What Does an Entrepreneur or Business Owner Do?

FT Contributor  | 

Whether you’ve come up with a stellar idea for a new business or just want to branch out into a new venture and be your own boss, becoming an entrepreneur can be a great way to learn more about your field and get hands-on experience when it comes to starting and growing your own business. Entrepreneurs and business owners work in a wide variety of different fields, from tech, to marketing, to ecommerce and everywhere in between.

As the way we work changes, more and more people are deciding to start new business ventures and become self-employed. Technology has made the hurdle of starting your own business smaller, and individuals can easily set up their own websites, market their services, raise funding, and even launch online shops.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were over 9.6 million self-employed and small business owners in 2018, with that number expected to grow up to 10.3 million by 2026. Depending on the industry, successful small business owners can also make a tidy profit. Even if you’re just pursuing entrepreneurship as a side hustle, it will still teach you a lot about business and your field. With more people pursuing entrepreneurship, becoming digital nomads, or starting their own small businesses, there’s never been a better time to get in on the action.

If you’re thinking about becoming an entrepreneur yourself, you may be wondering what exactly someone who is self-employed or a small business owner does for a living. The reality is there is no one path to entrepreneurship, and running your own business may look dramatically different from one person to the next.

However, there are a few commonalities shared between many entrepreneurs, including the determination to stick with their new venture, the willingness to try new things, and the ability to wear many different hats. This guide will help explain what an entrepreneur or business owner does all day, as well as provide advice on the skills and training necessary to start your own business.

Types of Entrepreneurs

There are a variety of different types of entrepreneurs, each of which have different day-to-day tasks and responsibilities. Self-employed workers may work with  diverse clients providing skilled services such as copywriting, marketing, accounting, and more.

Other small business owners may sell goods or services directly to the public, such as e-commerce or technology companies. Some entrepreneurs may employ a hybrid strategy, working with both private clients and consumers. Some entrepreneurs may work from home, while others might have established a brick and mortar office or shop to work from.

Entrepreneur and Business Owner Job Description

While there’s no all-encompassing job description for an entrepreneur, in most cases the job itself takes a great amount of dedication, sacrifice, and grit. Those who are self-employed or who run small businesses often pour long hours into their projects in order to see them succeed.

When you’re self-employed, the buck stops with you, as does the ultimate success or failure of your business. Some of the most important qualities when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur are a sense of determination and the willingness to stick out tough times in order to prosper.

Entrepreneur and Business Owner Responsibilities

Depending on the type of business you run, and who else you may employ to help you out, an entrepreneur usually has a variety of different responsibilities. These may include:

  • Planning — An entrepreneur is responsible for planning pretty much everything when it comes to running a small business, from pricing products to hiring employees to planning for new ventures.
  • Finances — As a small business owner, you’ll ultimately be in charge of your own finances. While some entrepreneurs hire accountants or office managers to take care of some financial aspects, such as taxes and payroll, the business owner is usually responsible for managing cash flow and ensuring that the business turns a profit.
  • Hiring and mentoring — In most cases, an entrepreneur is responsible for hiring and mentoring anyone they choose to employ. This can be a great opportunity to nurture talented employees and develop a great team, but also comes with the challenges and potential setbacks of managing a group of people.
  • Marketing — Many entrepreneurs are in charge of their own marketing, whether that means tooting their horn on social media, running ad campaigns, or creating new marketing content.

Entrepreneur and Business Owner Duties

Entrepreneurs and business owners are responsible for the growth, stability, direction, and daily operations of their business. This may include a wide variety of different tasks, from meeting with clients to purchasing inventory. In many cases, a business owner has a hand in all parts of the business, which means that they may perform many different tasks in a given day, from the large to small.

Entrepreneur and Business Owner Skills

There are a variety of skills you need in order to be a successful entrepreneur, including both soft skills — such as communication — and hard skills — such as technological or subject matter expertise. These may include:

  • Negotiation — A business owner will have to frequently negotiate with clients, customers, suppliers, and even employees in order to ensure the success of the business. From securing discounts and deals to ensuring that a team works together smoothly, negotiation is an important skill when it comes to being an entrepreneur.
  • Communication — Communication is key in nearly every aspect of running a small business. As an entrepreneur, you’ll be responsible for controlling all aspects of communication and making sure that your business is portrayed in a positive light.
  • General management — Entrepreneurs have the final say when it comes to their small business. From little decisions to big ones, management skills are crucial when it comes to self-employment.
  • Finance and accounting — In many cases, entrepreneurs will be in charge of handling all their own finances and accounting. This means paying any vendors and employees, keeping track of revenue, and paying any applicable taxes.
  • Leadership and team building — If you hire other employees as a small business owner, you’ll be in charge of leadership and team-building activities. Successful entrepreneurs should know how to build a good team and provide leadership during times of growth and change.
  • Strategic planning — Entrepreneurs are responsible for all of the strategic planning that goes into running a business. To be successful, you should have a good idea of what you want your business to look like and how you will continue to grow over time.

Entrepreneur and Business Owner Education and Training Requirements

There aren’t necessarily any standard education requirements when it comes to becoming an entrepreneur. Some small business owners pursue higher education or business degrees, while others are largely self-taught. Others may have specializations in fields specific to their products, such as marketing, design, or writing.

Depending on the industry, there may be different certifications or training that must be completed. Would-be entrepreneurs pursuing business degrees can learn many useful skills that will help them to succeed, including courses on gaining new customers, growing your business, and business management.

There are also a variety of resources, grants, and business loans available to small business owners and entrepreneurs, including grants for minorities, grants for women, and grants for individuals who identify as LGBTQ. No matter what your background is, there are plenty of resources to help you fulfill your dream of becoming an entrepreneur.


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