Thursday, May 18, 2006

Entrepreneur Reality Check

While looking for something else (as always), I ran across a great post on how an entrepreneur’s strengths become weaknesses – written by entrepreneur Thomas J. Leonard for all the long-suffering spouses of entrepreneurs.

It’s a great way to study both the common characteristics of entrepreneurs, as well as their needs (and thus your opportunities to help them).

The post, “The Top 10 Great Qualities of the Entrepreneur that Cause the Most Problems,” dates back to 1996, but it is none the worse for that. The species hasn’t evolved much since then.

Here’s my summary.
1. Can't focus, lots of ideas, runs in circles.
The entrepreneur's currency is ideas, often a flood of ideas. Encourage MORE ideas, don't try to pin them down.
2. Not good with details.
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! (Entrepreneurs are like kids; it's good to divert them.)
3. Feel odd, different, alone, strange.
Entrepreneurs are simply wired differently and they SHOULD feel this way, because it's TRUE and there is nothing wrong with it. If you can help the entrepreneur relish their unique, contrary, leading edge ways, you'll help them feel better about themselves, which will increase the flow of ideas and success.
4. Good at starting businesses, bad at running them.
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 salable company vs. one that is just a monument to their ego.
5. Chaos reigns in the company.
Creation is messy! A 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.
6. They fail. And fail again.
Just as a kid has to fall when learning to ride a bike, so do entrepreneurs fail as they learn how to be successful.
7. They exaggerate and are too optimistic.
Entrepreneurs are so far out in front of the rest of us that they NEED to exaggerate how well things are going, in order to keep the faith -- hey it's lonely out in front (or in left field).
8. Always at the edge financially.
Get the entrepreneur to direct this energy into creating a healthy savings account instead of leveraging so much.
9. Family of the entrepreneur suffers.
You didn't just marry a man or woman, you married an ENTREPRENEUR! Develop your own strong interests and let your husband/wife do their own thing. You'll always be #2 (well, maybe #1 and a half). You can have a great marriage if you get this.
10. Sales dip.
Take this as an invitation for the entrepreneur to get back to selling, where they usually shine.

I agree with most of these, though No. 9 seems excessively harsh. What do you think?

For the original post, see

1 comment:

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