Are You Running a Business or an Enterprise?

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Money-making activities come in different shapes and shades, and so do the names of these entities. As long as it is for profit-making, we pick names randomly. From company to firm and organization, business and enterprise, the list seems inexhaustible. The problem is we show little regard for precision.

For self-employed people, here is a poser: Are you running a business or an enterprise?

For the majority, ‘business’ and ‘enterprise’ are interchangeable. After all, are they not both commercial establishments? However, between these two words are some subtle differences.

Knowing the differences between running a business and an enterprise will help you. So, let’s dig in.    

What’s a Business?

This concept is the umbrella word that covers all commercial establishments or entities that carry out activities geared towards making profits for the owners and shareholders. Businesses can also cover industrial or professional activities with economic importance.

Where a non-profit establishment engages in the above-cited activities, we take the fulfillment of its charitable missions as its’ profit.’

The organization’s size or level of success has nothing to do with this name designation. That is why it may involve many people or even just a single person. It may be a multimillion endeavor or a little roadside effort.

Going by structure, a business can be a limited liability company, a corporation, a partnership, or a sole proprietorship. This designation depends on the time of ownership and management. 

What’s an Enterprise?

To be clear about the definition, an enterprise is also a business, but it features some distinct qualities. In other words, every enterprise is a business, but we cannot say every business is an enterprise. An enterprise is the handiwork of a risk-taking entrepreneur, which involves initiatives and investments.

Phrases like ‘enterprise solution,’ enterprise computing system, and enterprise architecture have become synonymous with the IT industry. This characteristic may explain why the word ‘enterprise’ is the term many people often use in the IT scene. It refers to resourceful entrepreneurs with daring innovations that they turn into money-spinning ventures. 

One more thing, people commonly categorize enterprises by size, so let us glance in that direction too.

Categorization of Enterprise According to Size

Although we can use other criteria, we chose to use the number of staff. It is much easier to deal with statistics as simple as the number of people a business employs.

1. Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): The enterprises in this category do not have more than 50 to 250 people employed.   

2. Micro Enterprises: This is an enterprise that has less than ten employees

3. Small Enterprises: Enterprises with 10 – 49 employees fall in this category.

4. Large Enterprises: This category covers all enterprises that employ 250 employees to infinity.

Business Vs. Enterprise

Let us match ‘business’ with ‘enterprise’ and see the extent of common grounds they share and where they differ. This effort will help you answer the poser (Are you running a business or an enterprise?).

Business Vs. Enterprise: Similarities 

  • Generally speaking, both business and enterprise are economic-oriented ventures. They both use the factors of production to produce goods or services that people can pay for. If you are running an enterprise, you are automatically running a business. That is because your enterprise is a business.
  • Enterprises and businesses both fall under the tag of legal entities.
  • Both establishments come with some risk, though there is more risk to the enterprise.

Business Vs. Enterprise: Similarities

  • Though an enterprise is a business, not every business is an enterprise
  • An enterprise is a risk-taking venture of an entrepreneur who invests money to make profits. A business, on the other hand, may be not-for-profit. 
  • With the later technological development, the enterprise has become a concept primarily used in the IT industry. The same situation does not apply to a business. 

Is a Business Supposed to Be Run Differently Compared to an Enterprise?

There is a lot to this question that will make it impossible to get a definitive answer. However, we assumed you are an entrepreneur, so we discussed the attributes you need to run a successful business or enterprise.  

Make Planning a Priority

Make sure you have a template for how you want to run your firm/company. You may call this a business plan. You must include the business model you want to adopt and how you expect the enterprise/business to survive tough times.

With this end in view, it must be flexible to adjust to hostile changing circumstances easily. Although planning is one of the first things you do while starting a business, it is continuous.

Have a Clear and Realistic Vision

You must be clear on your vision. As an entrepreneur, you will take some real risks, and the first few months may go differently than planned. Your vision, which is a longer-term goal, may be your saving grace. It may be the force that will keep you going when it gets tricky.

A typical vision details where you see yourself and your business, for instance, in the next ten years. It projects future opportunities and potential and the growth of the establishment.

As a visionary investor, you do not let teething troubles put you off. It would be best if you instead tried to predict common problems and apply proffered solutions.    

If You Are Not Passionate About It, Drop It

It would be best if you had more than planning and vision to run your business successfully. Just look around you. You will notice that most successful entrepreneurs abound all over the market and are passionate about what they do.

It is simple; deal in what you have passion for. Otherwise, you will need more energy to stay afloat.  

Know What You Are Doing and Be Decisive

You need to know what you are doing to handle many of the everyday decisions running a business requires. Some decisions need you to be quick and firm. You can only do that when you are sure it will work out right. 

At times, you may need to think and seek advice. The headache here is that people may confound you with sharply contradicting advice. You may even get unsolicited ones. That may make things messy unless you are your own man.

However, seeking advice from experienced entrepreneurs is essential too. We are saying that it is up to you to accept advice you know will help your business.   

Remain Focused

As we mentioned above, your planning must foresee problems too. That gives you some level of immunity to challenges. At the same time, it helps you to remain focused. It would help if you did not lose sight of your short-term and long-term goals.

Remaining focused also includes how effectively you execute your plans. Also, you must keep to your dreams, from planned daily activities to weekly, monthly, etc. After all, you tailor your plans to get you your goals. Losing focus may translate to losing your goals.    


Running your own business, something that will help you is to believe in yourself and exude confidence. These attributes are contagious, and you need them, especially if you are directly involved with clients/customers.

In addition, self-belief and confidence must extend to your products/services. It must be evident in your actions and speeches that you have the utmost trust in what you sell.  


Whether what you are running is a business or an enterprise is not as important as how you run it. Fundamentally, every business requires the same things an enterprise needs to flourish. The target of every establishment is to achieve its goals.

Therefore, you must prioritize learning and practicing the best approach to running a successful for-profit establishment – a business or enterprise.

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