What is a Frugal Entrepreneur?

Industry, perseverance, and frugality make fortune yield.

-Benjamin Franklin

Since this is my first post here at The Frugal Entrepreneur, I figure I should start things out by defining just what is a "frugal entrepreneur."

Economical in use or expenditure; prudently saving or sparing; not wasteful: a frugal manager.

A person who organizes and manages any enterprise, esp. a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.1

The definition of a frugal entrepreneur is thus someone who can economically and prudently organize and/or manage a business while being mindful of any inherent risk.

Frugal Does Not Mean Cheap

Often frugal and stingy or cheap are used interchangeably. But the truth is that there is a big difference between being cheap and being frugal. Cheap implies cutting corners for the sake of saving a few dollars in the short-term, with little regard to how those decisions will effect the health of the business in the long-run. Frugality, on the other hand, is both expansive and far-sighted. The frugal entrepreneur seeks to maximize the use of available resources, to go beyond the concrete numbers and the bottom line to consider the bigger picture. Sometimes being frugal actually means spending more in the short-term to realize some future savings.

The Characteristics of a Frugal Entrepreneur

On most business- related sites you'll probably find at least one article dedicated to describing those qualities that come with being a successful entrepreneur. But what does a frugal entrepreneur look like?

Though every person is different there are several core characteristics that make the frugally minded entrepreneur stand out:

  • There is a tendency towards bootstrapping and cost control even when business good.
  • The frugal entrepreneur considers more than just money when making a business-related decision. He or she will also pay attention to abstract resources and assets, such as time, energy, job fulfillment and customer satisfaction (and no, it's not a typo- job fulfillment and customer satisfaction are qualitative assets)
  • The frugal entrepreneur seeks to maximize all available resources, including the human resources of employees and customers, as well as money, time, or equipment

In short, being a frugal entrepreneur means changing the way you look yourself, your business, your employees and your customers. It is as much about utilizing and maximizing available business resources as it is reducing costs.