Your thoughts, experience, and career trajectory seem to be moving you toward various types of entrepreneurship, yet you wonder if you’re cut out for it. True, the potential rewards are great, personally and financially, but the pitfalls give you pause.
You may already know that more than nine of every ten new businesses fail, and you are appropriately sobered by that daunting statistic.
You’re a risk-taker. Your professional track record indicates a nonstop drive toward success. You don’t like the idea of operating successfully within an insulated bubble. Instead, you’re all about finding ways to contribute to solving real-world problems.
The 4 Primary Types of Entrepreneurs
If that sounds like you, consider the four most common types of entrepreneurs. Ask yourself some basic questions as you do your research, collect assets, and marshall your talents.
Since the overwhelming majority of entrepreneurs will choose to become small business owners, this category will be covered first and in the greatest detail.
1. Small Business Owner/Operator
Far and away, small business owners/operators are the most common type of entrepreneur. Small- to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) represent more than 99% of all entrepreneurial enterprises.
This type of opportunity is vastly appealing for many reasons, though enhanced freedom consistently ranks near the top. There’s no shortage of hard workers who prefer to be their own boss, and SMBs play a crucial role in keeping the economy healthy.
Primary Characteristics of the Successful SMB Owner/Operator
However, being your own boss is also something of a double-edged sword. Being your own boss means you are typically your sole source of accountability.
This is the primary reason “hard worker” should be considered the No. 1 non-negotiable characteristic before considering this as a career objective. If you’re not a self-starter, think long and hard before you begin investing in opening a new business.
Ask Yourself: Am I truly a self-starter at heart? Do others who know me well agree with that self-assessment?
There are several personality tests you can take, many of which are free and accessible online. Submitting yourself to the process can provide great insight.
You will need capital and a business plan, of course. But always remember that the primary asset you bring to any venture is yourself. Every successful enterprise starts with at least one tireless, indefatigable champion.
Another valuable trait common to the successful SMB entrepreneur is the ability to pivot and adapt to changing conditions.
The past few years have provided a hard lesson regarding what happens when an immediate need for flexibility encounters entrenched resistance. The three-month period of February through April 2020 represented the single most significant loss of business owners ever, with 3.3 million shuttering their operations.
In the 21st century, resisting change with a “We’ve always done it this way!” attitude just won’t cut it.
Ask Yourself: What is my immediate response when confronted with changes I did not anticipate? Do I tend to get more emotional than analytical?
An instinctive emotional response doesn’t preclude you from SMB success. Instead, you are merely trying to become more self-aware and make allowances for any weaknesses you discover.
For example, let’s say you know you tend to react much faster than you respond. Knowing this to be true about yourself, you could institute a self-policing policy to counteract this tendency. Anytime a decision is required in the face of unanticipated circumstances, you simply force yourself to go on a 20-minute walk before responding.
The final must-have personality characteristic for the would-be small business entrepreneur is persistence.
Many are familiar with the famous quote of Thomas Edison, who took a very different approach to his lack of immediate success:
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.”
As a budding entrepreneur, you will undoubtedly encounter obstacles and setbacks. Keep your vision in mind as you move forward, adjusting expectations as needed.
Ask Yourself: How do I respond to frustration and failure?
Pay attention not only to what is being said but also to your emotional response to it. Do you get defensive? Do you immediately begin refuting the assertions?