that they can take care of the people near them and also assist them in providing a healthy and fit lifestyle.

Apart from being the head of not-for profit organization, they also have to put in extra efforts in terms that they would have to analyze and evaluate needs of the customers. This is a work that an individual has to do regardless whether he is an entrepreneur or owner of a small business organization (Bates, 2000). This is the foundation stone on which future of both the product as well as the corporation is dependent upon. They both tend to strive for the same thing, which is to help people and provide them with much effective lifestyle by taking care of the negatives that may be happening around them like some sort of disease or bad effects of a natural disaster. Additionally both of them also have to search and arrange for necessary finances and funds, as it is the only source through which they can plan and carry out the various activities. If the necessary fundings are not arranged for, then there is no way that they can take care of the society that they are operating in (Storey, 2000).

Another element which is very common to both of them is that they have to start with a vision. This is the first step towards establishment of an empire or rather a business organization. Studies, along with many authors have stated that without a clear vision, neither an entrepreneur nor a businessman can start a firm, even if it is at a very small scale (Rauch and Frese, 2007).


Today there are numerous entrepreneurs and business leaders in the world because of which the marketplace has become highly competitive. Two individuals who have revolutionized the industry that they operated in – Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc and Sir Richard Branson – founder and owner of the Virgin Group.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs, the American entrepreneur, was born in 1955 in San Francisco, USA. His journey of becoming an innovator of international stature started when he founded Apple along with his friend and another co-founder Steve Wozniak in garage of his house (Isaacson, 2011). Slowly he and the company began to get recognition as a great organization to work with. The products initially that they offered in market – the circuit boards was the beginning of time, where Steve Jobs and the company made inroads into the computer and technology industry. Many people have recognized him as an individual who thinks of very far ahead and had great ideas. Right from the beginning he had a very clear goal in his mind – to revolutionize the whole computer industry, and bring these machines into every house possible in the country. Though this very idea at that time was considered to be very vague and many even considered to be impossible because of presence of giants such as IBM and Xerox in the market. Steve Jobs wanted Apple to acquire the top spot in this industry and it also to become a giant. By this, it can be seen that Steve Jobs was an individual who not only wanted to be the best, as well as a pioneer. Herein it can be noted that one of the major tasks that Steve Jobs did to make the company a giant of the industry was to envision (Elliott and Simon, 2011). He foresaw the future, which enabled him to go all out for the activities he wanted to do to make the firm industry leader. The event that led to Jobs seeing the dream to establish a company so as to beat industry giant was a result of success they achieved by selling 'blue boxes', a machine through which long distance calling could be made much simpler. 

Apple Computer Company was established in 1976. It was not Jobs who invented the Apple I computer, rather it was Wozniak. But due to vision and determination of Jobs that helped them in selling it and gaining a good reputation in the market. It can be supported through fact that they got good reviews from many of industry experts, like Scott McNealy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems (Blumenthal, 2012). He said that Jobs had been able to do what others could only have dreamed for the industry. Basically what he meant to say was that Jobs together with Wozniak and Ronald Wayne was able to bring computers right into homes of people.

Sir Richard Branson

Another entrepreneur who is world famous and one of the best innovators in his area of expertise is Sir Richard Branson, born in 1950 (Dearlove, 2007). Right from the early age of 16, he has been an entrepreneur, as at that time he started hid first business venture, a magazine. After which there has been no turn around for him. But the real work as entrepreneur started in 1984 when he formed the Virgin Atlantic Airways and Virgin Mobile in 1999. Herein it may not be wrong to say that Richard was an individual who right from a very early age initiated to become an entrepreneur (Jackson, 1998). Many authors and experts have cited that the main reason which contributed to success of Branson was that he always had a vision and wanted to do something that was unique and different. This led him to start The Student magazine when he was 16 years old. The success that he gained in this business led him to start another business. It was related to selling of records at a very cheap price (Fertig, 2013). Due to this reason, he was able to create a stir in the market and make inroads into industry. There are a lot many reasons which have contributed to success of Virgin group and Richard Branson. One major factor is of fact that he started by selling music records at a very low price. But later on he started the airline company under name of Virgin Airlines and telecommunications company in the year 1999. After this there was no looking back for the entrepreneur as he gained immense popularity and went on to become one of the most popular innovator of industries that he operated in. Branson is also known as an individual with image of 'larger than life'. Due to such reasons, he has been a very controversial. He owns a lot many companies under the name of Virgin Group. One of the highlights of this group is the F1 Racing Team (Branson, 2002).

Comparison between the two entrepreneurs

Steve Jobs and Richard Branson are two entrepreneurs who have changed the whole industries that they operated in. Both of them have been identified as persons who brought a revolution in the business world and changed the whole ball game. In this regard it may not be wrong to say that there are a lot of differences and distinctions between the two of them but also some similarities exist (Branson, 2013).

