The Battle for Business Supremacy: Entrepreneur vs Professional Manager Go Head-to-Head

The Battle for Business Supremacy Entrepreneur vs Professional Manager Go Head-to-Head banner image

In this article, we explore the age-old debate of entrepreneur vs professional manager who is better suited to run successful businesses. While both are essential to the growth and success of any business, a clash between these two personalities is almost inevitable. Through a head-to-head analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of each approach, we aim to shed light on this ongoing battle for business supremacy.

Whether you’re an entrepreneur looking to understand your management style better or a professional manager seeking to work more effectively with your entrepreneurial colleagues, Join us as we delve into the key characteristics, traits, and skill sets that define successful entrepreneurs and professional managers, and discover which one reigns supreme in the world of business.

Who is an entrepreneur and who is a professional manager?

An entrepreneur is a person who creates and manages a business venture, assuming financial risks in order to do so. Entrepreneurs are typically innovative thinkers who identify opportunities to create new products, services or markets, and are driven by the desire to succeed and build something of value.

On the other hand, a professional manager is someone who is hired by a company to oversee its operations and ensure that it runs efficiently and effectively. Professional managers may have a background in business, finance or management, and their primary goal is to maximize profits and shareholder value while minimizing risks and costs. Unlike entrepreneurs, professional managers do not typically have an ownership stake in the company they work for, and they are accountable to its board of directors and shareholders.

Key differences between entrepreneur and professional manager

The key differences between an entrepreneur and a professional manager are:

  1. Risk-taking: Entrepreneurs are known for taking risks and are willing to invest their own time and money into a venture, while professional managers typically prefer a more cautious approach.
  2. Vision: Entrepreneurs often have a clear vision for their business and are focused on achieving their goals, while professional managers tend to prioritize the day-to-day operations and managing existing systems.
  3. Creativity: Entrepreneurs are often seen as more creative and innovative, coming up with new ideas and approaches to solve problems, while professional managers may rely more on established practices and procedures.
  4. Ownership: Entrepreneurs typically own their own businesses and have a personal stake in the success or failure of their venture, while professional managers are employees of a company and may have less personal investment in the business.
  5. Growth: Entrepreneurs are usually focused on growing their business and expanding into new markets, while professional managers are more concerned with maintaining stability and optimizing existing operations.
  6. Flexibility: Entrepreneurs are often able to adapt quickly to changes in the market or their business, while professional managers may struggle to pivot and adjust to new circumstances.

Overall, the main difference between an entrepreneur and a professional manager is their approach to risk, vision, creativity, ownership, growth, and flexibility.

walking with a bag
walking with a bag

Key similarities between entrepreneur and professional manager

Entrepreneurs and professional managers share certain similarities, such as:

  1. Leadership: Both entrepreneurs and professional managers are expected to provide leadership to their teams, motivate and inspire them towards achieving business goals.
  2. Decision-making: Entrepreneurs and professional managers are responsible for making important decisions that affect the success of the business. They must consider various factors, weigh options, and choose the best course of action.
  3. Goal-oriented: Both entrepreneurs and professional managers are focused on achieving business goals, whether it’s profitability, growth, or market share.
  4. Risk-taking: While entrepreneurs are typically associated with taking more risks than professional managers, both must be willing to take calculated risks to achieve business success.
  5. Adaptability: In today’s fast-paced business environment, both entrepreneurs and professional managers need to be adaptable and agile in response to changes in the market, customer needs, and competition.

Despite these similarities, entrepreneurs and professional managers have different approaches to business and bring unique perspectives to the table.

Pros of entrepreneur over professional manager

Some potential pros of being an entrepreneur over a professional manager could include:

  1. Greater potential for financial rewards: Entrepreneurs have the potential to make a lot of money if their business is successful. They can also have more control over how their profits are allocated.
  2. More creative freedom: As an entrepreneur, you have the ability to pursue your own ideas and create something from scratch. You’re not limited by existing company structures or protocols.
  3. Flexibility and autonomy: Entrepreneurs have the freedom to set their own schedules, work from wherever they want, and make decisions without having to consult with a board or supervisor.
  4. Greater personal satisfaction: For many entrepreneurs, the act of building something from the ground up and seeing it succeed can be incredibly fulfilling. It can be a source of pride and self-esteem.
  5. Potential for greater impact: Entrepreneurs have the opportunity to create something that can make a real difference in the world. They can bring new products, services, or technologies to market, or create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

Of course, these are generalizations and there are many individual factors that can influence whether entrepreneurship is a better choice than professional management for a given person. Additionally, there are certainly pros to being a professional manager as well.

Cons of entrepreneur compared to professional manager

There are several potential cons of being an entrepreneur when compared to a professional manager. These include:

  1. Financial risk: Entrepreneurs often invest their own money and time into their business ventures, which can lead to significant financial risk. In contrast, professional managers typically receive a salary and benefits package from their employer.
  2. Lack of stability: Start-up businesses can be unpredictable and may not provide a stable income for the entrepreneur. In contrast, professional managers often work for established companies with more stable income streams.
  3. Long hours and high stress: Starting and running a business can be demanding and time-consuming, often requiring long hours and high levels of stress. Professional managers may also work long hours, but they may have more established support systems in place to help manage their workload.
  4. Limited resources: Entrepreneurs often have limited resources, such as funding, staff, and equipment, which can make it difficult to compete with larger, more established companies. Professional managers may have access to more resources through their employer.
  5. Responsibility for all aspects of the business: Entrepreneurs are responsible for all aspects of their business, from finance and marketing to operations and customer service. This can be overwhelming and challenging, particularly for those with limited experience in these areas. In contrast, professional managers may have a more defined role within the company and may have more support and resources to manage their responsibilities.
in front of a building
in front of a building

