Adviser Rant: Don’t call yourself an entrepreneur

Alistair Cunningham

A term the definition of which I find irritatingly loose is ‘entrepreneur’.

With the term comes a level of grandiosity and pomposity such that no serious entrepreneur would ever refer to themselves as one. The Oxford English Dictionary lends nothing to the definition: “a person who sets up a business or businesses, taking on financial risks in the hope of profit”.

As business owners, many financial planners refer to themselves and their clients as entrepreneurs. This grates on me.

Article continues after advert

As far as I am concerned, being an entrepreneur is more than an inability to play nicely with other people, forcing self-employment.

Being an entrepreneur should mean more than owning a lifestyle business and having a single-digit golf handicap.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg’s acumen earns him the title of entrepreneur; Richard Branson, with success in a range of fields, is my proposed model entrepreneur.

I work with many entrepreneurs. These successful serial business owners have grown companies worth millions, tens of millions or sometimes even more. They come from a diverse range of backgrounds and have made their wealth in many ways. There’s no common trait, with one glaring exception: none of them would call themselves an ‘entrepreneur’.

Alistair Cunningham is a chartered financial planner at Wingate Financial Planning