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Entrepreneur Article Four: Entrepreneurial Types

Copyright, Nicholas A. Bibby, all rights reserved

I have made the point that the one trait common to all entrepreneurial hearts is a drive toward “independence,” and I added that varying levels of that independent spirit serve to create a scale on which we could find and define different types of entrepreneurs. I’d like to expand on those thoughts.

The notion of differing “types” of entrepreneurs is only important if one is in some way connected to the world of self-employment. And frankly, unless a person has a direct use for this type of information, the subject is boring. But guess what? At least 25% of Americans are plugged directly into the subject as small business owners, employees of those businesses, or family members of entrepreneurs. As stated before, using a broad brush to define the entrepreneurial personality will not work for serious entrepreneurs because it leaves too many possibilities to examine, too many roads to travel that are unnecessary as one decides on their future. In a nutshell, it is neither forward thinking nor efficient to lump together, all the players and all the personalities. Making broad assumptions about the entrepreneurial personality can also lead to danger and business failure.

Over time I have identified at least five distinct entrepreneurial types, and that discovery represents a major step up from the “quick fix” tests that claim to evaluate one’s entrepreneurial personality in a few minutes time. You know the tests I’m talking about. The ones found in pop magazines. The multiple choice questionnaires that help puff up the ego and encourage us to think of ourselves as independent, entrepreneurial leaders with “all the right stuff.” Folks, not all of us have the right stuff for the entrepreneurial lifestyle, but then again, most entrepreneurs do not possess the right stuff to make it as great corporate staffers at the highest levels. Why? Because they tend to upset the apple cart and make other staff uncomfortable.

The question is not whether a test says a person can be or should be an entrepreneur. The issue is whether or not a person knows in their heart what “type” of entrepreneur they are, if any, before the journey begins. There is little or no value associated with a 15-minute personality test that gives people a green light to buy a franchise. Could that test possibly provide better analysis than a system that allows a person to “think through” ownership issues on their own? There is little value in those tests, and there is little value in pursuing an entrepreneurial lifestyle based on what other people claim to be “hot” new opportunities. It is the opinion of the prospective entrepreneur that matters most, but unfortunately we have been conditioned to accept salesmanship and promotion rather than thinking for ourselves. The more informed and definite we become concerning our traits and objectives, the better choices we are able to make.

Determining entrepreneurial type is an integral part of the personal analysis process for anyone planning to succeed in the grueling world of self-employment.

Now, here is a very abbreviated description of differing entrepreneurial types. Think of them as existing on a continuum spanning horizontally left to right with an increasing need for operational and concept independence as the list progresses. No one type is better, stronger, or more capable than another; they simply have different personalities and styles.

First, is the Intrapreneur. Although tied to the “other owned” organization where they are employed, the intrapreneur enjoys independent responsibilities where risk and reputation are part of the assignment. What kinds of assignments would those be? Heading up a take-over or merger. Implementation of a new business development plan.

The Franchisee is next. The most comfortable person in this role desires full ownership, but needs/wants/sees the benefit of total systems association and support.

The Business Opportunity Buyer desires ownership, but leaves the support fold after learning the business.

The Independent goes in owning the business and knowing the business from day one. And, that which is not known will be hustled, figured out, and dealt with on the fly. Generally, when it comes to franchising a business this is the type of entrepreneur who becomes a franchisor.

Finally, the Practical Visionary (?) with the question mark following the term grabs for the greatest measure of independence. This person follows their heart and their dream with great gusto, but the question mark is attached because until the vision is proven, its practical value and acceptance by the marketplace remains a question.

There are other measures and caveats to consider with entrepreneurial types, and I have addressed those matters in great details in other formats. Certainly anyone considering the entrepreneurial lifestyle would have to dig much deeper for answers beyond this introduction, but there you are none-the-less; a logical break down of types within a type.

Nicholas Bibby, MBA and MA Counseling is a franchise consultant specializing in due diligence for those interested in buying a franchise and guidance for successful entrepreneurs when franchising a business.

Part Five