Pros of professional manager over entrepreneur

Here are some potential pros of a professional manager over an entrepreneur:

  1. Experience: A professional manager may have years of experience in managing businesses, while an entrepreneur may be new to the industry. This experience can provide a valuable foundation for decision-making and leadership.
  2. Risk management: Professional managers tend to be more risk-averse than entrepreneurs, which can be an advantage in certain situations. They may be more likely to conduct thorough research and analysis before making a decision, and to be more conservative in their approach to financial management.
  3. Established systems: Professional managers may have more established systems and processes in place for running a business, which can help improve efficiency and reduce costs.
  4. Specialized knowledge: Professional managers may have specialized knowledge in a particular industry or area of business, which can provide a competitive advantage.
  5. Stability: Professional managers may be more likely to prioritize stability and consistency in their management approach, which can help establish a strong foundation for long-term growth.

It’s important to note that these pros may not apply universally, and there may be exceptions depending on the specific individuals and businesses involved.

Cons of professional manager compared to entrepreneur

Here are some cons of professional manager compared to entrepreneur:

  1. Limited autonomy: Professional managers may have less autonomy than entrepreneurs, as they are often accountable to a board of directors, shareholders or other stakeholders. They may not have the same freedom to make quick decisions or take risks.
  2. Limited potential for equity ownership: While entrepreneurs can often own a significant portion of their company’s equity, professional managers may have limited potential for equity ownership. This can mean a smaller financial upside, particularly if the company performs well over time.
  3. Less creativity and innovation: Professional managers may be more focused on maintaining the status quo and optimizing existing systems and processes rather than developing new and innovative ideas. This can limit the company’s potential for growth and expansion.
  4. Less passion and drive: While professional managers can be highly skilled and competent, they may not have the same level of passion and drive for the company’s mission and vision as an entrepreneur who has started the business from scratch.
  5. Less risk-taking: Professional managers may be more risk-averse than entrepreneurs, particularly if they are not personally invested in the company’s success. This can limit the company’s potential for growth and innovation, as taking risks is often necessary to achieve breakthrough success.

Situations when entrepreneur is better than professional manager

Entrepreneurs are better suited than professional managers in certain situations, such as:

  1. Start-ups: Entrepreneurs are well-suited for start-ups as they have a natural inclination to take risks, think outside the box, and experiment with new ideas. They are comfortable with ambiguity and uncertainty, and are able to pivot quickly in response to market feedback.
  2. Innovation: Entrepreneurs are often more innovative than professional managers as they are not bound by established processes and systems. They can identify gaps in the market and develop unique solutions to meet customer needs.
  3. Small businesses: Entrepreneurs are also well-suited for small businesses as they are typically more hands-on and willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done. They are often more agile and able to respond quickly to changes in the market.
  4. Flexibility: Entrepreneurs have more flexibility in terms of decision-making and resource allocation. They are not beholden to stakeholders and shareholders in the same way as professional managers, which allows them to make decisions that are in the best interest of the business and its customers.
  5. Passion and drive: Entrepreneurs are often driven by a deep passion for their business and a desire to make a difference in the world. This level of motivation and drive can be difficult to replicate in a professional manager who may not have the same personal investment in the success of the business.

Situations when professional manager is better than entrepreneur

There are several situations when a professional manager may be better suited than an entrepreneur:

  1. Established companies: Professional managers are often better suited to lead established companies, as they have experience in managing larger organizations and navigating the complexities that come with it.
  2. Stability and predictability: In industries where stability and predictability are key, such as finance or healthcare, professional managers are more desirable as they have a track record of managing risk and maintaining stability.
  3. Specialized knowledge: In industries that require specialized knowledge, such as science or engineering, professional managers with relevant technical expertise are better equipped to lead teams of experts.
  4. Restructuring: When a company is going through a restructuring or turnaround, a professional manager may be better equipped to implement necessary changes and make tough decisions.
  5. Compliance: In industries with complex regulatory requirements, such as banking or pharmaceuticals, professional managers with experience in compliance and risk management may be better suited to navigate the regulatory landscape.
The Battle for Business Supremacy Entrepreneur vs Professional Manager Go Head-to-Head pin

Entrepreneur vs Professional Manager Summary

In conclusion, both entrepreneurs and professional managers play crucial roles in the business world. While entrepreneurs are known for their innovation, risk-taking and creativity, professional managers bring stability, organization and efficiency to businesses. Each role has its own strengths and weaknesses, and the choice between the two depends on the specific needs and goals of a company.

Ultimately, the battle for business supremacy between entrepreneurs and professional managers is not a zero-sum game, but rather a symbiotic relationship where both roles are essential for success. Entrepreneurs and professional managers should learn from each other and work together to achieve their common goals.

Whether you aspire to become an entrepreneur or a professional manager, it is important to understand the differences and similarities between the two roles, as well as their respective pros and cons. By doing so, you can make an informed decision about which path to pursue and how to best contribute to the success of a business. If you have any question please leave a comment and we will be happy to answer!

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*Based on a survey of small businesses using QuickBook Online conducted September 2018.