A study some time back looked at the characteristics of an entrepreneur. What the researchers found was that entrepreneurs tend to be highly creative, daring decision-makers, visionary, usually the first-hand born child, imaginative and have a high need for achievement.
Yet the study also show the shadow or dark side of the entrepreneurial character including that they may be stubborn and resist change, typically not be the best manager, and although imaginative may be rigid. The researchers also noted that the entrepreneur may have had massive psychic upheavals as a child.
One small business adviser who has had much experience with businesses in South Africa came up with a list of characteristics of small business owners which included: can calculate and take risks, is self-sufficient and self-supporting, tenacious and doesn’t give up, can identify and exploit an opportunity, is people orientated, is permanently enthusiastic and motivated, is sensitive to their “gut feel”, intuitive and is a creative thinker and worker. His list of characteristics went on to say that the small business owner or entrepreneur can make a good decision while not having all the information, is competitive, shrewd, quick thinking and is stubborn but not at all costs.
What do you see as the differentiating characteristics of an entrepreneur? What characteristics do you admire? Which characteristics do wish you didn’t have? Do you see any of these characteristics in you?
Linder Seger, who assists screenwriters with creating unforgettable characters, notes that Carl Jung added four categories to the introvert and extrovert to increase the understanding of personality types. These included the sensation type, the thinking type, the feeding type and the intuitive type.
Occupations that are physical and sensory-oriented include chefs, housebuilders, doctors and photographers. Thinking type occupations may include administrators, engineers, mechanics and executives. Feeling types typically find their way into becoming teachers, social workers and nurses.
Intuitives are generally interested in future possibilities. Seger says that they are the dreamers, with new visions, plans and ideas. “They play hunches, have premonitions, and live in anticipation of what will come to pass in the future.” She says intuitives are often entrepreneurs, inventors and artists whose ideas sometimes come to them “full-blown”. Yet she also says, perhaps with a smile, that some bank robbers and gamblers are intuitives, looking to future enjoyment of their wealth. She notes that Gordon Geko in the film “Walll Street” seems to have a strong intuitive function as he plans and schemes.
It’s fun to look at categories like this but we need to remember that these traits hardly ever function alone and that people have most of them although one or two may dominate. You can, for instance, be a thinker and an intuitive.
While these types and categorisations may really only scratch the surface of the entrepreneurial personality, self-knowledge is always important. Knowing yourself and others is a competitive advantage in the marketplace.