Steve Jobs is accorded for changing the computer industry and that too by a big margin, as he brought computers into homes of the general public. There are a lot many factors which aided him to rise to great heights. One of the main factors is that he envisioned a future which no other person at that time had even thought of. His ability to think far ahead in future also was of great help. On other hand Richard Branson was a born entrepreneur as he started different business ventures right from a very young age (Darling, Gabrielsson and Seristö, 2007). His very first business was that of a student's magazine which brought him a lot of popularity.

There are a lot many factors which set the two entrepreneurs apart from one another. Leadership style is one of them. On one hand, there was Steve Jobs who used to shout at the employees and not give them room through which they can perform the tasks in a much effective manner. Authors and HR experts have cited that his style to lead people was more autocratic in nature. He did not allow the employees to think on their own or take decisions; rather all such power was kept with higher management and himself. There were a lot of bad effects it to the company as many individuals left the organization, some were frustrated and unhappy (Bendisch, Larsen and Trueman, 2013). But main reason as to why he behaved in such a manner can be understood through fact that he always was very particular about tasks that he wanted to do and the dream as well.

In contrast to it, leadership style that Richard Branson had was democratic. Reason behind it being that he treated the employees as assets of the company and aimed to retain them for long term. Through this style he was always available for staff members and listened to ideas and suggestions that they gave (Beverland, 2006). It can be proved through fact that name of his companies was opined one of the early employees of Virgin Group. This style had its own benefits as well, one of them is that members of workforce were allowed time so that they can carry out assignments given to them in an effective manner and thus contribute to organizational goals & targets.

Delegation is another factor that was not common between them. As Steve Jobs did not give the employees with any kind of power to effectively carry out the tasks, neither he delegate or distribute responsibilities between them. There is an instance to it where Steve Jobs used to shout at the employees and did not allow them any kind of free or leisure time. But on other hand, Richard Branson believed in empowering the employees, as he allowed them to make decisions which were in favor of the company. This proved to be very helpful and effective (Bowman and Bowman, 2012).

Steve Jobs, as his former employees and team mates describe that he was never satisfied with anything. He focused a lot on perfection. During the time when iPod was being developed, employees used to find very hard to convince and satisfy Jobs, as he never appreciated how well the efforts were turning into reality (Kubin, 2011). While Richard Branson is the complete opposite of it. He, as recalled by many employees tend to appreciate and acknowledge efforts that people put into completing a task given to them.

Key Similarities between Steve Jobs and Richard Branson

Even though there are a lot many starking differences between Steve Jobs and Richard Branson, both of them, in many areas are similar to one another (Thomas and Wilson, 2009). They both had a dream and did a lot of hard work to achieve them. Revolutionizing the industries is one such area which is common to both of them. Steve Jobs wanted to revolutionize the computer industry, while Richard Branson looked to bring innovations into mobile and also to change the airline market. This fact can supported through fact that Branson in initial phase of his career used to sell records at a very low price which enabled him to do the same for aviation and telecommunications industry as well (Bendisch, Larsen and Trueman, 2013). Similarly, Steve Jobs was looking to make the computers so small that they can be used by normal households as well and not just by big companies. This vision of his, though was very difficult to achieve, but his steely determination and uncompromising attitude helped. While Richard Branson though did not used to pay any attention to perfection, but paid emphasis on making sure that the products are of the best quality and that they able to meet needs and wants of target customers. For both of them, attaining the vision was of utmost importance, as their major focus was on developing ways through which it could be done. Another point which was common to both of them is belief (Fleck, Michel and Zeitoum, 2014). This faith in abilities turned to be the pivoting point which assisted and motivated them to fulfill the dreams.


Entrepreneurship is very important for a region or a country, mainly because of reason that they contribute by a big margin to the economy. Similarly owners of small businesses also play a very crucial role. Present report was divided into two segments – Assignment 1 and Assignment 2. First part of the assignment discussed about differences and similarities between entrepreneurs and small business owners. During the analysis it seen that there are many points that are different and similar. One area that they differ by a big margin is that of ability to take risks. On one hand entrepreneurs like to take risks, but businessman do not tend to involve into such activities. While they are similar on aspect that both have to carry out and develop different strategies and also implement them at the workplace.

The other section of report focused on comparing two entrepreneurs for which Steve Jobs and Sir Richard Branson were taken into consideration. It was observed that Jobs was more autocratic in nature; while Branson used democratic leadership style. While the similarity between them was that they both had the vision to make their organizations giants of the market. Further for them, their dream was of great importance.


Books & Journals

Jackson, T., 1998. Richard Branson, Virgin King: Inside Richard Branson's Business Empire. Crown Publishing Group.
Dearlove, D., 2007. Business the Richard Branson Way: 10 Secrets of the World's Greatest Brand Builder. 3Rd ed. John Wiley & Sons.
Fertig, D., 2013. Richard Branson. Raintree.
Branson, R., 2002. Sir Richard Branson: The Autobiography : Level 6. Longman.
Bowman, C. and Bowman, S., 2012. No More Business As Usual. LifeMastry Pyt Ltd.

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