What’s Your Entrepreneurial DNA?
As a business owner, entrepreneur and leader one of your keys to success is to ‘know thyself’. Why? Understanding your ‘entrepreneurial traits’ enables you to balance your core strengths with others. How does one ‘assess’ their own traits? Are all entrepreneurs the same? Not according to research carried out by BOSI Founder, Joe Abraham. Since its original discovery in 2008, BOSI has passed much scrutiny and validation with over 1,000 business owners participating in the original research. The research was then validated and used on university campuses at UCONN, Rice, Purdue and Notre Dame – to name a few. Since then BOSI’s Entrepreneurial DNA test has been used by Fortune 500 companies to evaluate the “entrepreneurial DNA” of their leadership teams (Mercedes Benz, Volkswagen, Carnival Cruise Lines to name a few…..)
The BOSI research identifies four distinct types of ‘Entrepreneurial DNA’. Each entrepreneurial type leverages unique strengths, weaknesses, and tendencies. Here is a quick overview of each type:
The builder moves very fast, they start, build and sell companies rapidly. Then the builder tends to move and do it again and again – quite often in a totally different industry. Picture Donald Trump in the boardroom scene of the TV hit The Apprentice. That is classic Builder DNA in action—driven, focused, cold, ruthless, and calculating. They are master recruiters of talent, investors and customers although they struggle the most with personal relationships and typically have a revolving door of talent in their companies. Builder DNA is the ultimate chess player in the game of business, always looking to be two or three moves ahead of the competition. This DNA loves building a business from the ground up.
The Opportunist is the speculative part of the entrepreneur in all of us. They tend to be highly creative and out-of-the-box thinkers. It’s the part of our Entrepreneurial DNA that wants to be at the right place at the right time, leveraging timing to make as much money as fast as possible. They tend to be impulsive decision makers especially when it comes to money-making opportunities. If you have ever felt enticed to jump into a quick money-making deal, a real estate quick-flip, or an initial public offering (IPO), then your Opportunist DNA was in play.
Specialist DNA manifests itself with individuals who have developed a skill or expertise after years of study, apprenticeship or on-the-job experience. Specialists tend to be risk averse. An entrepreneur with a Primary Specialist DNA will enter one industry and stick with it for fifteen to thirty years. Picture the hometown dentist, the pizza shop owner, the graphic designer, the information technology (IT) expert, or the independent accountant or attorney. They build expertise quickly, but struggle to stand out in a crowded marketplace of competitors. Research found that most Specialist owned business plateau in revenues well below $5 million.
Innovator DNA tends to manifest itself in entrepreneurs who have stumbled across a breakthrough invention, recipe, concept, system, or product that can be built into a business. (Think Mark Zuckerberg – Facebook) This type of DNA instantly drives the entrepreneur into the “lab” of the business and gets him or her passionate about research and development (R&D). They measure success based on the impact their product or service has on mankind. To them, ‘It’s not about the money’. If you run into a scientist, inventor, or thought leader, chances are you’ll see Innovator DNA at work.
So what does this all mean? For centuries, the approach to entrepreneurship has been – what worked for one (entrepreneur) will work for every entrepreneur – because after all, they are the same…. This research has proven that entrepreneurs come in very different profiles. Some of us are Innovator-Builders. Others are Specialist-Opportunists. Knowing your DNA and the DNA of those you work with is mission critical to selecting the business, strategy and team best suited for you. Just because what worked for Richard Branson (Opportunist-Builder) or Bill Gates (Specialist-Builder), doesn’t mean it will work for you.
Whether you are Richard Branson, Donald Trump or Mark Zuckerberg knowing your Entrepreneurial DNA ensures that your team has the necessary skills which balance with yours. In understanding the DNA of you and your team, you are in a better position to determine what’s needed for sustainable profitable growth.
Curious to know what type of entrepreneur you are? Take the assessment (it’s free) and join more than 45,000 Entrepreneurs who have discovered their ‘DNA’.