How to distinguish between the different types of entrepreneurs.

Small businesses are a vital component of our economy.
Small businesses are a vital component of our economy. (Image: Jupiterimages/Brand X Pictures/Getty Images)

Enterprising individuals become entrepreneurs every day because of economic conditions, employment changes and personal goals. Any person who seeks a profitable opportunity and takes the necessary risks to set up a business is an entrepreneur, according to Louis Boone in his book, "Contemporary Business." Entrepreneurs have characteristics that demonstrate their energy, creativity, commitment and persevering spirit to achieve against all odds. If you own a business, ask yourself if you are a classic entrepreneur, serial, philanthropic or lifestyle owner. Your goals may mirror many others who love to own a business.

Most small business owners are typically classic entrepreneurs who pursue a personal interest where there is opportunity and consumer demand. Classic entrepreneurs invest their resources to develop the idea into a company. Small businesses are a launch pad for these innovators -- who are increasingly women and minorities. Small businesses create on average three of every four new jobs in the U.S., according to the Small Business Administration.

Serial entrepreneurs run multiple businesses to take advantage of scale to maximize their profit. Real estate and financial tycoons grow from single business ventures to build multiple often diversified entities that support their lifestyle and protects their wealth.

Philanthropic-minded investors are social entrepreneurs who position themselves to solve targeted social problems through innovation that benefits humanity. Wealthy individuals -- who may be retired, living off trusts or celebrities -- seek to improve the condition of chosen communities and countries. These social entrepreneurs seek positive change and build infrastructure in areas of low socio-economic growth.

Lifestyle entrepreneurs seek to transition out of corporate settings, balance work-life commitments and improve their overall quality of life. Autonomy, choice and control are appealing to these investors as they seek to create businesses that are highly specialized, such as life coaches, boutique owners, and wardrobe specialists. This allows them to selectively extend themselves into the market.

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