Entrepreneurs come from an incredibly broad range of places, cultures, religions and are obviously from either sex. As such compiling the perfect list is impossible, so this list is one perspective!
I have already written extensively about the myths and top traits of the entrepreneur from my point of view, so what’s it like from the other side of the relationship – the spouse, partner, founder team member or employee?
As I am an active entrepreneur I thought my views might be a little biased so I spotted this in a book I was reading some time ago and thought it was helpful, if not entirely accurate of all entrepreneurs. However, some of the points do hit home for me and I am sure they will be helpful for those working with us “crazy” folks called “Entrepreneurs”.
The key to working with entrepreneurs is to understand their weaknesses, because these are often their biggest strengths, although you may not think so!
- Entrepreneurs can’t focus, have lots of ideas, but run In circles.
The entrepreneur’s currency is ideas, often a flood of ideas. This is good. Encourage more ideas; don’t try to pin them down. When you challenge them to come up with more and better ideas—instead of pressuring them to focus on just one—the flow is restored and they’ll find the one they should focus on, Really. The reason they can’t focus is that they haven’t yet flushed out all of the half-baked ones.
- Entrepreneurs are not good with details.
Why should they be? Sure, it would great if they would focus on details, but given that many don’t deal with details well, suggest they give up even trying. Sure, this may create a mess, but challenge the entrepreneur to solve the mess as if the mess was a new business! That’ll get ’em thinking! (Entrepreneurs are like kids; it’s good to divert them,)
- Entrepreneurs feel odd, different, alone, strange.
Entrepreneurs are simply wired differently and they should feel this way, because it’s true. There’s nothing wrong with that In fact, if you can help the entrepreneur to relish their unique, contrary, leading-edge ways, you’ll help them feel better about themselves, which will increase the flow of ideas and success. Educate the entrepreneur to understand not just themselves as individuals but to understand about the species called “homo entrepreneuris”.
- Entrepreneurs are good at starting businesses, but bad at running them.
Many entrepreneurs think they have an obligation to run their businesses and become great managers. Most never will be great managers; they shouldn’t even try. The solution: Help the entrepreneur to set a "sell date" right now, so they know they’re getting out and when.This relieves some of the pressure and also forces the entrepreneur to create a saleable company instead of one that is just a monument to their ego (and I mean this lovingly). Selling is not failure; it’s good business and lets the entrepreneur play instead of being saddled with responsibilities and accountabilities that he doesn’t really want
- Chaos reigns in an entrepreneur’s company.
The entrepreneur likes chaos and is unlikely to hire a manager that is cross-platform: able to both manage the people and operations and also able to put up with the personality or constant flow of ideas and changes that the entrepreneur is likely to have. A solution is to design the company so that it can afford the chaos and the financial stress that chaos usually brings. Another solution is to ask the entrepreneur to solve the chaos problem by thinking of it as a foundering business that the entrepreneur has purchased. This will get the juices flowing. Yet another solution is to help the entrepreneur create fully automated and foolproof systems, usually managed by outside contractors or vendors who are not in the business day to day.
- Entrepreneurs fail. And fail again.
Just like a kid has to fall a couple of times when learning to ride a bike, so do entrepreneurs fail as they learn how to be successful. Remember, its the spark that the entrepreneur has that is the real source of profitability. It’s just that there is often a learning curve as entrepreneurs leant to compensate for their weaknesses by delegating, outsourcing, maturing, and learning new skills.The spark usually wins in the end.
- Entrepreneurs exaggerate and are too optimistic.
This is good! Encourage entrepreneurs to exaggerate as much they want. This is a reverse way to get them to tell the truth. It works. Entrepreneurs are so out in front of the rest of us that they need to exaggerate how well things are going, in order to keep the faith. Many entrepreneurs grow through this, but don’t try to take away their security blanket until they’re ready. They need it.
- Entrepreneurs are always on the edge financially.
This ones a toughie. because of the "unnecessary" stress it can cause to the entrepreneur, the business, employees, and families. The entrepreneur who is always at the edge of using the business to heal an emotional dilemma.This may be an addiction to adrenaline, the pleasure of “pulling it off" at the last minute, the high that victory brings, the need to be better than everyone else, and even the inability to establish a reserve of cash and time so that they function without this stress. But despite the problems it can create, being at the edge financially really is a strength.Through this mechanism, entrepreneurs have proven, time and time again, that they are resourceful and can survive and bounce back from adversity. Now, help the entrepreneur to direct this energy into creating a healthy savings account instead of leveraging so much, and you’ll have a successful entrepreneur.
- The families of entrepreneurs suffer.
Another toughie.You didn’t just marry a person or even a businessperson. You married an entrepreneur! And that entrepreneur didn’t come with instructions, warning labels, or antidotes. It’s best that you develop your own strong interests and let your spouse do their own thing. You’ll always be #2 (well, maybe equal). You can have a great marriage if you understand this.
Sales often dip in entrepreneurial companies.
Sales dip because the entrepreneurs turn over some or all of the sales function to others.Take this as an invitation for entrepreneurs to get back to selling, where they usually shine.
* This is an excerpt from a book I read and I am trying to find the author as I forgot to write it down and I read a huge number of books on Entrepreneurship, when I do I will note the writers details here.