The Different Types of Entrepreneur

Ever wonder if you can be a successful entrepreneur? See the most common types of entrepreneurs and the positives and negatives that come with each.

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Different types of entrepreneur

Have you ever thought about becoming an entrepreneur but concluded you don’t have the right personality? Don’t be so quick to judge since there are many different types of entrepreneur.

In today’s culture, we only see the Steve Jobs and Mark Zuckerberg’s of the world.  Of course, they may have some of the more compelling stories and most valuable companies, but they’re far from the average successful entrepreneur.

More important than any one personality type is that you are a person willing to take a risk.  You have a passion for something and can execute a plan to make it happen. Make sure to surround yourself with the right people and business tools.

It also requires you to be someone who can handle failure, make a change, and then try again.  Failure isn’t often glorified by the media when we watch think of entrepreneurship.  But find someone who’s done it, and chances are they can tell you of at least one failure on their list.

There are a few different types of entrepreneur we can use to generalize people who start businesses.  It can be helpful to understand where you fit it this game, and what traits may be benefits, and which may hold you back.

1. The Analytical

An analytical entrepreneur can be a great asset to a business but often needs a bigger risk taker as a partner. Analytics by nature, love to run the numbers and see what can be made of a company in hypothetical terms.

Often they can find pieces of data and strategies that most others would not quickly identify, which can significantly help a business.  The drawback of being this type of entrepreneur is that execution is often not their strong suit.

If you’re testing the world of entrepreneurship, you will learn quickly that executing is critical. It’s often more beneficial than making sure everything is perfect before going live with a product.  Analytics often desire a level of perfection, which can hold your product back from the market.  This gives competitors more time and robs you of valuable feedback from actual customers.

If you think you are an analytic entrepreneur, keep these things in mind.  Either find yourself a partner who is an excellent complement or remind yourself every day you need to execute.  No matter how good an idea looks on paper, it will never go anywhere sitting in a spreadsheet full of pretty numbers.

2. The Imitator

This may be the most common type of entrepreneur.  Not everyone can come up with the idea that’s going to change the world, but everyone needs competitors.

A good imitator watches the businesses that are having success and gets in as an early follower.  It’s true that these imitators may always be at a disadvantage compared to the first mover, but they can also have great success.

One thing that is key for an imitator is to make sure they don’t make complete copycat businesses.  You always need to have a unique spin, or most likely the first mover will maintain a permanent advantage. There’s always another spin on a business model that can drive success, and capture customers.

3. The Innovator

Ah, the beloved innovator.  Not that this list is prioritized, but we also aren’t going to emphasize the innovator.  This is the type of entrepreneur everyone immediately thinks about because of the before-mentioned cultural icons.

This is, in fact, the type of entrepreneur that literally can and does change the world. We need these entrepreneurs because they create products and businesses that never existed in the past. This is critical for successful economies as a driver of new jobs, but also keeps us at the forefront of new technologies and business in general.

If you are an innovator, you are the poster child for an entrepreneur who needs to be comfortable with some failures.  Think of failing as part of your job.  If you haven’t done it, then you simply aren’t coming up with enough ideas (this is pretty good advice for any entrepreneur).

An innovator is taking chances that more cautious entrepreneurs might say is too risky.  Taking those chances is what drives the typical innovator, and makes them so unique. 

That’s also why innovators are so often the popularized image of what an entrepreneur is.  They are the ones who created or redefined an entire industry.  Hence, they deserve the credit received when we celebrate them.  Just don’t make the mistake of believing they are the average successful entrepreneur.

4. The Driver

Being a driver is also a major personality type in general.  It can make a very successful entrepreneur, in that drivers, don’t often let things stand in their way.  If you couple a driver and an innovator, it can be a great combination.

Where a driver can go wrong is not understanding the needs of others on the team.  Drivers can often miss other peoples opinions, and assume their approach is always the right one. 

Being surrounded by great people and knowing you’re not always the smartest person in the room can be critical in a startup environment. In fact, you’ll hear many great entrepreneurs tell you they’d rather there always be someone smarter in the room when it comes to specific topics.  

So if you are a driver, concentrate on listening to others when it may be your nature to keep moving.  You may find valuable information is brought out, and a better strategy is identified.

5. The Generalist

This type of entrepreneur can do a little bit of everything and typically sees that as their biggest strength.  That most likely is true, but it can also be their biggest weakness.

A generalist often avoids getting too deep into any one area of knowledge.  They instead prefer to know a little about a lot of different things.  As with an analytic, this can be great assuming they surround themselves with the right types of people.  

Because a generalist won’t have the amount of knowledge for some particular parts of the business, they need to lean on others.  That can be difficult if you’re not a great leader.  People may not want to follow someone who they perceive as knowing less about the business than they do themselves.

If you are a generalist, make sure you pick a business that’s all about the passion.  In this case, people on your team may not see in-depth knowledge, but they will see someone wholly invested in the mission.

6. Multiple Personalities

This one is a combination of our first five types of entrepreneur.  The chances are that many of you fit into this category, and hopefully, it will lend itself to your success.

It’s not uncommon to see a driver also be a generalist and an innovator.  It’s also common to see an analytic be an imitator as they’re great at recognizing and validating opportunities.

Don’t be fooled if you fit into this category by thinking you have all the bases covered.  You can never have enough different viewpoints around you, as long as they are smart people you respect.  As long as you are willing to listen, these will only serve to open more ideas and directions your business may use to succeed.

The Bottom Line

It doesn’t matter what type of personality you have because there are so many different types of entrepreneur.  In fact, this list can undoubtedly be expanded.

We need people of all types to continue starting businesses and taking risks.  In a world of significant business consolidation, this is key to helping the economy of small businesses grow.  That, in turn, will help drive great job opportunities for everyone.

Not everyone can afford to take the risk of entrepreneurship.  Even more, don’t have the desire.  But if you do have that desire, and are being held back only by fear of your personality, think again.

Becoming an entrepreneur could lead to some of the most satisfying work you’ve ever done.


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