Eric Ries, in his book The Lean Start-up, says: “Anyone who is creating a new product or business under conditions of extreme uncertainty is an entrepreneur”.
Going by this statement, an entrepreneur is not just an individual working on his proprietary start-up. Instead, every leader, across all modern companies, who depends on innovation for future growth, is an entrepreneur. They are masters at turning bold ideas into reality, and in the process, creating a new business model, product or system that didn’t exist earlier.
While entrepreneurs share few common traits, it would be too simplistic to put everyone from the tribe in the same bracket.
Like every other human being, entrepreneurs have different personas, motivations, strengths, and weaknesses. More important, the variety of challenges differ by industry, location, stage of organization, availability of resources and use of technology; each scenario invoking different traits within an entrepreneur. There cannot be a cookie-cutter entrepreneur who fits the bill in each scenario.
This article seeks to throw light on six kinds of entrepreneurs with the objective to help you figure out your tribe.
1. The merchant of change
He seeks to make the world a better place to live in. The merchant of change understands the relevance of ‘society’ and the need to live in harmony with its different elements. This is also what feeds his desire to bring about beneficial changes in peoples’ lives.
The merchant of change is inherently a benefactor and a contributor. He may not particularly worry about earning a lot of wealth or leaving a legacy behind for his family. To put it in context, this type of entrepreneur may want to make water drinkable in areas where it is not.
In life: Andrew Carnegie personified philanthropic entrepreneurial-ism. He was the force behind the expansion of America’s railroad system and steel industry. Today, scores of charitable entrepreneurs are following his footsteps, including Bill Gates.
2. The survivor
This clan is really one-of-a-kind. Owing to the monotony of work and perhaps forgettable past professional experience, the survivor decided to quit his regular job, take control of life and start a business for the joy and financial freedom it entails. The survivor clan is high on self-awareness and very courageous to follow their calling. They choose not to play ‘victim’. Instead, they believe that 'they are the key factor in their success, not their environment'.
In life: One of the more famous survivors is Jan Koum who immigrated to the United States from Ukraine. What followed next over the years is a rags-to-riches story that saw Koum co-found and become the CEO of WhatsApp.
3. The innovative visionary
Known for an innovative bent of mind, devotion, and creativity; the visionary is the classic entrepreneur who dares to think outside the box. More importantly, he is known for novel marketing and branding strategies.
The quintessential modern-day entrepreneur, the innovator comes up with new ideas, designs products around them, invents noble methods and processes of production, discovers newer markets and disrupts the existing organisational structure. Innovative entrepreneurs are usually industry leaders who contribute significantly to a country’s economic development.
More often than not, you will find the visionary patronizing his idea and convincing people of the great value the new product (or service) would bring to their lives. While it can be a gamble for some, others who capitalize on this opportunity go on to become fabled superstars with their names etched in history.
What makes innovative entrepreneurs special is the foresight that allows them to gauge the potential demand for a particular product. They not only actively seek feasible opportunities but always have an eye out for chances, that with a bit of polishing, can become the best of both worlds.
The innovative visionary is the typical non-conformist, eager to embrace everything that seems even remotely possible to them. That is precisely why their risk appetite is higher as compared to their equivalents.
In life: Steve Jobs was the essential innovative visionary, and perhaps, the most recognized of all times. He pioneered trailblazing technologies as Apple’s co-founder. Over the years, he built his brand that became the poster boy for going against the grain.
4. The strategist
He is ever-prepared. There is no angle to business that the strategist hasn’t got covered, no stone that he has left un-turned. Meticulous in head and thorough in approach, he can be trusted with his homework at all times.
Usually driven by success, the strategist’s analytical mind provides a fillip to his entrepreneurial ventures.
In life: A famous strategist is Elon Musk whose strategic thinking skills led him to conceptualize and develop Tesla, the world’s leading electric vehicle manufacturer and clean energy company.
5. The angel entrepreneur
One thing that defines an angel entrepreneur is his wealth. They have the money and specialize in buying promising businesses. They leverage their experience to bet on future market drivers and market leaders, assess the viability of their purchase, acquire it, and find suitable resources to grow the business.
There are certain advantages that angel entrepreneurs enjoy. For starters, they invest in an already-established business, and therefore, don’t have to necessarily build a brand from scratch or innovate, for that matter -- simple reason being there exists a ready market for their products.
But angel entrepreneurs often have to shell out a higher price for good businesses, something that can affect profitability initially. Another cause of concern is that should they end up buying sick units, they’d have to turn the fortunes around without succor from any quarter.
In life: When it comes to angel entrepreneurs, astute businesswoman Marissa Meyer shines like a beacon of light. The Yahoo! CEO has made high-value investments across the digital media, online video advertising and energy space.
6. The go-getter entrepreneur
If the innovative entrepreneur is known for his vision, the go-getter likes to do all the heavy-lifting to succeed. They are willing to put in the long yards and get their hands dirty. A common trait that usually binds all go-getters is that they don’t like getting stuck in an ivory tower only formulating strategies; instead, he is prepared to put in the effort to build his business bottom-down, block-by-block.
However, because of his unrelenting work schedule, the typical go-getter entrepreneur often risks a burnout and also wearing out his team members in the process. Importantly, his willingness to work long shifts can blindside him to the fruits of raising adequate capital for his venture, something that can put success on the back burner if not looked into.
In life: Mark Cuban is the quintessential go-getter. He started young, did a range of odd jobs, including selling trash bags, postage stamps and newspapers. His hustle paved the way for his success when Yahoo acquired Broadcast.com, the company that Cuban had co-founded, making him a billionaire at only 40.
Entrepreneurs come in various sizes and shapes. They have different skills, distinct strengths, and diverse backgrounds. However, the unifier is the hunger in their belly. It is their desire to do MORE and create a fortune from a hopeless place. So no matter if you are the legacy-builder or freedom-seeker, the survivor or the passionate creator – explore the kind of entrepreneur that resides in you.
Because when that happens, you will know how to leverage your skills and experience better. And with that, you can put your feet in the door that opens into unlimited opportunities and true freedom.