Opinion  

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.

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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