Entrepreneurs come in all shapes and sizes – which type of entrepreneur are you? All successful businesses have fairly typical life cycles with different stages that they go through over time. At each stage, different leadership, communication and entrepreneurial skills are needed. Often, even different types of employees will be attracted to companies at various stages. There are generally three different types of entrepreneurs: The Creator, The Builder and The Operator. Here are some general characteristics of each type.
- Full of enthusiasm of a specific product or idea
- Has a brilliant and creative mind and is constantly spinning with new ideas
- Often has ideas for several different types of companies
- May not easily focus at one project at a time and may get bored with just one
- Takes a credible idea or product and builds a company around it
- Has the ability to grow the business – often a very good salesperson
- Motivates employees to push the growth of the business
- Gets great satisfaction in the thrill of the hunt and watching the company grow
- Gets the company organized by putting processes and procedures in place
- Is often detail-oriented to find improvements to be made in the company
- Keeps things focused and on track with long-term growth goals in mind
What type of entrepreneur are you? Over the course of owning and growing your business, you have probably taken on different roles, as entrepreneurs often say “worn many hats.” However, at the core, which is the most like you? Which stage did you most enjoy? And which stage are you the best at?
Author Marcus Buckingham has created an entire strengths movement based on the concept that organizations are most productive when each employee is engaging and offering his or her strengths. His belief is that for a company to be successful, this needs to happen across the entire organization. Using this premise, what are your core strengths, and are you offering them to your company each day? There are no good or bad strengths, and you can complement your weaknesses by surrounding yourself with a team of people who fill in with other core strengths.
Yet, as a company leader you are most likely to fit one style of entrepreneur based on where your core strengths lie. Now, what happens if you take a look at your company from an outside perspective? A business consultant recently told us how her client is the “company” and not the “business owner”. Take a moment to assess your company as if you were an outside consultant. What are the leadership needs of the business? What are your strengths? Are they aligned?
If they are not aligned, it doesn’t make you a bad leader for your company. It just means that perhaps the company’s needs are different or maybe your needs are different based on the current stage of the company or your life.
If you are a Creator or a Builder, it may be time to evaluate how you are spending your time and energy. What is best for your company? What is best for you? It may be best to discuss options for an eventual exit strategy where all parties bring their core strengths to the table or help with growth capital needs. If you are a Builder or Operator type of entrepreneur who isn’t currently leading a business, then you research companies for sale or possibly meet with an intermediary to discuss what may be a good fit for you in the future. Even if you are an Operator of your own business, there will still be an eventual exit or capital needs that should be planned for.
-Greg Ponder, Senior Advisor at Viking Mergers & Acquisitions