Entrepreneur vs business owner: what’s the difference in hospitality?
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If you’re thinking about managing or owning your own hospitality business one day, you’ll have probably encountered the terms entrepreneur and business owner quite frequently. These terms can often be used interchangeably, making it challenging to know what the difference is.
It’s vital to understand these terms if you’re hoping to manage your own company in the hospitality industry. Knowing whether you want to be an entrepreneur or a business owner can help you tailor your education, experience and training to help you reach your goals. It will also help ensure you know what kind of business you want to put your energy into.
In this article, we’ll go over the differences between business ownership and entrepreneurship as hospitality careers. We’ll discuss the motivations, skills and qualifications you’ll need for any path you choose. We’ll also look at similarities in these areas and what you can do to advance your career as a business owner or entrepreneur in the hospitality field.
Understanding entrepreneurs and business owners
At the most basic level, both entrepreneurship and owning a business can mean working for yourself and managing a business. This makes it a highly appealing career path for anyone who wants independence or who wants to see their individual vision come to life.
It can also appeal to people who want to be wholly responsible for their own financial success or failure. And, since we’re also talking about hotel management and hospitality management, we’ll be looking at entrepreneurship and businesses in the hospitality sector, where there is a focus on running businesses that offer customers a great hospitality service.
What is an entrepreneur?
Entrepreneurship is usually recognized as including an element of risk taking. An entrepreneur will sometimes take on a high-risk, high-reward business, which is often a significant part of the entrepreneurial mindset
As an entrepreneur, people often form their own startups or new companies, focusing on innovation in their field and bringing new ideas into reality. In fact, one of the main reasons entrepreneurship is important is because it brings fresh ideas to the industry.
What is a business owner?
A business owner also runs their own business, but this is typically focused on more tried-and-tested methods of success. This often means business owners will follow known business patterns.
For example, in the hospitality industry, this might mean opening your own hotel in a popular area. There are plenty of types of business that you can own within hospitality, but hotels are one of the most popular.
Can an entrepreneur also be a business owner, and vice versa?
Yes, there is definitely scope to be an entrepreneur and own a business. There’s the possibility of overlap as it depends on what kind of business you’re in and how it’s set up. Remember, either path is about developing your own career, so you can design your path how you want.
What is the difference between an entrepreneur and a business owner?
The main difference between the two is the level of risk and innovation in their ventures. Business owners often stick to safer business plans, even taking over existing thriving businesses, while entrepreneurs tend to look at newer ideas with higher risk.
Mindset and motivation
The two paths can also be distinguished by the different mindsets and motivations you need. The entrepreneurial mindset includes risk-taking, innovation and opportunity seeking. On the other hand, the business owner mindset is generally more directed towards stability, growth, management and operational efficiency.
Motivations driving entrepreneurs and business owners are both about financial success, leadership and the desire to work hard. However, entrepreneurs may also be more motivated by wanting to build a legacy of innovation.
Role and responsibilities
There can be a lot of crossover in the responsibilities someone takes on when they become either an entrepreneur or a business owner. They both bear responsibility for the success of the business, so each role will include business development, planning, team building and more. However, entrepreneurs focus more on idea generation, vision-setting, market research and creating something that simply didn’t exist before. Business owners tend to focus more on risk management, goal setting and measuring success factors in a more established business.
Of course, both paths mean you can be responsible for anyone who works for you, so you need to make sure you have the skills to see your business ideas through or hire people who can help.
Choosing your path: entrepreneurship or business ownership in hospitality?
It’s not always easy to know which path is right for you between being an entrepreneur and aiming for business formation. Making an informed decision will mean having to do plenty of self assessment to work out where your interests, strengths and weaknesses lie. You should consider your personal goals and whether you have a passion for innovation. If so, maybe you would prefer to be an entrepreneur. It’s also important to consider your personal risk tolerance and how much you would enjoy the challenges of trying something new and unknown.
You should also become familiar with the industry, new trends and the state of the market to see which path could be more beneficial and deliver the rewards that are important to you. Bear in mind your exit strategies for both roles as well to make sure you are aware of all the possibilities.
Can a business owner become an entrepreneur later in their career?
Absolutely, there is plenty of scope to transition between these two paths. Wherever you start, you can change direction when you decide the time is right.
How can I become an entrepreneur in the hospitality industry?
The main thing you need to become a hospitality entrepreneur is an idea for a new business venture. Whether that’s to become a travel startup founder or start your own restaurant as a diversity entrepreneur, you need to have an idea that inspires you to work hard. It’s also important to get the right skills and knowledge to help you know how to manage and grow your business. You can get this by studying for a hospitality degree from a renowned school.
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Is previous experience in the hospitality industry necessary to become a business owner?
If your career choice is becoming a business owner or an entrepreneur, it’s important to get experience in the industry. You can get this through hospitality internships as well as work experience.
There are many potential paths for career progression in hospitality toward business ownership, including starting a business, acquiring an existing business or climbing the corporate ladder, but all of these will be easier if you have experience in the industry.
What qualities are essential for being a successful entrepreneur or business owner?
Of course, there are qualities and attributes that can help you whether you want to become an entrepreneur or a business owner in any field. Some of these include:
- Dedication and drive
- Good decision making
- Team building and team leadership
- Risk management
- Good communication
- Analytical skills
If you want to build these skills for your career in the hospitality sector, one of the best ways is by studying for an accredited hospitality degree from a management school.
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What are the latest trends and innovations in the hospitality industry that entrepreneurs should be aware of?
We’ve already mentioned it is vital to keep abreast of the current state of the industry. Some of the newest trends are:
- The rise of luxury options and the increased importance of luxury management
- More application of modern technology in hospitality venues
- The increasing popularity of international travel with a wider range of customers
Top tips for success as entrepreneurs and business owners in the hospitality industry
If you want to aim for success with your own hospitality business, our top tips are:
- Get a degree from a hospitality school in Switzerland to improve your skills
- Work in the industry to get some real-world experience
- Get expert opinions on your business model
- Network with other hospitality professionals to find great opportunities
- Always be aware of how to minimalise your financial risk
- Get experience in different hospitality fields, such as event management or tourism companies to help you refine your business knowledge.
Entrepreneur vs business owner: conclusion
Both entrepreneurship and business ownership can be rewarding paths if you want to run your own company and are prepared to work hard to achieve your vision. It’s important to think about your strengths, aspirations, mindset and opportunities when choosing between an entrepreneurial venture and business ownership in hospitality.