UNDERSTAND YOUR ENTREPRENEURIAL PERSONALITY
I have found that the founder’s unique set of personal characteristics,
More specifically, the degree of fit between the founder’s personality and the needs of the new venture as it evolves, has a far-reaching impact on whether or not his or her goals are achieved. The key is to understand what personal characteristics are most likely to drive success for your new venture, honestly assess your own personality relative to these characteristics, and decide how to address any significant gaps.
Successful entrepreneurs tend to be:7
■ Commercially Oriented. They are interested in money and business and are driven to achieve bottom-line profitability. They focus on tapping new revenue opportunities and instilling their startup with financial discipline and cost - containment.
■ Conceptual. They are idea people, continually unearthing new opportunities. They are “emergent learners,” adaptively learning from experience and experimentation. They are intelligent, are able to skillfully deal with ambiguity and complexity, and have the ability to discern useful patterns from large amounts of information.
■ Independent. They are willing or inclined to strike out on their own. The isolation of entrepreneurship is sometimes inescapable, and every founder must, at times, stand apart from the herd.
■ Achievement Oriented. They are passionate, ambitious, competitive, and driven. They love a challenge, enjoy mastering new skills, display a strong work ethic, and set high standards for themselves and others. They are typically bored working for someone else and want to exert control over their environment.
■ Risk Tolerant. They evaluate and manage calculated risks. They understand that accomplishing significant goals or innovative breakthroughs usually requires risk-taking, but they evaluate the probability and impact of risks and manage accordingly. They show courage in the face of uncertainty, and
They distinguish internal feelings of anxiety from more objective measures of actual risk.
■ Confident. They understand their own abilities and contribution, optimistically but realistically. They are not easily deterred by others’ negativity or criticism, and they demonstrate high self-esteem and possess an internal locus of control, a belief that success will be due largely to their own initiative and efforts rather than to external forces or chance events.
■ Persuasive. They appeal to others’ motives and values by tuning in to the needs and interests of others and adapting their message and behavior to match.
■ Resilient. They persistently work to overcome obstacles and do not allow setbacks to derail them. They persevere in the face of adversity.
■ Reliable/Focused. They follow through, delivering on commitments to others, as well as to themselves. This is a foundational quality for execution, allowing a founder to gain traction and get things done. In most startup situations, this trait must be balanced with flexibility and openness (see “Conceptual”) in order to adapt to new data and unfolding events.
■ People Oriented. They value, understand, and leverage people. They possess strong social antennae and are gifted at working a room and building lasting relationships. This quality bundles together a number of related traits (amiability, extroversion, empathy, sociability, etc.) that are shaped and honed through early family and social life, as well as work experience.
■ Ethical. They hold themselves to high personal and professional standards. Words and actions are aligned, forming the cornerstone for building trust and credibility with customers, team members, and partners.
How do you stack up against the list? If you are like 99 percent of startup founders, you possess some but not all of the above characteristics. This shouldn’t deter you from pursuing your startup goals. Few entrepreneurs cover all the bases when it comes to the perfect entrepreneurial profile. But most highly successful founders understand who they are and how their personality matches up with the type and phase of startup they are launching. They then find and collaborate with people whose personalities and capabilities complement their own.