Only four per cent of business owners consider themselves to be entrepreneurs, research from business software provider Sage has found.
It found that the terms 'business owner' (53%), 'self-employed' (26%) and 'businessman/woman' (15%) were more popular, despite the fact that the number of new businesses being created has risen in recent years.
Sage said that the current challenging economic climate was changing business perceptions, with many owners unable to associate the entrepreneurial term with their business.
The fall in use of the term reflected the 'very gritty, real nature of running a business in 21st century Britain,' it said.
The survey of 1,200 business owners, asked how they perceive themselves and the qualities needed to succeed in business.
Two out of three owners believe the term entrepreneur denotes someone who brings innovative ideas to business - a quality viewed by 14 per cent of respondents has central to business success.
Meanwhile, one in four (25 per cent) associate the term with someone who sets up or runs their own business.
The number of new businesses being registered at Companies House is now at the highest level since before the 2008 recession. Around 396,000 companies where formed in the year from March 2010 to March 2011, an increase of 9.4 per cent on the previous year.
Lee Perkins, managing director for Sage's small business division, explained: "Business owners think of an entrepreneur as someone who has innovation in their DNA, but not necessarily the drive or basic business skills to succeed.
"Ideas are vital, but for a business to discover its true potential the company must be grounded in reality and guided by an owner with a sound understanding of financial information."
"At a time when the UK Government is introducing measures to support start-ups and small businesses through incentives and grant support, translating new business goals and ideas into reality is a significant possibility for many. Pairing the right combination of business planning with drive and passion is the key to long term success," added Perkins.
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