As the Business Entrepreneur instructor at Dakota County Technical College, I feel I have every right to hate the word “Entrepreneur”. Because it is in my title and identifies the program I teach, I am required to spell this stupid word over and over again. It seems like each time I spell it, I get it wrong! And after spelling it literally thousands of time, I still have to “think” about it each time I spell it. I have wasted far too much brain power and far too much time and energy on this ugly word! So right here and right now I choose to change the word to something that has more meaning and is far easier to spell.
In our society the word “Entrepreneur” means many things to many people. To some it means the small one person business. To some it means any small business. To others it means the CEO of a Fortune 100 Corporation, and to some the word “Entrepreneur” is synonymous with Donald Trump. However, when I look at the students who come into my program and the people I meet as an SBDC (Small Business Development Center) counselor, most (about 95%) fall into the small one or two person operations.
These people have not started a business to make millions of dollars and become rich and famous. Rather they have started business to do what they love and what they are good at. These people have started business to replace income lost by layoff, or they have started business to give them the extra money they need to take vacations, send kids to college, or just pay bills and get out of debt. These are the “owner/operators” that are the true backbone of the American economy. How many of these mini-business owners are there in our start? Well, when I looked it up, I was astonished! The number was staggering. In my research I discovered that Minnesota has 501,000 businesses registered, but only 24% have an employee! This means that in Minnesota alone there are over 380,000 of these one or two person businesses! Just think how many of these businesses there are in the entire United States!
I believe that these business owners need their own designation. They need to be separated from the rest of what the world calls “entrepreneurs”. So what do I call these people? After much soul searching I finally came up with the name that I believe gives meaning to this massive group of business owners. The name I have chosen is “BizOwner”. This is one word with the “B” and the “O” capitalized. This word is not found in the dictionary and is made up of the slang for business “Biz” and the word which all these people are truly are, which is “owner”.
So what is my definition of a “BizOwner”? Since I am creating a new word, I also have the right to define the new word. My definition of a BizOwner is someone who owns, operates, and is responsible for everything in his or her business. These people wear multiple hats. During any one day they are the salesperson, the marketing director, the accounts payable and accounts receivable person, the customer service agent, and they do all the work that produces the income into the business. And on top of all the tasks, they are required to make 5, 10, 20 or more decisions every day. When I tried listing all the business of BizOwners, I quit because the list is just too long. Let’s just say it starts with the Independent Accountant, and ends with
Independent Woodworkers (I couldn’t find anyone in X, Y or Z!).
So how do you know if you are a BizOwner? If you can answer “yes” to the following five questions, then you are a BizOwner.
1) Have I legally formed by business and listed me as the “owner”?
2) Am I the person responsible for everything in my business?
3) Do I do almost all the sales and marketing for my business?
4) Do I generate most of the income that comes into my business?
5) If I put “owner” on my business cards, does it feel right?
If you are one of the 380,000 BizOwners in Minnesota, then I applaud you!
It about time we had our own name and our own definition! We are the backbone of this state and the backbone of our Country. We are the BizOwners of America, and we are a force to be reckoned with!