CEO vs. Entrepreneur: Which One Are You?

by / ⠀Entrepreneurship / May 5, 2022
confused man tries to explain difficult concept with laptop in front

A common misconception among many is that every entrepreneur can be a CEO. It’s not necessarily true. Every entrepreneur does not have the makings to be CEO…and vice versa.

When you launch a business, you become an entrepreneur. But the role of the CEO comes into play once the business grows in size with more parties coming on board.

To determine whether you identify yourself as an entrepreneur or CEO, you have to understand the fundamental difference between the two.

Who is an entrepreneur?

An entrepreneur is one who is willing to take risks and step out of the box. Entrepreneurs aren’t fixated on what’s happening today. Instead, they have their eyes on the future. They keep tabs on where the industry is heading. And they use this information to take their business ahead.

Entrepreneurs are willing to put in the effort. They don’t shy away from getting their hands dirty. Indeed, they dig into the work when required. At the same time, they don’t lose sight of their goal.

The passion of an entrepreneur never diminishes. He is always thinking about his next move. He shows no signs of stopping and is always on the lookout for new opportunities.

The passion of an entrepreneur never diminishes. She is always thinking about her next move.

The passion of an entrepreneur never diminishes. She is always thinking about her next move.

Who is a CEO?

And now, let’s talk about the characteristics of a CEO. Surprisingly very few even know what CEO means. These days, you’ll see young entrepreneurs calling themselves CEOs without even realizing what the term entails.

A CEO has someone who has to focus all his attention on managing the now. Yes, he has his eyes on the future, but he has to pay more attention to the everyday happenings of the company.

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He or she has to evaluate the market and study the current trends. A CEO does not always make plans for the future but thinks more about how things need to be handled today.

CEO vs. Entrepreneurs: Understanding the Difference

Contrary to what people believe, the difference between CEO and entrepreneur isn’t only their titles. It has a lot more to do with their style of work. It’s your approach that determines whether you are CEO material or an entrepreneur.

If there’s one thing that differentiates a CEO from an entrepreneur, it’s the willingness to risk.

Most CEOs think long and hard before taking a risk. They analyze, strategize, and look at things from every angle. And more often than not, they won’t take the bait.

Entrepreneurs are different. They are always willing to take the risk. They get their excitement from pushing the boundaries.

Perhaps only someone who has played both roles or seen them closely can understand the difference between the two.

Moving from Startup to Established Business

As you start your company brimming with ideas, hopes, and expectations, you are an entrepreneur. You have just established your startup. And you want to be noticed. Hence, you are willing to do something different which will capture the attention of everyone around.

You think about what you can do differently that hasn’t been done by others. And this encourages you to take a risk. You are willing to go the extra mile.

And then things start working out. Your company starts growing, and profit starts pouring in. It’s at this point that you will inevitably start thinking like a CEO.

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You won’t think about new opportunities or expand into unknown territories. Instead, all your focus will be on improving what you have already built. You can no longer risk everything since you are now accountable to your employees, boards, and investors.

As a CEO, you have to keep yourself restricted to a budget. You have to measure your performance and convince your stakeholders that you are indeed moving in the right direction.

A CEO has to adopt a more formal style. Yes, you can still take risks. But they have to be a lot more calculated.

A CEO has to measure performance and convince stakeholders that the company is indeed moving in the right direction.

A CEO has to measure performance and convince stakeholders that the company is indeed moving in the right direction.

CEO or Entrepreneur: Which side are you on?

Now you know the clear difference between the two. The question is, which one are you?

Most entrepreneurs are happy when they get to explore new opportunities. They are never satisfied with what they have. They always want to try something new. A CEO, on the other hand, wants to protect and build on whatever he has achieved.

There’s no right or wrong here. Both approaches can work. It ultimately comes down to what you are comfortable with.

Indeed, a lot of entrepreneurs enjoy the role of CEOs. They feel they have put in the effort and have had their share of excitement. They are willing to take a seat back and enjoy whatever they have accomplished and focus on making it bigger.

But some entrepreneurs are in the field for the journey. They want to be involved in everything from the ground level. It’s the love for detailing which drives them. They want to keep a check on everything that’s going on and give their input.

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Ultimately, you have to recognize your style and method of working. Whether you want to be a CEO or an entrepreneur is something you can only determine after you have considered carefully and figured out what drives you.

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About The Author


Tauseeq Magsi has been a writing geek for the past six years. He has written about Tech, Finance, Leadership, Business, and more. He loves helping others achieve their goals, and he hopes to continue helping people through his writing for many years to come. In addition to writing, Tauseeq Magsi loves to travel and learn new things.


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