The retirement planner who left a job on Wall Street to start his own firm.

The title insurer that is constantly updating his business to comply with ever changing regulations.

The insurance agent that started his own business in an industry completely new to him.

The list can go on and on.   But when you hear about these professionals the term “Entrepreneur” (typically) doesn’t come to mind.   That term generally evokes an image of someone creating an app for the newest smartphone, an e-commerce site, or a network marketing company.  Images of Richard Branson, Mark Cuban, or Elon Musk come to mind.  Typically, the general public doesn’t view accountants, financial planners, attorneys, or any other professional service professional as an “Entrepreneur” and part of that reason could be because these professionals don’t view themselves as entrepreneurs.

A special report issued by the University of Michigan Masters in Entrepreneurship program defines an entrepreneur as “anyone who has started or acquired a venture; an owner, founder or co-founder.   While that may be a dictionary definition, it definitely doesn’t define the term “entrepreneur” in practice.   I recently read an article in Accounting Today, an industry publication, where the author shares a personal experience to define the term entrepreneur.

“A couple of years ago, one of the new partners in my firm pointed out that the accounting profession has been run the same way for the last 75 years.   How do you know that the different approaches that we are taking with our firm are right?   I replied that I didn’t but I do know for sure that nothing stays the same for 75 years.”

He goes on to state that this conversation frames the different mindsets separating the business owner from the entrepreneur.  While the business owner asks, “Why mess with it?” the entrepreneur asks, “Why leave it alone?”

Next time you hear the word “start-up” don’t automatically turn your thoughts to tech related products/ services.  Remember that start-ups can include professional service businesses and, in many cases, they may be the ones that are better prepared to handle your needs.

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